THE HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND - MEDIA REVIEW
We'd like to know who is funding the litigation between Ruskin Museum and Bill Smith? Typically, anyone involved with the Campbell family, will try to outgun their opposition, not based on law and fairness, but on who has more money. More money to secure the services of a QC, now KC. In our view law should not revolve around who has more cash to throw at a case. The Courts should work to help those less financially blessed, to reach an amicable settlement.
A bitter dispute as to ownership and rights to operate, has broken out and is still unresolved at time of writing (25-02-2023). We are sure all fans of Bluebird land and water speed record vehicles, will be pleased to see the K7, above, running again on water. As many readers will know, Bill Smith has spent 15 years of his life restoring the jet powered Bluebird, the passion of Donald Campbell, until he pushed the design too far in 1967. Despite agreement as to operational rights, the Ruskin Museum in Cumbria is now seeking to default on that agreement, without offering Mr Smith compensation for his fifteen years of project management and time spent actually working on the fated hydroplane. This might seem like a one off dispute, until you look back in time at the various disputes between Sir Malcolm Campbell and Rolls-Royce, Donald Campbell and Ken Norris, and Don Wales and the designer/builder of the Bluebird Electric racing cars. Taken in that context, the present dispute is just another in a chain, that seems to have passed down the family as an embedded DNA profile. Of course that is just alleged speculation, whereas the history of disputes is indisputable. When it comes to paying, just like the addiction to speed, it seems to run in the family. But now we are looking at Lottery Funding. so public money. It's no longer Donald Sidebottom in the trademark court. It is a Museum that has accepted public money - it appears - without a proper legal agreement as to the terms of accepting that public money.
GINA CAMPBELL THROWS HER TOYS OUT OF THE PRAM
THE 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. [It may have been better for Bill Smith if that had been the case. We feel sure he would have bought it]
Donald Campbell died on Coniston Water in the Lake District in 1967 while trying to break his own world water speed record. Forever the playboy, impatient and always chasing his next girlfriend, he was desperately short of money when he rather oddly, decided to attempt a run without refuelling and through his own wash. Some have suggested it was a suicide run. Maybe his debts were greater than anyone knew? Whatever the reason, he was almost certain to flip. As Ken Norris had advised would be the case, without additional aerodynamic aids. Forty-six is an age where men are most vulnerable psychologically.
Gina Campbell and the Bluebird K7 wreck and the K7 and Donald at Coniston
The 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.
Ms Campbell wants the boat to be restored to her former glory but the Lottery Heritage Fund wants it to remain partially damaged.
The 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.
Ms 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."
"That's my dream and I won't settle for anything less."
But Tony Jones, of the HLF, said a full rebuild would destroy the boat's originality and sense of history.
"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," 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 either."
Gina Campbell, herself an offshore powerboat racing contender and one time record holder, was understandably frustrated that her dream would not be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, but then it all seems to have worked out in the end, because of Bill Smith and his drive (not to mention skills) to get things done.
BBC NEWS - CAMPBELL'S URGE RETHINK
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.
Bluebird was raised from Coniston Water in March 2001
Bill Smith, restoration project leader
"Most 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. He
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 site eBay.
Bill Smith (ineligible) 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.
Part 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
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 Coniston Water. He
said: "It's been sitting here for the last four years awaiting a
decision and every day it stands it makes more work for somebody."
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.
Donald 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 Donald had."
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
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 considered too.
Bluebird 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.
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
Those wanting to see a restored Bluebird on display will be hoping for a change of heart by June.
Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 14:51 GMT
Bluebird in eBay threat
urge Bluebird rethink
for Bluebird restoration
daughter to restore Bluebird
tribute to water speed king
salvage the Bluebird
Donald 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 Warby. Quicksilver is a current WSR project that is still live.
Bluebird K7 is slowly being rebuilt by an army of volunteers, without lottery money, demonstrating that heritage funding was not essential to the project proceeding, other than maybe allowing some of those involved to obtain a slice of the pie, when in fact the true (hands on) enthusiasts did not want financial reward for their input, just the satisfaction of seeing a job well done. The money thus saved has gone to other causes. When first constructed and posted this page was a review of the media frenzy generated by the lifting of the K7. Since that time the page may have been updated to reflect the current state of the restoration project, funding, and any other news in connection with the Heritage Lottery Fund. We acknowledge articles by the BBC and where appropriate pictures supplied by various concerns/agencies, with links to those agencies if the original published article does not identify the authors.
NEW 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.
Donald 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.
The underwater surveyor and amateur diver who discovered the wreck, Bill Smith, wants to exhibit the restored craft in the Ruskin and Coniston Museum.
Mr 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."
But 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 be told."
HLF Who are we?
for Culture, Media and Sport
Countryside, parks and gardens
Museum and gallery collections
Learning For All
Other sources of specialist advice
of Preservation Trusts
The Blue Bird K4 is the only vehicle that both Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell shared. It was the chalice that passed between father and son to rekindle the flames of passion, fueled by fumes of Rolls Royce and Castrol that is surely enough to temp many a man to achieve the unthinkable, then when their master is crumbled to dust, to call to collectors like a siren, for yet another coat of paint and polish.
One of the most famous photographs of Donald Campbell, at home in the 'Blue Lobster' that was to make him so famous and was also to cost him his life. Father and son both chased the fastest vehicles of the time, but Donald was fortunate to find a team of visionary designers in Ken and Lew Norris, that could make his dreams come true on land and water.
Art Into Any Lesson
ENGLISH HERITAGE SITE - 29 NOV 2010BLUE PLAQUE FOR SIR MALCOLM AND DONALD
An English Heritage blue plaque was erected to Sir Malcolm Campbell (1885-1948) and Donald Campbell (1921-1967), the father and son who between them set ten land speed records and eleven water speed records. The plaque was unveiled at Canbury School, Kingston-upon-Thames at 10.30am on 29th November 2010 by Don Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm and nephew of Donald Campbell.
Malcolm Campbell is connected to various addresses in and around London, but the only house where both he and his son can be commemorated together is Canbury, Kingston Hill, a substantial two-storey detached house dating from the late nineteenth century, now used as a school.
Malcolm Campbell moved to Canbury in 1919 and married Dorothy Whittall the following year. Their son, Donald was born at Canbury in March 1921. On the evening of the birth Malcolm was notoriously absent, helping a neighbour to build a dog kennel, leaving his father-in-law to call for a midwife.
Dorothy Campbell had also
to tolerate his car fanaticism, which usually meant his retiring to the garage for the evening once he had bolted down
his dinner. In Dorothy's recollection the house "suited us very well and I myself looked forward to spending many happy years
in a delightful home." Malcolm, however, became restless and in late 1922 the family moved to Povey Cross, near Horley, Surrey.
Captain Malcolm Campbell at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. This is a typical pose in the (by then) white overall, leather helmet and goggles uniform that he had adopted.
SIR MALCOLM CAMPBELL'S BLUE BIRDS
DONALD CAMPBELL'S BLUEBIRDS
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