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The Great Wash Speedway


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#1 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 00:40

Seeing as this is my 2000th post (it seems only five minutes since the 1000th), I thought I'd set this one before you all.

I've found a few references to the Wash Speedway, which was first announced in August 1929. For those who are unfamiliar with English geography, the Wash is a large inlet of the North Sea (or German Ocean, if you prefer. This is TNF after all!), which divides Norfolk and Lincolnshire on the East coast. The Wash Speedway was proposed as a British equivalent of Daytona Beach, with a fifteen-mile, 100-yard wide strip for record attempts along the Lincolnshire coast. Among other proposals were no less than four miles of grandstands!

Full details were apparently published in January 1930 and among the initial directors of the company were Malcolm Campbell and Earl Howe. By the end of 1930, there were rumours that the whole project was a gigantic hoax. These were denied at the time, but proved to be true - nevertheless there was a public meeting in Spilsby in November 1931, where the locals were promised they would become "the hub of the sporting world".

What little I have found comes from the Fifty Years Ago feature in Old Motor magazine (various dates 1979-81). Frustratingly, I haven't found details of when the hoax was revealed, who perpetrated it or if and when Campbell and Howe discovered they'd been had. All I know is that the bubble burst some time in 1932.

Over to you!

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#2 Marcor

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 01:31

A hoax or a project which didn't materialise because of the economic crisis ? Or maybe was it supposed to be unveiled one April First ?

A track was also supposed to be built - in the 30's - near Brussels but nothing was done.

#3 Gerr

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 02:17

I would guess a project doomed by the economic depression. They had an architect's architect,
http://www.joseph-emberton.com/
go to the bibliography.

#4 Brian Lear

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 11:34

A full page article on this project appeared in the May 1985 issue of "Classic & Sportscar".
PM me if you would like a copy.

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 14:51

Brian - thanks for the offer, but I have that issue! I bought a complete run of C&SC just before Christmas, but haven't got very far through them yet! Fascinating stuff, and seemingly less of a hoax than first appeared. However, it looks like they continued to promote the project well beyond the point when it was unfeasible.

Gerr - I don't suppose you have a copy of that article do you? Or know where I could get one?

#6 Gerr

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 16:28

Vitesse2,Contact the curator at the emberton site,perhaps he has a copy or more info. Note the similarity in names.

#7 Graham Clayton

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 21:41

Vitesse2,

According to this document the Wash Speedway was to include a 200-yard wide race track, 12-mile TT track, 6-mile motorboat speedway, aerodrome, hotels,
amusement park, as well as the four miles of grandstands that you previously mentioned.


http://ec.europa.eu/....cfm?fileID=937

A seabank enclosing 10,000 acres of foreshore was also part of the development.

The group behind the development was the Automobile Racing Association.

#8 elansprint72

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 22:06

Any chance of a synopsis of the 92 page attachment? I've been at a Caterham race today and my threshold of boredom is, how shall I put this... somewhat compromised.

10/10 for thread-dredging, btw. :up:

#9 Geoff E

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:35

For those without local knowledge, "between Gibraltar Point and the mouth of the Witham" is the area shown here http://tinyurl.com/3bph672

Zooming out shows the area when the tide is out. :)

#10 Bauble

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:45

Claiming little knowledge of cinder racing, I do wonder if we should, perhaps be reseaching 'The Great Unwashed Speedway'?

#11 Allan Lupton

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:52

Any chance of a synopsis of the 92 page attachment?

Para 4.5 on page 25 is what you need.

#12 tsrwright

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 03:42

I would guess a project doomed by the economic depression. They had an architect's architect,
http://www.joseph-emberton.com/
go to the bibliography.


That link is to a site in Japanese or Chinese so something is probably wrong here

#13 tsrwright

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 04:29

Some Light Car references:

27.11.31 "Highly enthusiastic meeting at Spilsby ....everything was in trim to present Bill to Parliament ..."

1.1.32 " ...slowly but surely progressing .. stiill, apparently have to persuade public that the venture would be a success"

15.1.32 "How much nearer are we to the realization of the Wash Speedway ... asked Councillor James Blindell MP ....at the 101st Annual Dinner of the Boston Shipwreck Society"

22.1.32 " ... Boston and Skegness will have to raise GBP50,000 cash before the wash Speedway dream can materialize"

There seems to have been a few of these projects. The Motor 3.10 22 speculated on the centre of interest in track racing shifting to Birmingham where a one mile circular concrete oval of board-track type configuration with spectators sitting above the rim was proposed. The same article said that the Derby Council track at 1/3 mile with banked ends was 'nearing completion'. There was also a track and airfield planned near Brighton which obviously did not come off but I can't put my hands on the reference at the moment.

More on any of these would be interesting - above is about all I have.