Page 1 of 2

Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:45 pm
by Peter Thornton
Easter Monday was a lovely day, a classic English Spring day. There we were at an old medieval hall near Preston, selling sausages at a farmers market. Someone mentioned a cafe, in the hall. It was called the Bluebird Cafe. I asked why.
Because this is where Donald Campbells boat was built, I was told. In fact I'd parked on the very spot where it was constructed!
Bluebird Shed LR.jpg
The marks in the concrete are the tracks of the sliding doors. The builders were called Samlesbury Engineering and the hall is Samlesbury Hall.

To get there, turn off the M6 at Junction 31, towards Blackburn. Follow the Blackburn signs for about 2 miles and it's on your left.

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:19 pm
by lsrdatabase
Hi Peter,
Thanks for posting, it's always interesting to hear any history of K7, what so ever it may be.

Thanks, Fred Blois

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:26 pm
by 1660bob
Top Info!!!!-I live in Preston and have been following the Bluebird project with great interest. When i heard it was built at Samlesbury, I assumed the BAE site, but there you go ,should never assume as they say!

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:44 pm
by Peter Thornton
Here's some more information, supplied by Vicky at The Ruskin Museum in Coniston:

Samlesbury was a training airfield during World War II. Samlesbury Engineering, (chaired by Sir Wavell Wakefield, later Lord Wakefield of
Kendal) was a subsidiary of the Lancashire Aircraft Corporation at Wharton, ( on the Lytham side of Preston) now part of BAE Systems. Sir Wavell was a pioneer aviator with Cooper Pattinson & Oscar Gnosspelius at Hill of Oaks during WWI .

Ken Norris, the main designer of Bluebird K7 was an aerodynamicist; the North West's aerospace industry directed the build of the hydroplane to Samlesbury.

Bill Smith, who is conserving & rebuilding Bluebird, keeps saying we must remember that, in design terms, she's a cross between a Land Rover and a V-Bomber, utilising many alloys and construction techniques pioneered in the Cold War.

One of his volunteers, known as "Doddy" helped build Bluebird at Samlesbury. He later taught at Carlisle College of AA where one of his prize students was Chris Brammall, who produced work here 10 years ago, and will, funds permitting! be closely involved in The Bluebird Wing (Chris designed the Bandstand on The Glebe at Bowness, and the Cumbria Way footbridge at Skelwith, and has completed a major scheme on the quay at Whitehaven).

As Ruskin taught, everything connects!

Re: General about bluebird

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:21 am
by Bobinbangkok
I am 63, and I can remember to this day the fatal news of the disaster, including the TV footage.
All these years on I have recently linked to internet at home, so I can browse accordingly.
I live in Bangkok and next year I want to take my son, ( 10 years old ), to England. One of the things
I want him to see is the restored Bluebird.
All the best

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:48 pm
by Renegadenemo
Just a few points - the 'cross between a V-bomber and a Land-Rover keeps coming up but it often confuses. It was a likeness I once expressed in a radio interview. Land-Rovers are of aluminium construction on a steel chassis but the aluminium in our case is a cocktail of exotic materials developed for the V-bombers in the fifties.

Doddy didn't work at Samlesbury's at all. he worked at Bendall's in Carlisle and was one of the tin-bashers recruited to try to mend K7 at the side of Ullswater when she failed to plane and needed the spar raised.

And as for people working on the project 'funds permitting'! It costs nothing to give up a few Saturdays like the rest of us. That seriously annoys me.

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:30 pm
by DMCK7 Fan
I think you will find most proffesional types like Chris Brammall will not work for free so funds permitting is how it has to be.

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:07 pm
by Renegadenemo
We've worked with all manner of engineers, welding specialists, precision fabricators, NDT experts, material scientists, metalurgists, naval architects, lawyers, accountants and goodness knows who else and no one has ever been paid a penny. They do it for the love of it or we find someone else. Then there's the workshop crew who are more then capable of a spot of blacksmithing but then I don'r suppose they fit into the category of 'professional types'.

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:23 pm
by DMCK7 Fan
Lawyers and accountants who have never been paid a penny ?
I never believed that was even possible..... BIG UP to the BBP for breaking the mould.

I think it is WONDERFUL the VOLUNTEER work and fundraising that is being done.
I can really tell from your post that those who don't volunteer in their proffesional capacity really do annoy you after all :lol:

"proffesional types like Chris Brammall " leave them to it Bill :roll:
He seems to be doing OK anyway

Re: Samlesbury Engineering

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:27 am
by Renegadenemo
Oh yes - they p**s me off mightily. Eversheds Law Firm threw the legalities of working the K7 wreck site at their new recruits in 2001 as a training exercise then PWC lent us a high-falutin accountant to work up our first business plan all FOC. Argos inspection took a week off from checking projectiles for Vickers Armaments to look through our frame for defects then BettaBlast shut their factory down for two days while we modified their oven so they could powder coat our frame for free and that was after PDS welded it all back together at their own time and expense.

As it happens, our materials guy, Dr John Renwick, who spent his working life with Marconi managing dissimilar metal corrosion on radar arrays for the Royal Navy, didn't live to see us get this far. He worked for free too.

'Funds permitting'... I think not.