Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by CHWk7 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:46 pm


We should all be at this point in time celebrating this magnificent achievement by Bill Smith and his team and not having a negative discussion on the possible future. The fact that the boat worked straight out of the box so to speak blows me away and then some, unbelievable really! Enjoy the present while you can as the for the future it will take care of itself!

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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by Renegadenemo » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:16 pm

Ahhh, back to normality - that was knackering!

I'll try to keep this brief without leaving anything out.

Yes, K7 worked straight out of the box. She floated, started then went like a bat out of Hell when asked to. One or two bits fell off, leaked, worked loose or behaved differently to how we expected but the maintenance crew were across the issues and our drivers did an amazing job.

Then Gina got a look at her father's boat floating in the sunlight and declared at once that there was no way that boat could be stuffed in a museum, the doors closed behind her and that's that. She had to be shown off to a global audience. We had people lined up on the causeway in the hope of tasting the kerosene flavoured spray as Bluebird roared off and you won't get that in the Ruskin.

Now then, I have been telling the museum for many years that this living machine could not just sit as it would deteriorate. Build her to run and the price you pay is having to tend her systems until the end of time. There has never been any argument over making her run but on the several occasions I have asked the museum et al for their thoughts on future running and anti-det measures all I've had is deafening silence. There appears to be an element that would happily shut the door behind her and that would do for them. That has never been an option and this has been on record for many years.
I have also stated categorically that we won't take our fifteen years of damned hard work and determination anywhere near the museum until this matter is fully resolved and contracts signed so if the slightest hint of wibble emerges that we are being unfair in any way remember that they have had at least a decade to get it sorted.

Same goes for any plans to run on Coniston. For ten years they have known what was going to happen yet when push came to shove there's nothing in place. Bute did it in seven months. I keep hearing that they couldn't plan without a firm date but that's a cop-out and a weak attempt to shove the blame back to our side of the table. They have comprehensive plans for their next flood or mountain rescue but no date for that either - just remember that. They keep saying they've offered dates and we've not accepted them. I am not about to ask a sponsor to throw their money on the table to sit out two weeks of crap weather in October when kids and families can't get there.
We have told them for years - two weeks in a month without an R in it when the kids are off school, but doesn't seem to be going in.

Then there's the LDNPA - We're not even going to begin on that one except say that until they organise unrestricted running during daylight hours in a month without an R when the schools are out we'll likely ignore them.
One of the more ridiculous things I've heard is that we'd have to pack up at 4.00pm.
On Loch Fad we often had to wait until quite late in the day for the right conditions, especially in the first week when we did our high speed runs - and all runs on Coniston would be high speed over a much longer course so we need everything spot-on. We had parents sit with their kids all day, often through rain showers and squalls. On several occasions I raided our catering tent for apples and snacks to feed kids who hadn't expected so long a wait, but wait they did and mostly they were rewarded with the sight of Bluebird roaring down the loch. There is no way on Earth we are going to sit all day waiting patiently for good conditions just to have it drop flat at 4.30 only to have to send all those patient people home empty handed because some p**s-pot bureaucrat is scared of Mrs. Miggins whining about a jet engine running at tea time. We didn't have any such crap on Bute and we won't put up with it anywhere else. The people of Bute moved their livestock so the show could go on.

So - in a nutshell.

Bute was a massive success and is now our benchmark for any future running. Coniston, LDNPA, sort out the same sort of venue and we will turn up and play your gig. I'm sure the powers that be on Bute will be glad to show you what's needed.
Gina wants her father's boat toured and that is an excellent idea that has massive support from pretty much every quarter so we'll do that.
The museum can store the boat and display her when she's not being shown off or in maintenance so the sooner they get their proposals on the table the sooner that can move forward.

In the meantime, we have a LOT of work to do on the boat to get her into proper shape to do that again. There's water in places we didn't know she had, joints have opened, the canopy and water ingress is still a problem, the water brake, though it works amazingly well, still has elements of its system not working. Most of the fasteners holding the engine cover are the wrong ones, there's no ASI, the list is endless but we'll be on it soon as we get a rest and regroup.

Good result, though... and remember, if the BBP did compromise the museum would be displaying a replica and the un-restored wreck would be in Manchester. Don't come asking for compromise now.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes.

'Sometimes you gotta be an S.O.B if you wanna make a dream reality' Mark Knopfler

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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by Geoffmountfield » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:00 pm

I whole heartedly agree with your statement, the Coniston authorities and the LDNP seem to think they have a god given right to take ownership of Blue Bird. As has been said, she needs to be shown to everyone who has followed your rescue and restoration, and those of us who remember watching the events of that fateful day!!

Keep up the good work!!


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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by Healey nut » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:12 pm

Just as I thought .
If you want the real story ask the organ grinder . Tks Bill .
Thats not an oil leak , its my patent pending Old British Sports Car rustproofing system . :mrgreen:

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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by Andyroo75 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:50 pm

Good update Bill.
This was a topic of much discussion with my father in the pub last night.
I would love it to be the case where the Ruskin is her home base and dry dock for some of the year and get her out on the water the rest of the time to do what she was built and restored to do.
It would be immensely sad to see her parked in a museum as a a static display after all the hard work!
Get it out show it off to the world, see the excitement in some kids eyes and show them what engineering is all about.

Well done team

Ernie Lazenby

Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by Ernie Lazenby » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:13 pm

Thanks Bill for taking time to post, its appreciated. Just a couple of points. I have collected every newspaper cutting and press release going back many decades and certainly since 2001. There appears to be a lot of contradictions not least by Gina.
With great respect the question remains unanswered is one of ownership. Did Gina give K7 to the Ruskin charitable trust (registered charity 222234)
or not, from the information available she clearly did. If that is so why was it necessary to set up a company limited by guarantee in 2012 when there already existed a charitable trust that is able to receive sponsorship. Accepted that a company limited by guarantee affords protection to the four directors the same protection can be available under the terms of a trust. The trust being required to detail sponsorship received.
I have read the details on the Ruskin charitable trust and noted that it is owned by the people of Coniston for the purposes of sustaining the local community centre and the Ruskin Museum; I can from that see the question arising what would happen to K7 if the trust folded and no doubt is one you will have thought about. That said however the same question can be asked about the project?

It seems a rather confused situation exists today. It appears from the outside looking in that the project has assumed the right of ownership in so much it is deciding what happens to K7 now and that the Ruskin are very much in the background awaiting whatever visits of K7 the project allows.

That's very much removed from what was given out in press releases by various people associated with the project. The main concern I think is that the annex to the Ruskin was built to house K7, that's its sole purpose.

There is a fundamental issue to all the confusion and it is this, would people have contributed to the re-build knowing K7 was going to end up in the hands of a private business , that is what a private company limited by guarantee is. Would people be happy about an aged hydroplane being run all over the place with the inherent risk of damage or loss.

The BBC report that started this thread will I am sure be the start of more unless the basic question is answered Who owns Bluebird K7 - The Ruskin Museum a charitable trust or a private limited company owned by 4 named directors.

BTW I hope you have realised I am playing devils advocate.

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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by ace_chris » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:10 pm

Ernie - Can you just for a moment stop trying to find a bloody negative with the project. Ownership - none of your business, touring - none of your business, funding - none of your business. Leave it to the professionals, please.

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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by rich1608 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:16 pm

ace_chris wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:10 pm
Ernie - Can you just for a moment stop trying to find a bloody negative with the project. Ownership - none of your business, touring - none of your business, funding - none of your business. Leave it to the professionals, please.
Well said. Ernie's posts are quite inappropriate right now.

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Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by Billyblue » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Bill, I couldn’t agree more with everything you have said . The K7 is a stunning living machine. The site , sounds, & smell of her on Bute the last couple of weeks was something I felt privileged to witness. You and your team meant so much to all the islanders young and old. Seeing her reminded me of when I saw the Lancaster bomber flying , it was awesome. She has to be run, Concorde , Vulcan bombers, Queen Mary, all preserved , but static and lifeless. She is a national treasure just like the Flying Scotsman or the Spitfire. Keep the old girl running. PS She,d make a great site flying under the Tyne Bridge too😂😂😂🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Ernie Lazenby

Re: Donald Campbell's restored Bluebird in museum home row

Post by Ernie Lazenby » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:37 pm

Ace-chris,rich1608.Hit a nerve have I. What are you concerned about- straight forward questions to be answered. Yes it is my business as it is of anyone who sent money to the Ruskin or the Project in the believe a course of events was to follow. Simply trying to get an answer to a question arising from a press report re ownership, is there a reason why that is so much of a problem? Perhaps there is not an answer and that is the problem.
You may not like the questions but respect the right of an individual to ask them. This forum was put into the public domain, if its only purpose is to have comments posted that please one point of view what is the point of it. Loads of positive stuff posted in recent days in other threads and rightly so. Maybe you missed the fact I did not start the thread however the press comment raised an interesting point, other than for that I may not have said anything.

I cannot see what the problem is- If K7 is now owned by a private company free to do with it what the 4 directors wish then have it said if it isn't say so end of story either way.

BTW If I had spent 17 years doing what Bill has I too would be really concerned about what was going to happen next- perhaps you don't understand what playing devils advocate means.
Last edited by Ernie Lazenby on Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.