Tag Archives: 1910s

In the Bank

Lego Brooklands 1935

It’s time for some history here at TLCB, because we are – at heart – complete nerds.

The world’s first purpose-built racetrack (or what’s left of it) lies not far from TLCB Towers. The Brooklands race circuit opened in 1907, built partly for manufacturers of the newly emerging auto-industry to test their cars, and partly because driving really quickly is bloody good fun.

Measuring just under 3 miles long the Brooklands track was built from uncoated concrete banking, which in places reached 30ft high, and was simply unimaginably steep, far steeper than any modern banked circuit. With no safety barrier at the top and cars routinely getting airborne over the bumpy concrete the spectacle was incredible, and crowds topped a quarter of a million in the circuit’s hay-day.

The outbreak of the First World War saw Brooklands requisitioned by the War Office, as the site also included an aerodrome, becoming the UK’s largest aircraft manufacturing centre by 1918. The end of the war saw motor racing return the the track, alongside the continuation of aircraft manufacturing, but when Hitler decided that Germany hadn’t quite finished with Europe yet motor racing at the track ceased for good.

During the Second World War the Brooklands site became the hub of Hawker fighter and Wellington bomber manufacturing, amongst other aircraft, and the track’s survival as a piece of British heritage sadly, but necessarily, came second to the war effort. Trees were planted on the track to disguise it from German bombers, and whole sections ripped up to expand the runways.

By the end of the war the track was in a poor state, and the site was sold to Vickers-Armstrong to continue operations as an aircraft factory, at one time laying claim to being the largest aircraft hanger in the world. However as the UK’s aircraft manufacturing industry declined the Brooklands site was gradually sold off, becoming a business park, a supermarket, and the Mercedes-Benz World driving instruction track.

Today not much of the original circuit remains, but what does is managed by the Brooklands Museum, who are endeavouring to preserve possibly the most important motor racing, aeronautical and war-time manufacturing site in the world. A recent heritage grant aims to return both the aero-buildings and the famous Finishing Straight to their former glory, and a section of the incredible concrete banking is still standing. You can even take a car on it if you’re feeling brave.

If you’re in the UK and you get the chance to visit the Brooklands Museum we highly recommend it, but for our readers further afield you can get an idea of the insanity of the vintage racing that once took place there courtesy of this lovely scene recreating Brooklands circa-1935 by Flickr’s Redfern. There’s more to see of his 1930s Maserati, its racing counterpart, and his wonderfully recreated Brooklands banking his photostream. Click the link above to step back in time.

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Emergency Evolution

Lego Fire Trucks

Like one of those T-shirts showing the evolution of man, Flickr’s Galaktek has been charting the evolution of the fire truck, from its beginnings as a motorised vehicle before the Great War until the mid-’60s (with more to come we hope), and our ingenious special effects department* has collated Galaktek’s three builds chronologically above.

From top to bottom; 1912 Mercedes-Benz Feuerwehr-Motorspritze, 1950s Mercedes-Benz L6600, and 1960s Seagrave open-cab tiller.

There’s lots more to see of each historic fire truck at Galaktek’s photostream – click the link above to dial 911 through time.

*Hah!

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Ain’t Half Bad

Lego Titanic Sinking

We continue today’s wintery theme with a truly astounding mini-figure replica of the RMS Titanic by Certified LEGO Professional Ryan McNaught. Built from 120,000 LEGO pieces this incredible model took over 250 hours to build and depicts the moment on that fateful night in April of 1912 – a few hours after an unseen iceberg ripped a gaping hole in the ship’s hull – when the cruise liner split into two.

There’s more to see of Ryan’s spectacular build, including photographs of the ship’s interior and the carnage within, at the link above.

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Socialist Snowmobile

Lego Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Snowmobile

Communist revolutionary, ‘Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union’, and Ming the Merciless inspiration Vladimir Lenin is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, pioneering the development of communism and the Marxist socialist state.

Decreeing that all resources should be under common ownership – thereby removing the need for money, reliance on social class, and inequality – Lenin was driven around in a 1915 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, modified by Adolphe Degrease in 1922 to run on tracks, whilst 6 million people died of starvation during the Povolzhye famine. Yay communism!

Nevertheless, Lenin’s Silver Ghost was a very cool vehicle, and today it resides in Russia’s Gorky museum. If that’s a bit far to travel, previous bloggee Karwik has the answer, with his gorgeous Town-scale version of the unique vintage Roller. Click the link above to make the jump to Flickr.

Lego Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Lenin

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Bullet Magnet

Lego Armoured Car

This 1919 Kresowiec ‘armoured car’, based on a tractor plough chassis, is the absolute last place we would want to be in war-time. Horrendously slow, hugely unreliable, and a great big (and interesting) target for everyone to hit, we can’t image it was fun to be inside one bit. We’d have rather had a horse. Or this.

Anyway, the Kresowiec does make for an intriguing Lego model, especially when constructed by TLCB favourite Karwik. You can see more of this unusual vintage contraption at Karwik’s Flickr photostream via the link above.

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888,246

Lego Sopwith Camel

Enough of vegetable carving and creepy kids, it’s time for a creation with a bit more meaning. This beautiful mini-figure scale World War 1 Sopwith Camel has been created by Flickr’s Daniel Siskind, and it has a special importance at the moment.

It’s 100 years since Great Britain joined the Great War, with a sacrifice of 888,246 military lives. Of course many more died on both sides of what was a pretty pointless conflict, and even more from disease and starvation. Mankind may have invented fairly sophisticated instruments of death during the war (the Sopwith Camel included), but instruments of preserving life were a long way behind.

You can see more of Daniel’s build here, and you can see the incredible memorial to the 888,264 that the UK is currently undertaking here.

Lego Sopwith Camel Aircraft

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In Remembrance of the Maxi-Fig

Lego Maxi-Fig Bus

It’s 40 years since LEGO introduced people into their products, with what is now affectionately known as the ‘Maxi-Fig’. Long since replaced by the ‘Mini-Fig’ (which are now so numerous if they were to rise up against humanity we’d be in big trouble), the ‘Maxi-Fig’ was a sort of immovable Technic figure, permanently happy and with two elbows on each arm. Brickbaron pays homage to 1970s LEGO with his lovely B-Type bus populated with smiling ‘Maxi-Fig’ patrons. Brought to our attention by The Brothers Brick, you can see more of Brickbaron’s commemorative creation here.

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