by Aspect County

One of the great delights of working on restoring old buildings is when there is a client that is very keen in restoring a particular building back to its original form.

This is the case with the dedicated people down at Brooklands Museum. The original Club house was built in 1907, and perched on top is a very elegant lookout tower with a copper roof that was originally used to provide commentary and updates on the racing proceedings. For decades it has been used as a store area and there have been several remedial repairs that have done very little to keep the original fabric safe or keep the original form

Brooklands Clubhouse
As it stands now from the ground the original structure looks in pretty good form and as far as the main structure goes it is; but the outside woodwork is all shot with rot and decay.

Built in a hexagonal form the outside faces were unusually covered in vertical T&G boards and each face side had a large sash window allowing access to the open air and to allow sight access to view the complete race track. The individual sections of hand rail and spindles were very ornate and jointed each end into a 6” square upright that tied it all together, also allowing a viewing platform providing complete 360 access around the tower itself.

Panoramic Sash Windows
The inside of the tower looks very good allowing for a few repairs and getting those windows restored, the good old days beckon and from here you can almost hear those historic cars race.

During the 1980’s after a complete lack of maintenance the hand rails and spindles had all but rotted away and the outside cladding was showing deterioration. Repairs were carried out by way of replacing the handrails, the ornate spindles were removed and square replacements fitted. 

The outside cladding was then covered in green mineral felt tiles (very 1980’s) and we are hoping that these tiles have been nail fixed so that we will find the timber underneath in a sound’ish condition with little repairs or restoration needed to bring the original fabric back as it would have been in the glory days.

Outside windows and green tiles
To be fair this is the worst window and note the listed green mineral tiles below. Can you believe we have to get permission to remove these and bring back to the original design.

Restoration of three of the original six windows will take place, the original sashes are there albeit the weights have been removed and are up till now missing. Bringing back the windows to full working order should be not too much of an issue as we have more than enough original material to work with, including the original glazing.

The strange thing is that the Club House at Brooklands is a Grade II listed building and is part of a Scheduled Ancient Monument; therefore the un-suitable repairs and alterations carried out in the 1980’s are listed!! Who would have thought green mineral felt could be protected by law! The square line balusters are also listed even though they are as rotten as can be. 

This listing means that if we wanted to remove the rotten material and replace with the same square line material we could, but as we want to change the style back to the original form we have to apply for Listed Building Consent. 

Having listed status does have its strange moments but I am sure when its finished the tower will look fantastic and ready for the many years to come!

Until next time… Love Old buildings..

Love Old buildings Tel: 07868 721701