The first racing circuit… in the world

Brooklands’ popularity gathered momentum, but in 1915 World War I interrupted play. Vickers Aviation set up a military aircraft factory on the site in 1915, and Brooklands quickly became a major centre for the construction, testing and supply of combat planes.

It wasn’t till 1920 that racing resumed, with the circuit requiring significant rebuilding after the neglect of wartime. But by 1926 the Grand Prix was back, after Henry Segrave’s victory in the 1923 French GP renewed interest in motorsport. By the end of the following decade, thousands lined the banked circuit, watching cars reach speeds of more than 135mph. Which, considering it was built when people still listened to swing and the Empire State Building had just opened, is gently bonkers.