WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOS: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The Ruskin Museum in Coniston, UK, has appealed to the British public to help fund its court case over the ownership of Bluebird K7, the record-breaking hydroplane in which Donald Campbell lost his life. You can find a link to the appeal here.
The Ruskin Museum’s appeal, which has the support of Campbell’s family, is the most recent development in an ongoing dispute with the Bluebird Project, which restored the K7 wreckage after it was recovered from Coniston Water.
After being raised, the wreckage was gifted to the Ruskin Museum in 2006 by the Campbell Family Trust, on the condition that the boat be restored to how she was on the morning before Campbell’s fatal accident on January 4, 1967.
Representing the Bluebird Project is Bill Smith, who recovered the K7 from Coniston Water and offered to restore it at no cost before passing it back to the Ruskin Museum on completion.
With this agreement in place, Smith raised money for the boat’s restoration, while the Ruskin raised funds to build a permanent home for the legendary vessel.
The Bluebird Project claims that because of the labour it put in and the funds it raised, it owns the parts made and added to the boat and, as a result, has a stake in the ownership of the finished K7. The Ruskin Museum argues that the funds raised and the work undertaken were done in the knowledge that the completed boat was handed back with no claim of ownership.
Consequently, the Ruskin served legal papers to the Bluebird Project back in February, guaranteeing that the battle is taken to court and the dispute over ownership is settled in law. At the time of writing, the Ruskin’s appeal has raised £16,202 towards the legal case.
Magneto hosted a briefing between the Ruskin Museum and Bluebird Project in 2021 at the Royal Automobile Club in London, which foreshadowed the escalation of the disagreement between both parties. You can watch the unedited video of the briefing below.