The Campbell family is delighted to announce that Donald Campbell CBE’s record-breaking jet hydroplane, Bluebird K7, is set to return to its spiritual home at Coniston this month.
After much controversy, Bluebird K7 will finally be returned to the Lake District village so that it can be conserved and displayed in its forever home – the Bluebird Wing of The Ruskin Museum – alongside its original engine.
Gina Campbell, daughter of Donald Campbell CBE, said: ‘We are delighted that Bluebird K7 is coming home. It is taken many years of hard work by The Ruskin Museum to achieve our original gift of K7 so that it can be put on display there. We must not forget the many volunteers who gave their time, money and support to rebuild K7 to her former glory. It has led to this momentous moment and we are very grateful to them all.
‘Not only do we remember Donald Campbell CBE at this time, but also his late widow Tonia and the brilliant designer Ken Norris, who sadly have both passed away before seeing the rebuilt Bluebird return to her spiritual home.’
The Campbell Family Heritage Trust donated Bluebird K7 to the Ruskin Museum in 2006, so that it would always be in the Museum system and its future would be protected. The aim of The Ruskin Museum, and of the voluntary restoration, has always been to return K7 to its former glory, and house it in the specially built wing as a permanent display for public and educational benefit.
Gina continued: ‘Bluebird K7 belongs to the nation and she is a very important part of Coniston’s heritage – and Britain’s. It gives the family peace to know that Bluebird is coming home and that future generations will be able to learn about Donald Campbell CBE and his unrivalled achievements. It seems only fitting, given that 2024 marks 60 years since my father achieved the unique feat of setting world land and water speed records in the same year.’
In 1964, Donald Campbell set a new land speed record at Lake Eyre, Australia, at 403mph. Later the same year, he broke his own water speed record at Lake Dumbleyung, Western Australia, at 276mph. His highest speed on water was estimated as being 320mph during his last, fatal run in Bluebird K7 on Coniston Water in January 1967.
Bluebird K7 was recovered from Coniston Water in March 2001.