4 January 2006
goodness common sense has prevailed. Up and down the
country there are many replicas of the K7 Bluebird on
display in museums and private collections - and very
good they are too. We don't need another one.
is only one original K7 and that is a piece of
industrial archaeology that should be preserved as it
was on the day of the fateful accident at Coniston
Water. That is the view endorsed by our surfers
and the leading experts in the field.
Campbell and the Bluebird K7 story were made that much
more a part of our heritage due to the fateful crash.
The crash was the last curtain to the career of this
dashing speed ace. If the craft were to be
re-constructed, that part of the story would be lost
forever. It would be as if we were re-writing
history and with a magic wand bringing the stars of
the show back to life. A rebuilt vessel would
certainly be the cause of some confusion. People
might begin to wonder if the crash actually took
advent postcard showcasing some projects from the past
he unique Stanley Spencer Gallery in
Berkshire has been awarded £882,000.
THE PUBLIC VALUE OF HERITAGE
noses ahead with £1.5m to preserve London’s
historic sewage system
HERITAGE OUR FUTURE - YOUR SAY
us what you think
you agree that the K7 should be preserved as it is
"warts and all", or if you would like to see
the boat rebuilt, we should like to hear from you.
Please use the contact email below.
this hydroplane be rebuilt, the public and experts
would never be able see or learn from the evidence as
new analytical techniques are developed.
Additionally, there is always the danger some maverick
might attempt to run the vessel again, and may well
suffer a similar fate. Food for thought.
is understood the K7 is privately controlled by Gina
Campbell, and other relatives of Donald and Sir
daughter of Donald Campbell is threatening to sell the wreck of
Bluebird K7 on internet auction site eBay after falling out with
Lottery funding bosses. Gina Campbell is also considering
putting the jet-powered Bluebird back into the Cumbrian lake
where it crashed.
Campbell died in Coniston Water in the Lake District in 1967
while trying to break his own world water speed record.
Campbell and the Bluebird K7
wreck of the craft was discovered by Bill Smith, a local diver
and raised from Coniston Water in 2001. It has languished in the
Smith's workshop for the last four years.
Campbell wants the boat to be restored to her former glory but
the Lottery Heritage Fund wants it to remain partially damaged.
HLF believes the crash is the most important aspect of the
boat's history and it should be displayed partially damaged. It
is only willing to contribute towards a partial reconstruction
of the shell and earlier this year turned down a request for
almost £1 million to pay for a full restoration of the boat.
Campbell told a BBC documentary: "I can have her encased in
concrete and put it back in the lake or we put it on eBay and
sell it to the highest bidder. "It will not go on public
display as it is, I will not allow it," said Ms Campbell.
"I want her to look shiny, bright, engineering perfect. I
want the young people from all over the world to be able to come
and view her in the museum, in Coniston where she can be
displayed as she should be so she can show what she achieved,
what my father achieved and what British engineering achieved.
my dream and I won't settle for anything less."
Tony Jones, of the HLF, said a full rebuild would destroy the
boat's originality and sense of history.
don't think people want to see a replica-like Bluebird, they
want to see the original that Donald Campbell had his triumphs
and tragedy in," he said. Mr Smith's response was: "A
rotted pile of scrap will not adequately tell the story of the
most glorious water-speed-record contender in history
K7 - HLF statement
Jones, Heritage Lottery Fund Manager for the North
were asked for almost £1 million of Lottery money to
rebuild what would effectively be an expensive
reproduction. We absolutely agree that the Bluebird
and Campbell Family story has a special place in our
history but this expensive rebuild did not represent
good value for money. We are still talking to the
Ruskin Museum about other ways of telling this
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was unable to support
an application from the Ruskin Museum in Cumbria for
the acquisition, restoration and display of the
Bluebird K7 to full working order in March 2005. We
have advised the applicant – the Ruskin Museum -
that a conservation-led approach towards the
restoration of Bluebird K7, leading to an interesting
display in controlled conditions at the Ruskin Museum
and celebrating the achievements she represents, is
more likely to attract HLF funding support in the
future. We had a very constructive meeting with the
Museum in August to explore ways of taking this
HLF has invested over £35.4million into Cumbria and
will continue to support heritage-led projects in the
to Editors HLF grants in Cumbria include a
previous award to the Ruskin Museum of £629,000 to
preserve the collection of Ruskin watercolours and
allow better interpretation and management of the
collection. Blackwell House, Conishead Priory and The
Wordsworth Trust have all benefited from HLF grants in
the past 10 years.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enables communities to
celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse
heritage. From our great museums and historic
buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording
and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF
grants open up our nation’s heritage for everyone to
enjoy. We have supported more than 16,000 projects,
allocating £3.3billion across the UK.
contact Katie Owen on 020 7591 6036/07973 613820 or
Nicky Price on 0207 591 6046/ 7968 481170 at the HLF
Thirty nine years after the crash which killed water speed
hero Donald Campbell, there are fresh hopes his boat Bluebird K7
could be restored and on display by 2008.
Campbell died on 4 January 1967, aged 46, while trying to break
his own world water speed record on Coniston Water in Cumbria.
wreckage of the jet-powered boat was recovered from the water in
2001 but a failure to secure lottery funding for its restoration
left the future uncertain. But after submitting a revised
application for lottery money, the man leading the restoration
project and staff at the museum where it is hoped it will one
day be displayed are confident of success.
was raised from Coniston Water in March 2001
Smith, restoration project leader
people would have given it a wash and brush up and stuck it in a
museum but that was not an option for us"
Smith, an underwater surveyor and amateur diver, discovered the
wreck and has fronted the project to restore Bluebird since it
was pulled from the lake in March 2001.
has the wreck of the boat in a workshop in the North East where
his team have worked on preserving it.
bid for £940,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money was
rejected in March 2005 on the basis a restored boat would be a
replica rather than a piece of history.
Campbell's daughter Gina told the BBC in October that she did
not want Bluebird displayed in its wrecked state and threatened
to dump it back on the lake or sell it on the internet auction
Smith has worked on the wreck in a workshop in the North East
HLF argued that the most important and famous aspect of the
boat's history was its crash and it should remain partially
damaged. But Ms Campbell and Mr Smith claim Bluebird
should be recognised as a feat of engineering and that it should
be displayed in its restored state.
of the lottery fund money would be used to build an extension at
the Ruskin Museum in Coniston, large enough to house Bluebird.
The museum's education officer Mike Humphreys said: "The
family didn't want it shown as a wreck.
the outside perception it has taken a long time but there have
been lots of issues to address. At the moment we all seem to be
working together. "The claim was it would be like a
brand new Bluebird and the outside world wouldn't be able to see
it as the real Bluebird underneath.
our idea is there will be a link between the old and the new so
we could not be accused of housing a replica." Mr
Smith has stripped the wreck down partly to clean off the mud
which settled on it during its 34 years at the bottom of
said: "It's been sitting here for the last four years
awaiting a decision and every day it stands it makes more work
Smith admits there is "very little" difference between
the new lottery bid and the unsuccessful previous bid but said:
"The big difference is that there are elements that maybe
we didn't explain before.
Campbell was aiming for his eighth world water speed record
aims and objectives are the same - we can't give in.
people would have given it a wash and brush up and stuck it in a
museum but that was not an option for us.
is going to happen overnight. It was a successful craft for
years before the accident and it's maybe taking a while because
the project is being run along the same lines and standards that
Campbell had told the BBC: "It will not go on public
display as it is, I will not allow it. I want her to look shiny,
bright, engineering perfect."
Humphreys said he could understand people who thought Bluebird
should be displayed as it was after its most famous moment - the
crash - but said the feelings of the Campbell family should be
said: "There was a big furore at the time when the boat
came out because some people thought it was his grave but there
was sympathy with the family because Gina wanted him buried.
was propelled 50ft (15m) into the air when it crashed
think when Gina saw the wreck she just saw it as the place where
her father was killed, but other people have said it's an
historical object and should have stayed where it was.
can be seen as a bit gruesome and you could compare displaying
it as it is with displaying the wrecks of the cars in which
Princess Diana or Ayrton Senna died.
want to celebrate the achievements of Campbell by showing what a
great piece of engineering K7 was.
can tell the whole story, running from the earlier attempts
which were successful, the actual crash, the film of getting the
boat out and the restoration - it will be the whole story."
the time the original lottery bid was rejected an HLF spokesman
said: "We don't think people want to see a replica-like
Bluebird they want to see the original that Donald Campbell had
his triumphs and tragedy in."
wanting to see a restored Bluebird on display will be hoping for
a change of heart by June.
4 January 2006, 14:51 GMT
Campbell was the only person to hold both land and water speed
records at the same time. He held seven world water speed
records. Bluebird was travelling at more than 300mph
(483km/h) when it crashed. The boat was catapulted 50ft
(15m) into the air. Donald's record remained unbroken as
the attempt was not completed and stood until 1978. The
current record holder is the Australian Ken
HOPE FOR BLUEBIRD RESTORATION - Saturday, 13 August 2005
The family of the man who died trying to break his own water
speed record on Coniston Water have made a fresh call for his
speedboat to be restored.
Campbell died when the Bluebird crashed in 1967 as he raced the
across the Cumbrian lake. His body and the craft were recovered
30 years later. His family want the Heritage Lottery Fund
(HLF) to rethink their refusal to fund the project which would
see the Bluebird restored and put on display.
underwater surveyor and amateur diver who discovered the wreck,
Bill Smith, wants to exhibit the restored craft in the Ruskin
and Coniston Museum.
Smith said: "The plans for the craft have always been made
by its owners, the Campbell Family Heritage Trust. What they
don't want to see is a macabre wreck displayed. "The
boat has had more successes than failures and that's how we want
it remembered. "The plan, as hatched in 2001, was to
rebuild Bluebird to its original condition and run the boat on
the lake again in a sort of triumphant homecoming event."
HLF has said there are too many question marks for them to hand
out £600,000 needed for the work. HLF manager for the
North West Tony Jones said: "We only very rarely support
the restoration to working order of high-speed vehicles because
of the very high risks posed to them when back in action.
"We fully recognise the importance and drama of the
Bluebird story and are encouraging the applicant to focus on a
museum-led conservation project which would allow that story to
committees & managers
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