The roar of engines, the flash of flags and a crowd dressed to impress in the best post-war fashions – not the set of a period drama but a unique three-day motor racing festival on the Earl of March’s beautiful Goodwood Estate in West Sussex where vintage is all the rage. Held every September, The Goodwood Revival is a celebration of the halcyon days of motor racing around a classic circuit, and the only historic race meeting to be staged in period dress. The Revival recalls the glory days of Goodwood Circuit, which once ranked alongside Silverstone as Britain’s leading race track. Between 1948 and 1966 Goodwood’s triumphant race card included Formula one, the Goodwood Nine Hours race and the renowned Tourist Trophy sports car race.
The Revival is not only for the engine minded – this year saw a Tea Room sponsored by The Victoria & Albert Museum that featured a mini ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition, which was originally organised by the Council of Industrial Design and held in the V&A in 1946. Back then, the government’s Post War Export Trade Committee recognised the importance of promoting Britain’s manufacturing capabilities and educating the public on the value of good design – something that we all need to take note of today.
Staying true to the celebration of the design and culture of the era, this year’s Revival even gave a nod to the interiors industry with retro Kenwood and De’Longhi stores, both much loved brands to this day. In addition, heritage names such as Knightsbridge-based Sub-Zero and Wolf sponsor cars and even provide a keen racer in the form of its MD Craig Davies.
The first Revival launched in 1988, 50 years after Lord March’s grandfather, the 9th Duke of Richmond, opened the motor racing track in 1948 by driving around the circuit in a Bristol 400, then Britain’s most sophisticated sporting saloon. The 9th Duke’s interest in engineering began at university and a subsequent apprenticeship with Bentley Motors. He began a motor racing career in 1929 when he took part in a high speed trial. An unconventional passion for a Duke perhaps, but one that brought about a world-class circuit being created in this sunny corner of South England. Grand Prix, sports and GT cars, as well as historic saloon cars, all from the 1950’s and 60’s provide an authentic visual feast for vintage aficionados. Celebrity drivers are de rigeur with famous faces including Sir Stirling Moss, David Coulthard and even comedian Rowan Atkinson in character as Mr. Bean all spotted behind the wheel.
The Revival is a true celebration of motorsport’s golden era. Getting dressed-up and reliving the fashion and culture of the 40s, 50s and 60s is the perfect tonic to our hectic modern lives – and certainly sets proceedings off on a fun and lighthearted foot! The cars, bikes and planes are all testament to the design, craftsmanship and engineering of our recent past.
This ethos of promoting Britain’s legacy of craftsmanship is also close to the heart of all of our design inspirations at Catchpole & Rye –proudly flying the flag for the ‘Made in Britain’ movement with many of our timeless bathroom pieces being designed and manufactured in our Kent workshops. In the words of Tony O’Donnell, our MD “To create something original, you must first fully understand the past”.