The Epsom branch of Britain’s oldest motoring club has won a county-wide heritage award after converting an 18th century barn into a showroom for its historic vehicles.

The Old Barn Motor House, which belongs to the Royal Automobile Club, based in Woodcote Park, Epsom Downs, was presented with the 2017 Surrey Heritage Award at a prize ceremony in Guildford last week.

Surrey Historic Buildings curated the award to celebrate the county’s rich and diverse architectural heritage, highlighting best practice in historic building conservation and restoration.

Epsom’s RAC beat off stiff competition from five other shortlisted projects from across Surrey to claim the gong on Wednesday, March 29.

The club’s motor house used to be a barn dating back to 1770, but was renovated “sympathetically”, according to Surrey Historic Buildings.

Your Local Guardian:
L-R: Michael More-Molyneux (Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey); Chris Anderson; Matt Woollven; Giles Quarme; Nigel Barker (Chairman of Judges, Surrey Heritage Awards); Dame Helen Ghosh (Direct-General, The National Trust); Stephen Scammell; Paul Snoddy

Miles Wade, club secretary, said: "We are delighted that our work to restore the barn and give it a contemporary life by housing our motoring activities and showcasing our heritage has been recognised.”

A spokesman for Surrey Historic Buildings said: “The conversion has been carried out sympathetically and rebuilding and repointing has been kept to a minimum, with care taken to retain the patina of age such as the slight irregularities of the roof.”

The Royal Automobile Club was founded in 1897 was awarded its Royal title by King Edward VII in 1907, sealing its status as Britain’s oldest and most influential motoring organisation.

Throughout its history it has championed motoring events from the 1,000 Mile Trial, first held in 1900, to the first pre-war and post-war Grands Prix at Brooklands in 1926 and Silverstone in 1948, to the present-day Regent Street Motor Show and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

It continues to campaign for the rights of the motorist, including introducing the first driving licences.

Mr Wade added: “Although a team effort, the project owes much to the inspiration of the late Peter Foubister, our former motoring secretary, for devising the concept and ensuring quality and authenticity, sustaining the club's reputation as a responsible guardian of our historic estate."

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