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August 28, 2021

Extraordinary Vintage Photos of 1930s Female Racing Drivers in Brooklands

The Brooklands Automobile Racing Club was formed in December 1906 and held its last ever meeting in August 1939 with the outbreak of World War Two. When peace returned, despite people’s high hopes, the anticipated recovery costs were too high and due to the demise of Brooklands at the time, the club was amalgamated with the Junior Car Club. Come 1949 the Club changed its name to the British Automobile Racing Club and took up residence at Goodwood Circuit.

Initially, women were banned from racing, this ruling, however, was loosened in 1908 and by 1920, female drivers were able to participate in both female and mixed races. In 1933, the Royal Automobile Club gave permission for women to drive at Open meetings on equal terms with men at Brooklands, which became the ultimate heyday for female racing drivers.

Take a look at these insanely cool women through 21 amazing photographs below:

Elsie Wisdom at Brooklands, 1930.

Kay Petre at Brooklands, March 1930.

Fay Taylour at Brooklands, 1930.

Violet Cordery, 1930.

Miss J Alwynne, a motor mechanic at Brooklands race course, July 1931.

Kitty Brunell tunes up her AC Ace Sports engine, 1932.

Mrs Elsie “Bill” Wisdom and Miss Joan Richmond, July 1932.

Miss Paddy Naismith pushing her car onto the track for one of the events at Brooklands, June 1933.

Mrs Gordon Simpson and the young racing driver Joan Richmond sitting in the latter’s 1921 3-litre GP Ballot racer, July 1934.

Eileen Ellison in a Bugatti during the ‘mountain race’ at Brooklands, 1934.

Gwenda Stewart, 1935.

The three racing MGs were entered for Le Mans by land speed record breaker George Eyston and nicknamed the ‘Dancing Daughters’ after a popular variety act of the time. The drivers were : Car 54 – Margaret Allen & Coleen Eaton, Car 55 – Doreen Evans & Barbara Skinner, Car 56 – Joan Richmond & Miss Joan Simpson. July 1935.


Doreen Evans taking over the sash during a relay race at Brooklands, July 1935.

Racing drivers Gwenda Stewart, Doreen Evans, Kay Petre, Elsie Wisdom, September 1935.

Doreen Evans taking a refreshment, July 1936.

A Brooklands’ mechanic fastens the buckle on Miss Dorothy Turner’s helmet, July 1937.

Kay Petre poses with her V12 Delage, July 1937.

Women drivers at Brooklands, 1937

Mrs Aclace signals from the pits during the JCC 200 mile race at Brooklands, August 1938.

Kay Petre at Brooklands, March 1938.

Miss Patten, Baroness Dorndorf sits on the door of her Peugeot, May 1939.

(via Brooklands Museum, Flashbak)




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