"Museum and Campbell family make final appeal to get Campbell’s record breaking boat Bluebird K7 back to Coniston"
[Copied from - https://ruskinmuseum.com/news-events/ ]
The Ruskin Museum and the Campbell family have made a final appeal to get Donald Campbell’s record-breaking boat K7 back to the Lake District in one piece, to its legal owners.
Solicitors for the Museum, where a special wing was constructed to display the record breaker, have sent a letter to Bill Smith who has restored Bluebird K7 asking him to return the boat to the museum as promised, and not go ahead with the threat of taking it apart. He is claiming that the parts used to restore the record breaker are his.
Jeff Carroll Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Ruskin Museum said: “Bill Smith offered to restore Bluebird K7, which was gifted to the museum by the Campbell family so that it could be put on permanent display in the special wing, that was built for it.
“Bill Smith and his team of volunteers approached British companies for donations and parts for the boat on this basis, as well as gaining public donations and raising money through sales of merchandise.
“The Bluebird project has run Bluebird K7 on Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute. The Museum had little or no input in that event, it was billed as ‘Crew Training’ to ensure that the Team could launch, recover, and run the boat pending arranging the final set of Proving Trials approved by Trustees on Coniston Water. K7 was effectively proved to be of operable condition, as per the 2006 Deed of Gift, by running at speeds up to and in excess of 150mph.”
Jeff Carroll said:” We recognise the work Bill Smith and his team of volunteers have done, but he has broken the agreement we had with him, both legally and morally.
“For him and his colleagues to threaten to take apart this British icon and remove ‘his parts’ is reprehensible and cannot be allowed to happen as it would destroy the original fabric of this historic record breaker.”
He added: “We want K7 to return to Coniston and ideally for her to run on occasion. That has been our stated ideal for some time, but at every turn, Bill Smith has tried to retain control over the Museum’s property and thwart our aims and that of thousands of enthusiasts, who just want to see the boat in Coniston and on the lake where Donald carried out his famous speed runs and record breaking.
“Bill Smith has been judicious with his reporting of the facts, especially when it concerns our plans. When Mr Smith offered to restore the boat to operable condition at no cost to the Museum in 2006, there was never any mention or implication that title to any of the restored boat would be with Mr Smith, or the Bluebird project Ltd., which incidentally was only formed in 2012.
“The Museum has decided to issue this statement and provide the media with a timeline of events for transparency.”
He added: “We hope that common sense will prevail and that Bluebird K7 will be housed in the wing of the Museum especially constructed for her, and in one piece. However, if this doesn’t happen, then court proceedings will be issued, and it will then mean that Bluebird K7 will be taken apart and Mr Smith and the Bluebird Project will retain the parts they claim as their own property. We reiterate this is the very last resort, but we need to bring this situation to a close.
“If Bluebird K7 is disassembled then we will re-build her so she can be displayed and run again. Plans are in place if we have to take this course of action.”
Gina Campbell, Donald Campbell’s daughter speaking on behalf of the Campbell family said: “I am appalled at the way that Bill Smith has behaved. The family and the Museum trusted him to restore the boat so that it could be displayed in the museum but at every turn he has prevented this from happening.
“He has not kept to his side of the agreement and has misrepresented the wishes of the Campbell family, and the Museum.”
She added: “Enough is enough, I want my father’s boat in the wing that was designed to house it without further delay. Both I and the rest of the family gave Bluebird K7 to the Museum and we back them wholeheartedly in their efforts.
“Bill Smith has put a small Museum into a situation where they have had to obtain costly legal advice and consider potential legal action, simply because he cannot come to terms with the fact that it is not his boat.”
If the boat is to be taken apart I would like a world wide boycott of the Ruskin Museum to take place by the fans of Donald Campbell and Bluebird K7
Its nice to see that the trolls have seemingly blocked themselves on twitter.
All I see now is the educational (discussing the speedometer, the paint, the sponsons etc) and the entertaining (what are those teacakes?, lively discussion on likely lakes for running, latest visitor talk) and such like. It shows a dedicated bunch the BBP unskilled volounteers being honest, transparent and worthy of support.
I so much enjoy clicking all the LIKE icons in support of the lobster (and carers)
"Yes, I thought the comments about Name Calling was very ironic."
What's doubly ironic is that all we've done of late is set the record straight. A supposedly responsible charity and museum would have had you believe recently that the full extent of the 2013 agreement was a couple of emails between the curator and ourselves that she didn't even have the authority to send or that the meeting of 5th November might've gone somewhere but for our unpreparedness. That the 2013 agreement went right to the to of the same trustees who made our meeting a farce was to be firmly hushed up so if we correct things with appropriate evidence is that name calling? And if severely diluted half-truths are told about us in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public is that name calling? If so then we'll take that but at least ours is honest name calling.
"Interesting to note Jeff Carroll's comments about name calling etc. Could it be that they're out of pure frustration due to the museum's complete refusal to engage with the BBP and find a compromise that suits everyone?"
Interesting to note also that the snippet in question appears to be from the same interview as was conducted when the first press release went out. You know the one that outwardly said - with deep regret and much sorrow we're once again exercising our shocking sense of entitlement now the hard work is done whilst behind closed doors it said, give us the lot and leave with bugger-all despite what we promised you and, by the way, don't tell the public because they'll murder us. That press release, remember?
By the way that press release said there would be no further comment leaving the news media unable to tell both sides as they would wish. They quite rightly want a comment from both sides so hiding from reporters is very unprofessional.
Now I could have this all wrong and maybe Jeff does all his media appearances from his gaming chair via a fuzzy webcam but it was a fairly quiet news day and the Beeb were making something of it starting the day before. We were worth a Proper reporter and a cameraman so they'll have had a video journalist in Cumbria who would have wanted a nice shot down by the lake or by Campbell's grave or somewhere like that so that leaves but two possibilities.
Either the default position for talking to the media is the fuzzy webcam and gaming chair or that snippet came from the earlier interview and no one was made available for comment on the last occasion.
The point being that name calling is the term they use to describe criticism but when they go about their media relations in such a manner they're going to make themselves look stupid so they'll take criticism and that becomes name calling. Time to look closer to home.
"I thought I may have dreamt it, but I do remember a TV interview of a very happy Ms Campbell, who, after the first team trail runs on Bute, told everyone that a) only Bill could have achievd this and b) that she felt K7 was to young to rot in a museum."
The actual quote was 'she's too young to sit in a crusty old museum', which caused Coat-Tails to blow a fuse because he was busy courting the RM with a view to his future plans so he went crackers with Gina who then tried to retract it. First she said it was said in the heat of the moment and that everyone was very excited at the time and it came out wrong. That was a fair enough explanation and had it been left there it would have been written off as a reasonable enough mistake to make but it wasn't. She tried to go one better by next saying that it had been instantly retraced but the BBC, through some judicious editing had only aired the comment and not its retraction.
That was a step too far because anyone who has made a misstep on camera will tell you that either the question is asked another way so you get a chance to say it how you wanted to say it, it goes out with the retraction or it never sees the light of day. That's how it works, especially with the BBC. Then there's the fact that there's several other videos of the same interview
I thought I may have dreamt it, but I do remember a TV interview of a very happy Ms Campbell, who, after the first team trail runs on Bute, told everyone that a) only Bill could have achievd this and b) that she felt K7 was to young to rot in a museum.
I found at least the first part: Bluebird: The Afterlife - YouTube go to 9:20
Only if everyone involved (RM, CFHT,...) understands and respects this (again), there will be a solution. Otherwise things will stay in a deadlock forever - and remember: the BBP team is mostly younger than you.
Involving Bill and the BBP team into the life of K7 made the BBP a significant part of the history of K7. These people worked their butt off (for free!) to restore K7 and it took them longer than DC ever owned K7 or Leo Villa worked on her - keep this in mind. Noone, any I really mean noone, including DC if he'd be alive, has any legal and especially moral right to ask the BBP to return K7 - as is - or even worse - stripped down - and then pi** off.
I can only encourage the people behind the RM and the CFHT to ask themselves if they ever want to see K7 within their lifetime again. In case the answer is yes, then find an agreement with the BBP. There is no other solution than this.
The reporting seems fair enough.
Interesting to note Jeff Carroll's comments about name calling etc. Could it be that they're out of pure frustration due to the museum's complete refusal to engage with the BBP and find a compromise that suits everyone? Perhaps it would be more constructive for Mr. Carroll to get into his car and drive to the workshop one Saturday and actually talk with the team? The BBP have said they're interested in doing so numerous times in the past few years, so what is stopping him aside from personal pride?
As for Gina Campbell, she'd be best ignored and left out of it. She doesn't add any sort of value, and her continual promotion of the myth that DMC was an honourable, decent person is getting rather stale. Any respect I had for her was lost when she betrayed the BBP, who have done so much for her on a personal level, and even risked their lives doing so.
I thought it was quite fair too, depending on which perspective you hold. What I fail to understand is why on earth do Ruskin think that BBP will acquiesce to their demands, when its quite obvious to anyone sensible that there is a better solution for all concerned. It just needs some discussion.
By the way I was in the Lakes last week and went to visit The Ruskin Museum for the first time, I had expected it to be quite busy but to see how sleepy it was in high season astonished me. In the hour I was there, maybe 2 other families came in. However, to give it credit it is a small. well presented provincial museum focusing on the life and times of Coniston and John Ruskin. The Bluebird wing was interesting but hollow without the main event being there.
I may have this wrong but it didn't look like the sort of place that would be able to have or host a machine that needs regular maintenance and attention from anyone, without a massive increase in staffing levels and expense. Also the lake was pretty packed with all manner of watercraft and swimmers, and I can imagine it being very difficult if not impossible to 'secure' all access points onto the lake for some K7 running. For these reasons I don't think there is any will or intention for Ruskin to target getting K7 back for anything other than a static display which needs no extra staff - it's just too hard, or as my daughter says CBA!
Just watched the BBC piece, above. Seemed to be reasonably fair.....? All parties expressed their views, right or wrong. But - no indication of any willingness to negotiate, by the RM - or GC.
Just - Give It Back.
Could do better, IMO.
Tonight's BBC piece.
After that .... can you elaborate ? (I am smiling broadly)
What some people seem not to have realised is that in the 15 years or so we've been doing this boat thing we've put together a lot of skills and equipment and also become rather brave about the sort of tasks we'll take on. There's nothing we won't have a go at making or mending with the result that there's always some project or another bubbling away on the benches. We also go to the workshop to see our mates, it's our speakeasy, our club-house, if you like. We drink tea and talk rubbish in there. And we meet outside of the workshop too. We go diving, cycling, out for meals or to each other's houses so if there's some silliness going on with the boat it's no big deal. It means we get other things done instead. On Saturday we craned our spare engine cradle onto the top of the container where our fuel tank lives and removed a bush that had taken root and got a little too big for its boots and we did all this while drinking tea, having a laugh and flogging merch to passers by. It was a most enjoyable day.
Now autumn is on the way so the doors will be open less often and the inside jobs will take over and there's plenty of those! Zoe can drive now so if she can get over a bit more often we'll do some more Crusader and we have a couple of rally car projects going on.
We'll have a good catch up on our other jobs over the winter then, once we've done that and if there's no progress, we'll get back on the boat in the spring because there's still plenty to do - we'll finish the damn thing eventually. After that we have bigger space to move her into (bigger than the BB wing) and we'll do the display instead whilst keeping the big tin machine absolutely tip top for the next time she runs.
Looking back at the RM’s statement and the various replies on social media it reminded me of dealing with children when young. The conversation often went like this:
Child: “I want some ice-cream.”
Parent: “Well you haven’t eaten all your dinner so you can’t have any.”
Child: “But I want ice-cream.”
Parent: “You know you have to eat all your dinner before you are allowed ice-cream.”
Child: “But I want ice-cream.”
Parent: “No, you know you don’t get ice-cream until all your dinner is gone. If you’re too full for your dinner, there is no room for ice-cream. No arguments.”
Child lies on the floor and screams.
Now substitute dinner for contract and ice-cream for boat. It really is that simple!
I would suggest that running K7 (on Bute or wherever) would now be at the least, be.. provocative., shall we say. Its probably one thing which could prompt the RM to instruct Legal people. But - that might lead to a resolution of some sort, perhaps..
Other than that, its the Hudson Street Museum, I think....
Nothing will happen as RM truly believe they have put the ball into BBP’s court with their various letters and statements, and now a quiet stalemate will persist. RM will never formally instruct a dismantling, and BPP will not voluntarily start that, and probably can‘t use K7 without the co-owners permission. so how will this impasse be resolve?
Nothing so far but lawyers on stand by just in case. K7 is way down the list today. It's all B-cars here at the moment.
Just checking in, to find out if the sky has fallen in yet.....? After all, its 31st August today.....!!
"Thinking about the behaviour & positioning of the RM, made me look up 'Dog In A Manger' - I think its appropriate."
It's especially appropriate and we've said it before so how long do they plan to do that for because it's three years and counting.
We've asked them if they want to start dismantling the boat but they won't confirm and what all this 31st August thing is about is anyone's guess. At a glance it seems to be, if you don't hand us 20 years of work and leave empty handed by then we'll try to tell the world it was your idea to take it apart - as if anyone is going to buy that.
No, we'll keep on with the maintenance and catch up on our side projects - we have an exciting Gp-B rally car project going on that we'll show you in due course - and await confirmation, or not. Our stakeholders are aware and ready to join the fray if necessary and we can instruct lawyers and bring in the big guns at a moment's notice should we need to.
There also seems to be a bit of 'give it back' going on. Just to be clear, they've never had it. We found it in October 2000 (and don't believe all those tales about the locals knowing where it was, no one we met knew though some had a vague idea where the datum buoy had once been) with no intention of lifting it. That was Gina's idea when we almost lost a diver and she realised good people were risking (and very near losing on that occasion) their lives on her account because what we were doing was looking for her dad at her request. So we inherited about a ton of dripping scrap metal that lay about our workshop to the end of 2005 while twice we applied to the HLF for funding for the rebuild. Part of that plan was the HLF buying the wreck from the CFHT but that's another story. So, when that fell through, they binned it off quick as you like to the museum but it was still gathering dust in our workshop. Now it's a long way to being finished, though substantially dismantled after Bute and to this date most of the RM trustees have never clapped eyes on it. Certainly they haven't met the team or our families or made the tea in the workshop - a massive mark of disrespect so far as we are concerned.
Are we not worthy of a visit on a Saturday afternoon?
So when people say, give it back, what they really mean is, present it to them for the very first time despite their total lack of involvement over the years.
Yes - we can do that - soon as the ink is dry on the new contracts.
Thinking about the behaviour & positioning of the RM, made me look up 'Dog In A Manger' - I think its appropriate.
"There was a Dog lying in a manger who did not eat the grain, but who nevertheless prevented the Horse from being able to eat anything either."