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British Industrial History

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Hugh Fortescue Locke King

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Hugh Fortescue Locke King (1848-1926) was a British entrepreneur who founded and financed (solely) the creation of the Brooklands Race Track.

The family were living at Woburn House near Chertsey.

1848 October 7th. Born at Chertsey, the third of four sons and sixth of nine children of Peter John Locke King (1811–1885), MP for East Surrey from 1847 to 1874, and his wife, Louisa Elizabeth Hoare (c.1813–1884).

1861 Brooklands House had been built by his father Peter John Locke King. It was designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield.

In 1873 he was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn but does not appear to have actually practised.

In 1884 Hugh Locke-King was married to the former Ethel Gore-Browne and they then spent several years in Cairo. They each supported the other's endeavors; she in spirit and he financially. They had no children.

In 1885, on his father's death, he inherited all the family's estates which comprised over 4,600 acres of land, mainly in Surrey but also in Sussex and Devon.

Locke King devised and built the world’s first banked motor racing circuit at Weybridge in 1906 and it became the home of British motor racing until 1939.

Frustrated by the lack of opportunity for British drivers to gain experience because of the strictly imposed 20 mph speed limit he devised the track initially as a testing ground to enable vehicles to be safely driven at speed. The banking provided the camber to keep the cars on the track without having to slow at the end of each turn. At 100 feet wide and 30 feet high it attracted many spectators.

Locke King was spurred on by Selwyn Edge, an experienced racing driver and car dealer, to complete the project with his highly publicised challenge that he would drive the course in a Napier single-handedly at a constant 60 mph for 24 hours without a rest break. Edge was to complete his remarkable challenge on the finished track without mishap.

1911 Living at Brooklands, Weybridge: Hugh Fortescue Locke King (age 62 born Woborn Park, Chertsey), No occupation but an employer; married 27 years, no children. With his wife Ethel Locke King (age 46 born Hobart, Tasmania). Also his Brother-in-Law Frank Gore Browne (age 51 born Auckland, New Zealand), a Barrister at Law; and Helenor Gore Browne (age 52 born Edinburgh), married 28 years with three children; and a visitor Maures Horner (age 61 born Hams Place, London), a Merchant and single. Eight servants.[1]

1926 January 28th. He died aged 78 years.

2008 Bio notes.[2]

Note: The name 'Locke King' is not hyphenated (See when he signs the census return in 1911)

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1911 Census
  2. Brooklands Society Gazette Vol 33. No 2. 2008