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Bluebird - which party is missing the point?


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:33

On the BBC News website this morning:

"The daughter of water speed hero Donald Campbell is threatening to sell the wreck of his boat on auction site eBay after falling out with Lottery bosses.
Gina Campbell is also considering dumping the jet-powered Bluebird K7 back in the Cumbrian lake where it crashed after a restoration cash row.

"Her father died in 1967 while trying to break his own world water speed record.

"Ms Campbell wants the boat to be repaired, but the Lottery Heritage Fund wants it to remain partially damaged.

"The wreck of the craft was raised from Coniston Water in the Lake District in 2001 and has sat in the workshop of the diver who found it ever since.

"The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) believes the crash is the most important aspect of the boat's history and it should be displayed partially damaged.


"Ms Campbell said she will not settle for less than her dream

"It is only willing to contribute towards a partial reconstruction of the shell and earlier this year turned down a request for £940,000 to pay for a full restoration.

"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.

""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 lose the boat's history.

"He 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."

I feel one party here is plainly missing the point. Which would you support?

DCN

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#2 ensign14

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:45

One is reminded of the fallout in Yes Prime Minister when a full army team was sent out to rescue a lost dog on Salisbury Plain.

PM Jim Hacker was pleased with the ratings boost until presented with a bill for £330,000.

When asked what he should do, Private Secretary Bernard Woolley suggested putting the dog back.

This is the bit that annoys me the most:

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) believes the crash is the most important aspect of the boat's history and it should be displayed partially damaged.



There's me thinking that breaking the World Water Speed Record was the most important aspect.

Of course, it would be wrong to suggest that the Heritage Fund wants to save a few bob to donate to Dorking Lesbian Experimental Dance and a Make Your Own Macrame Activist course, but I cannot think of another way to finish this sentence.

#3 RTH

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:47

I remember watching the wreck emerging from the lake in the TV documentary and feeling very uneasy about the whole process.

It is so terribly badly damaged, it would not be a sympathetic restoration , it would be a completely new vehicle. It's a bit like saying the "Mary Rose " should be rebuilt and sailed down to Spain and back !

Rather as we discussed the 35B untouched for 55 years, recently, I think also it would be preferable and much more dignified if the remains of the Bluebird speed boat stayed untouched.

There is already a GRP full size film 'prop' of the boat used in another TV reconstruction of that fateful day in 1967. Enough.

#4 James Page

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:48

Personally, I think they should have left Bluebird at the bottom of Coniston, in the same way as I think it was quite sad that Babs was retrieved from Pendine.

If it was to be rebuilt, it wouldn't be Bluebird - it would be a new boat that just looked the same. And if you were to do that, why not just build a replica?

#5 Catalina Park

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 10:27

The most important thing about the Bluebird was the records not the crash.

It will lose too much if it is restored.
It would be a pity to display it as a wreck since that is just one part of it's history.
Maybe a scrap yard? I think the concrete block has some merit.

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 10:35

I'm mystified about the 'partial restoration' bit...

Either it is restored (re-created, probably) or it remains as found in the lake... any in between doesn't make sense.

#7 bill moffat

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 10:35

Unanymity it would seem. The moment that Bluebird was dragged from the waters with a diver straddled over her fuselage(?hull) wearing one of those funny over-sized felt hats I had a sense of foreboding.

The problem is that she is now out of her natural habitat and at risk of becoming either a) a semi-replica of the original rather than an original wreck or b) an eBay item. Neither option sits comfortably with the majority of us I suspect.

Campbell was rescued from the waters and given a decent burial, I'm all for that as a "lake-burial" is probably not as acceptable as a "sea-burial". His craft should emphatically have remained on the bottom of Coniston.

For what it's worth I would suggest a spade-load of Lottery money and the establishment of a British Museum of Speed Records, all the machinery under one roof and guaranteed a safe future (think of all the cars scattered country-wide at present). I feel that the Bluebird wreck could become an integral part of such a museum if displayed in a subdued and sympathetic fashion.

On a more cheerful note the Thrust SSC crew depended on the auctioning of various redundant bits of the car to keep the show rolling onwards to its triumphant conclusion...

#8 ian senior

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 11:08

I agree with Bill on this. To my mind, giving Donald a proper resting place was the major issue at stake. That was the right thing to do. I find the idea of someone, no matter who, being interred in the wreckage of the machine in which they died distinctly unpleasant. Think about it from your own perspective - would you want it for yourself? I wouldn't.

As for Bluebird, nothing would be achieved, except presumably a few quid and some publicity for the Campbell family (oh, I'm such a cynic), by a complete restoration. The full works would prove nothing, except what she looked like to those who don't know, plus possibly the prospect of someone attempting to use her in anger again ( I don't like that idea, by the way). I would have been inclined to let her rest in peace in the lake, but showing her as she was found but suitably cleaned up for public viewing would be a fair compromise.

#9 petefenelon

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 11:13

Originally posted by Doug Nye
On the BBC News website this morning:


I feel one party here is plainly missing the point. Which would you support?

DCN


Neither. I certainly wouldn't want to see the wreckage - that is something for accident inspectors and ghouls; and 'restoring' Bluebird would mean building a fake with some real bits. The "correct" course of action would've been to leave Bluebird at the bottom of the lake and build an honest fake for exhibition.

#10 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 11:33

Doug,

I am not in favour of restoring the wreck. But I cant help feeling this is a very emotional thing for Ms Campbell. After losing a father you tend to keep many of his things in tact or even improve them. Her idea of restoring the wreck might be such a case. She wants to set back what happened in a way. Dont think she is after a financial win.

Restoring the wreck would be nonsense financially. Better they build a replica/remake according to the blueprints and engineers still around (just like what Ferrari did with their lost 125S "the first Ferrari"). This would be a perfect running machine for demonstration inside and outside a museum for a sharper price.

#11 Vitesse2

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 11:41

I can see good and bad on both sides here, but ultimately I'm pretty much of the same opinion as Pete.

Ian: while I'm in agreement that Donald deserved a decent burial, you could draw an analogy with sunken warships which are designated as war graves where it is known with reasonable certainty that remains may still be within them. Just a thought ....

Whatever, all the time the boat is sitting in the open air, it's deteriorating from the condition in which it stayed for thirty years. At least while it was at the bottom of Coniston Water it was protected from the air - it's bloody cold down there and insulated from the outside world.

#12 ian senior

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 11:59

Originally posted by Vitesse2

Ian: while I'm in agreement that Donald deserved a decent burial, you could draw an analogy with sunken warships which are designated as war graves where it is known with reasonable certainty that remains may still be within them. Just a thought ....


A fair point, and one that did occur to me. I guess family wishes are the most important thing (the ONLY important thing really). Recovering Donald's body was a do-able project. Trying to recover bodies from a sunken warship would be a much more difficult project in most cases.

#13 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:03

Doug was very careful not to give his opinion!

I've been here before. I was curator at Filching Manor, or more precisely the Campbell Hall of Speed, which contained much of the Campbell artifacts that had been saved by Leo Villa, and in writing the book Leap into Legand about the Campbell's, senior and junior, I know all of the family. I am aware of thier views, and got involved in the ownership wrangle, the "should they have brought it up" wrangle, and the current wrangle. Now even though I am a trained curator, no one has asked me my "proffesional" opinion. Let's just say there are some hidden agendas.

To bring her up to put her back, what a waste of time. On the other side of the coin, now she is up, what to do. Very much like my comments on the Rindt Lotus, conservation says, "don't do more than required". It's the "my father's axe" syndrome. What exists, is 100% original, undiluted, anything other than conservation would be criminal, but, much like Rindt's Lotus, it is actually to grusome to put on display "as is". The bottom line is, something needs to be done soon. The engine no longer exists, the casings have crumbled, and I believe there are ways something could be done, but ultimately, as Jean Wales (Campbell's sister) said, "I don't think they thought about the consequences of thier actions".

#14 RTH

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:25

Just as an aside Steve , BBC I think made a drama documentry on the life of Malcolm Campbell 20 + years ago with Robert Hardy in the title role of "Speed King " I think that was the title, does a copy of this still exist ?

#15 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:26

Not wanting to stray to far off topic but use the similarity of a Spitfire, Mustang or Me109 reconstructed and now used in the warbird scene - no one worries or publicly shows to much concern about the pilot who may have perished. A lot of people enjoy the spectical and maybe go on and study further the history of the aircraft they veiw at an airshow.
In this scene Donald Campbell is the difference and our hearts must go to the family.
I only ever saw Bluebird in grainy old black and white newsreels but to see her in the future over Coniston at 66% power must be better than the alternative.
My choice rebuild and preserve the memory of both Campbell and the craft.

#16 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:35

Originally posted by RTH
Just as an aside Steve , BBC I think made a drama documentry on the life of Malcolm Campbell 20 + years ago with Robert Hardy in the title role of "Speed King " I think that was the title, does a copy of this still exist ?


Ian Homle was supposed to have played Leo! I have a copy of "Across the Lake", but I may be able to get a copy of Speed King, it's been years since I have seen it. I'll keep you posted!

#17 Gary C

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:58

"The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) believes the crash is the most important aspect of the boat's history and it should be displayed partially damaged."
Clueless idiots. The boat should have been left were it came to rest and also should have been designated a 'grave' and left alone.

#18 Kpy

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 13:09

Originally posted by Gary C
"The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) believes the crash is the most important aspect of the boat's history and it should be displayed partially damaged."
Clueless idiots. The boat should have been left were it came to rest and also should have been designated a 'grave' and left alone.

Hang on! Who raised Bluebird from the lake? The HLF?

#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 13:57

I think it's well known who raised the wreckage and I think Gary meant the HLF were clueless MERELY to offer the Beeb a quote which represents the accident as the most important part of the boat's history. I'm sure he didn't mean to infer the HLF somehow salvaged the wreck.

And I very much doubt if Patrick's point is relevant about so-called warbirds being in some cases reconstructed from wrecks in which the pilot died. I can't think of a single flying warbird today which has been reconstructed from such a wreck. The majority of them seem in reality either to have survived reasonably intact or to have been 're'constructed from virtually f - errr, very little...

Steve mentions his book 'Leap into Legend' but it deserves far more than just such a passing mention.

I found it simply outstanding, and HUGELY recommend fellow TNFers to invest in a copy wherever one can be found. Go on Steve - don't hide your light - tell how copies can be acquired... It really is excellently researched, very well presented and grippingly written with great attention to detail.

DCN

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#20 RTH

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 14:06

'Across the Lake' was the 1988 feature film starring Anthony Hopkins as Donald Campbell telling the story of those last few weeks leading up to the crash over 90 mins

In 2003 BBC put out 1/2 hr programme "The Fastest Man on Water 4th January 1967 " made up almost entirely of all the newsreel footage available of the period

#21 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 14:21

Bloody hell Doug, from you, I'm truely touched (and many have said that!)

I believe there are a few left from Amazon or from Sigma Press.

The money spent restoring what is a fast corroding hulk, should perhaps have been thought of to bring back the 1935 car? or giving Tom Weathcroft the option of enlarging the buildings at Donnington. I think little thought was given to the consequences, I think the idea of 'finding' an easy wreck and recovering it came first, then when Tonia Bern-Campbell, then Gina found out, it became a "proper" project, born out by the fact that they really don't seem to know what to do with it now. Leo always said both he and Campbell wanted it left, if there was an accident. Well there was, so what happened to their wishes? I cannot see how displaying a wreck gives anyone a clue as to it's full history, just it's demise. When you see the stuff Britain has tossed away (TSR2, the Miles supersonic project, etc etc) it does seem odd that the HLF want to display a wreck, and maybe not retrace some other pieces of heritage that have been allowed to be forgotten, I just don't think a wreck honours anyone.

#22 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 14:47

I honestly doubt if the HLF 'want' to display a wreck. I sense they would prefer the whole matter to submerge silently into the depths once more.

But my gut reaction is that they are absolutely correct in doubting that a million quid of our money should be 'invested' in what would surely turn out to be virtually a replica build, in which the frail remaining original artefact would vanish beneath irrelevant new finish.

The finest example I have seen of what can be done with a lake recovery is the RAF Museum Halifax, at Hendon, which is eerily displayed effectively 'as found' - but in contrast it was virtually complete, with substantial fire damage only to an area of the starboard wing.

I sympathise deeply with the family in a painstaking recovery and decent burial for Donald Campbell - but as Steve writes above, both Campbell and his closest confidant, Leo Villa, wanted the wreck left should the worst happen. It did...and the wreck seems to have been recovered with inadequate thinking/planning for its future beyond holding out a begging bowl, in line with so many really more needy causes...

It's a screw-up. Sadly. But I wouldn't blame the Heritage Fund people for it.

DCN

#23 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 15:07

Originally posted by f1steveuk
....but ultimately, as Jean Wales (Campbell's sister) said, "I don't think they thought about the consequences of thier (sic) actions".


To me, this is probably the key item to consider, this ceaseless doing something simply because it can be done, often with little regard to the consequences, even the primary ones much less the secondary ones.

#24 Gary C

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 15:15

'I'm sure he didn't mean to infer the HLF somehow salvaged the wreck.'
Correct!!

#25 tidytracks

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 15:27

Originally posted by Arjan de Roos
Restoring the wreck would be nonsense financially. Better they build a replica/remake according to the blueprints and engineers still around (just like what Ferrari did with their lost 125S "the first Ferrari"). This would be a perfect running machine for demonstration inside and outside a museum for a sharper price.


:up: Agreed

This is a highly emotive issue and I would have to agree with the majority of posts thus far assembled which refer to a lack of forethought in the original raising of bluebird.

Better to build her from scratch if you want her as a museum piece - beautiful, shiny and a majestic tribute to man's ingenuity and the sheer guts of an individual living out his, his father's and his nation's dreams... that is how she should be remembered.

#26 McGuire

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 15:35

Bluebird and the Dead Lake by John Pearson, about Campbell's land speed record campaign at Lake Eyre, is one of the best books about motor sport ever written. No, make that one of the most gripping and touching nonfiction adventure stories ever told.

Originally published by Collins in 1965, reprinted by Arum Press LTD 2002.

#27 tidytracks

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 15:42

Also, David Tremayne's simply fantastic Donald Campbell: The man behid the mask - Bantam Press, 2004 (or 2005 in paperback)

I would go as far as to say it is the single finest book I have ever read... on any subject... ever. Incredibly researched and masterfully written.

#28 Kpy

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 15:49

Originally posted by Gary C
'I'm sure he didn't mean to infer the HLF somehow salvaged the wreck.'
Correct!!

I'm sorry, Gary. I completely misread your post :blush: :( .
I agree that the wreck should never have been raised. It was, as you say, a grave.

#29 Barry Boor

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 17:24

I find this question extremely difficult to answer...

While I would love to see a perfect condition replica of Bluebird on show somewhere, my gut feeling is that what was removed from Coniston should be put back exactly where it was.

O.T. I would like to see some of that Heritage Lottery money aimed in Peter Connew's direction....

#30 dolomite

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 18:53

I thought that at the time Bluebird was recovered it was being suggested that it should be preserved in its current condition and displayed alongside a replica (either the BBC one or a new one) to illustrate how it would have looked before the crash. This has always seemed to me to be the best option.

Also IIRC the body was not found in the wreck (presumably thrown clear in the accident) so surely it is not technically the 'grave'?

#31 bill moffat

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 18:55

Maybe we get side-tracked by a "fluffy" thread now and then, possibly we get a bit hung up on trivia from time to time and, happily, seldom a hint of ill-feeling or abuse infiltrates TNF.

However, reviewing the 30 or so replies to Doug's original question betrays (without exception) the fundamental depth of knowledge, thought and insight that this forum and its members can muster when need be. A collective pat on the back ? :)

#32 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 19:13

My idea, as pitched was to submerge the wreck in a tank (filled with water and inhibitants) like a giant fish tank, tail toward the paying public, in a "as found on the bottom" display. Thereby three criteria would be met, preservation, display, and keeping the "grim end" from public view. Jack Lovell's company retain the moulds from the Across the Lake replica, so a "how it should look" version is easy. The tank and maintainance for ten years came to too thirds of what was asked for for a rebuild. Although ultimately, it should never have been recovered.

#33 T54

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 19:25

When forensic experts found and and opened the graves of the explorers trying to find the elusive "Northwest Passage" in the last century, the motivation was to find the cause of their demise, in this case lead poisoning from solder on the food cans. They examined, photographed and documented the event, artifacts and body remains, then carefully re-buried the bodies of the glorious men and had a on-site ceremony in their honor.

The very same should have been the motivation and disposition of the Bluebird, where it should be now.
Regards,

T54

#34 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 19:34

The guy who opened the first coffin was actually looking at his ancestor, how strange must that have been? The inquest on Donald Campbell was as grim as it could have been, which really should have been enough for Gina, but obviously not!

#35 bill moffat

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 19:42

Originally posted by T54
When forensic experts found and and opened the graves of the explorers trying to find the elusive "Northwest Passage" in the last century, the motivation was to find the cause of their demise, in this case lead poisoning from solder on the food cans. They examined, photographed and documented the event, artifacts and body remains, then carefully re-buried the bodies of the glorious men and had a on-site ceremony in their honor.

The very same should have been the motivation and disposition of the Bluebird, where it should be now.
Regards,

T54


Agree absolutely, although I fear that the cocktail of various parties' self-interest and publicity will prevent the "right thing" from happening.

There is a precedent. In 1951 K4 sunk after an accident in shallow waters at Coniston. The boat was recovered, useful bits salvaged and the remains then became a bonfire.

I hardly think DC would approve of a gleaming semi-replica and I suspect that a public display of a shattered K7 would be in direct contrast to his wishes. This could all become very messy...

#36 Mark A

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 21:17

Originally posted by f1steveuk
My idea, as pitched was to submerge the wreck in a tank (filled with water and inhibitants) like a giant fish tank, tail toward the paying public, in a "as found on the bottom" display. Thereby three criteria would be met, preservation, display, and keeping the "grim end" from public view. Jack Lovell's company retain the moulds from the Across the Lake replica, so a "how it should look" version is easy. The tank and maintainance for ten years came to too thirds of what was asked for for a rebuild. Although ultimately, it should never have been recovered.


That's a solution I like the sound of.

I agree with all the comments about the return of Campbells remains and a decent burial while leaving Bluebird where it was, I think Steve's suggestion is probably the only one now left.

#37 D-Type

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 23:14

It isn't possible to turn the clock back. The wreck has been raised so it would not really ge acceptable to return it to the lake.

Had Donald Campbell not been killed, I wouldn't have a problem with the wreck going on display but as he was, it just seems ghoulish.

To restore Bluebird to its original condition is tantamount to a keel up construction of an exact replica. Since this machine was produced for just one purpose - to go as fast as possible - to parade it once a year would be pointless. And if you aren't going to run it then restoring it to running condition is pointless.

To my mind this is the only solution. It comes as close as we can get to striking a balance between a tribute and a fairground sideshow.

Originally posted by f1steveuk
My idea, as pitched was to submerge the wreck in a tank (filled with water and inhibitants) like a giant fish tank, tail toward the paying public, in a "as found on the bottom" display. Thereby three criteria would be met, preservation, display, and keeping the "grim end" from public view. Jack Lovell's company retain the moulds from the Across the Lake replica, so a "how it should look" version is easy. The tank and maintainance for ten years came to too thirds of what was asked for for a rebuild. Although ultimately, it should never have been recovered.


The only suggestion I can add is in order to display something tangible, the engine could be removed and put on show.

#38 Mike Lawrence

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 01:34

Let us deconstruct the whole issue. Why was Donald Campbell so interesting to the British public in the first place? There was the oedipal thing with his father, of course, and the fact he married a glamorous cabaret singer, Tonia Bern, who used to be a frequent feature on BBC's weekday 'Tonight' magazine programme. I don't think she ever had a hit record, but she was eye candy.

I am not sure that many people were actually interested in speed records in 1967. By then we all knew that the Air Speed Record meant nothing because the American and Soviet military both had faster planes, but were not letting on.

In truth, by 1967 Campbell was a bit of a dinosaur. Of course we wanted him to set new records, Rule Britannia, but it actually didn't matter all that much if he didn't. In 1967 Campbell was a side-issue and he made the headlines because of the way he died, plus the fact there were photos.

I know that he was into popping non-prescription pills and he may not have been in the best condition to pilot Bluebird.

The guy went down and his boat should have been left at the bottom of Consign Water. That way you would be left with memories, and an image, you would not have it spoiled by guys like me saying he was crazy for happiness pills, but that is a fact. He was often completely spaced out and that is the reason why he had to ask other men to deputise to drive 'Bluebird', the car at prearranged demonstrations..

Donald Campbell was not the best of men, but he died in pursuit of an heroic quest. That is not a bad way to die. He has never figured among my pantheon of heroes, but I would not be bothered if he figured in your pantheon.

The place for the boat is the bottom of the lake. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you have to.

#39 sblick

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 06:40

I believe it should be restored to running condition. If Donald Campbell wrote somewhere that his machine should lay in state if he ever met his demise than that should have been the last wish granted. If it wasn't, than the family wishes should be granted. I don't see what a crashed boat is going to show but failure nor does that show any engineering brilliance. He tried his best and used all his ingenuity to break a record and all that ingenuity should be shown. If this was Senna's or Clark's car we would all be having a fit. The measure of the man was not his crashed boat. They should display his crashed boat for a year and then restore to "before crashed" condition.

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#40 f1steveuk

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 07:45

Originally posted by bill moffat
[B There is a precedent. In 1951 K4 sunk after an accident in shallow waters at Coniston. The boat was recovered, useful bits salvaged and the remains then became a bonfire. . [/B]


Yes, and Leo said that he and Donald "cried as we burnt the old man's boat", which proves you can't win!

#41 f1steveuk

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 12:00

Originally posted by Mike Lawrence
In truth, by 1967 Campbell was a bit of a dinosaur. Of course we wanted him to set new records, Rule Britannia, but it actually didn't matter all that much if he didn't. In 1967 Campbell was a side-issue and he made the headlines because of the way he died, plus the fact there were photos.

I know that he was into popping non-prescription pills and he may not have been in the best condition to pilot Bluebird.


Yes I agree, and said so, Donald was living out of his time, man was going to the moon (soon), but I cannot agree with popping pills, that came from one remark made by the guy that stuffed CN7 at Debden. Yes he was a bit of a hypochondriac, and as David Tremayne told me, "Gina was very dismissive of that one!" David I and go back a few years, and we shared quite a lot of info' regarding Donald Campbell, neither of us heard that said directly, ever. I'm sure Leo would have noticed.

As for displaying the engine, what engine??? It has crumbled to dust, well sludge, and was removed in buckets!

#42 Mike Lawrence

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 23:10

Dear f1steveuk, my comment that Campbell popped pills was not an isolated comment from the man who drove the car at Debden (Peter Bolton). I think I am the only person to have interviewed Peter at length and I never mentioned pills in the published piece.


It was not a chance remark, Peter was specific that Donald was was high most of the time which is why he cried off driving the car at Debden. Peter stayed with the Campbells over a long weekend and went into detail of many aspects of their lifestyle. There was no 'chance remark' I have chapter and verse, all on tape.

Sorry, pal, but just because you know an historian, doesn't make you one.

What you have to remember is that the drug scene was different back then. Hippies discovered that there was a cough mixture, named after Dr. Collis Brown, which was well-laden with morphine. If you sowed 'Trill', the seed sold for pet birds, in your garden, and all the seeds took, about a third of plants would be cannabis and PC Plod could be on your case. When he was in advertising, Murrary Walker worked on the 'Trill' account.

In the early 1950s, the boost of choose at Cambridge University was LSD. If you knew the formula, you could run up a batch yourself and it wasn't illegal save that it broke a patent, but its creator, Alfred Hoffmann. did not mind. Alfred is now 99 and going strong. The mixture tended to be fairly weak, it was used to relax rather than to take a trip. How did Crick and Watson imagine the 'Double Helix' of DNA? Now you know.

#43 Leif Snellman

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 23:34

The problem as I see it is that this subject should have been discussed through and a decision made BEFORE taking the decision to raise the boat in the first place.

#44 f1steveuk

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 08:19

Originally posted by Mike Lawrence


Sorry, pal, but just because you know an historian, doesn't make you one.

I don't know, I think I'm a little offended by that! As a curator (although not anymore), and my job at FOM was as a historian (in part) and as both David and I appeared in Speed Machines (M. Campbell and Segrave) titled as "LSR Historians", I don't think it is by asscociation :p

Both David and I spoke to Peter Bolton. at different times, he told me he drove CN7 at Debden because of Donald's flu. I don't know what he told DJT.

Strangely, if you listen or read Bolton's account of Debden, it was brake failure, something that had never happened before, or since, yet Ray Govier, who ran the car with Leo that day, proved it was a mixture of panic and big feet!!! (One foot on both pedals, the faster it went, the harder he pushed, the faster it went .........) and it was recorded on the HUGNOT telementry. Campbell chided Bolton on this, so maybe a case of sour grapes?? Although later on Bolton was to have both Bluebirds, car and boat, for a proposed museum, so they kissed and made up.

As you say, you have it on tape, but from ONE man, one more then me I grant you! I don't discount out of hand it the possibility, as I say, Campbell thought he had everything, so he may well have popped pills, but I doubt for recreational reasons, but it has happened to many (Freddie Starr etc etc etc etc), and I don't defend as a fan, (my favourite guitarist is Hendrix, nough said!). Personally, anything I wrote regarding Campbell, I crossed reference with at least ten other people, supporters and detracters, and no one said a thing.

(p.s.) I'm not that offended really :wave: )

#45 ian senior

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 09:17

I know we tend to go off topic sometimes - and nowt wrong with that for the most part - but am I the only one who thinks that references to Donald Campbell's drug use (alleged or actual) is somewhat irrelevant in this discussion? And perhaps not just irrelevant, but also a touch "tabloid sensational"?

#46 f1steveuk

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 09:49

Quite right, but I didn't bring it up! and as it says "Historian" on my CV, I was just replying :drunk:

Anyway, long story/short, Bluebird K7 should be at the bottom of Coniston, it isn't, so preserve it as it is,

Ta ta

#47 ensign14

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 10:11

Originally posted by ian senior
I know we tend to go off topic sometimes - and nowt wrong with that for the most part - but am I the only one who thinks that references to Donald Campbell's drug use (alleged or actual) is somewhat irrelevant in this discussion? And perhaps not just irrelevant, but also a touch "tabloid sensational"?

On restoration of Bluebird, maybe, but in a discussion about the man I think it IS relevant. Heaven forfend we go back to the days where no-one ever hears anything bad about anyone. It's on another thread here but perhaps the first time that reference was made in motor racing print to Luis Fontes being imprisoned for manslaughter following a drunk-driving incident was in about 2003. If we're going to have the good, it's only fair to have the bad.


Of course, only if it's true...

#48 ian senior

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 10:17

Originally posted by ensign14


Of course, only if it's true...


Exactly.

#49 f1steveuk

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 10:24

Originally posted by ensign14
On restoration of Bluebird, maybe, but in a discussion about the man I think it IS relevant. Heaven forfend we go back to the days where no-one ever hears anything bad about anyone. It's on another thread here but perhaps the first time that reference was made in motor racing print to Luis Fontes being imprisoned for manslaughter following a drunk-driving incident was in about 2003. If we're going to have the good, it's only fair to have the bad.


Of course, only if it's true...


That is what I have always said, no one is ALL sweetness and light, and the tendency to write about heroes with lovely rose tinted glasses on is quite common, I tried not too, honest! Hence my remark about Hendrix, much though I admire him, I'd be pretty stupid to think he never took drugs, though the evidence suggest he was "clean" when he died. On another thread I have been slating Max Mosley, but I know he has done some good things, one has to find the balance.

Campbell was an appalling womaniser, whose ethics in that direction I find unbelieveable, so he, like everyone else is far from perfect. Back on thread, the argument is that displaying a wreck will not impart the triumphs of Campbeel's career, just the end of it. My argument would be, if you rebuild it you loose originality, and if it isn't going to be run, and at speed, what would be the point anyway.

#50 David Lawson

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 11:37

Gina Campbell is being interviewed by Jeremy Vine about the restoration on his Radio2 show after 12 noon today.

David