On the evening of Saturday 21st December Brooklands Museum took the decision to move its historic cars and motorbikes to safer areas on site because of the risk of flooding from the River Wey. The Museum has suffered two major floods in the past (in 2000 and 2013) so staff had been anxiously watching the river level rising all day.
A team of about 15 staff and volunteers started work around 6.30pm and by 11.30pm had moved all the vulnerable parts of the Museum's collection above the flood risk level. This included moving more than a dozen motorcycles and over twenty cars, all dating from before the Second World War and all of which raced at the historic Brooklands circuit. They included cars and motorcycles belonging to the Museum as well as ones on loan from owners all around the world.
Tamalie Newbery, Museum Director, said "It was a difficult decision as to whether to move the vulnerable exhibits as it is a big undertaking and calling in staff and volunteers on a Saturday night just before Christmas is not done lightly. But they all came willingly because they care so much about the history of Brooklands, and with all their hard work, we finished before midnight. Unfortunately we've flooded before, but it does mean that we know exactly what has to be done to ensure that none of our unique Collection suffers any damage."
With all the work done, Brooklands Museum was open on Sunday morning (22nd) at the usual time and visitors were still able to enjoy the majority of exhibitions, go aboard Concorde and appreciate the historic Race Track, all of which are above the flood risk level.
Brooklands Museum will be closed from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day but staff and volunteers will be busy putting everything back to its normal places so that everything is ready for visitors when it re-opens on Friday 27th December at 10am.
The motorcycless were placed in the bicyle exhibition - pictured below!