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Author: Subject: Petition to return Donald Campbell's Bluebird to Coniston
Sam_68

posted on 6/5/19 at 03:29 PM Reply With Quote
Petition to return Donald Campbell's Bluebird to Coniston

Those with any interest will know that things have turned unpleasant between the company set up to restore Donald Campbell's Bluebird K7 on a self-funding basis, and the Ruskin Museum in Coniston, who legally own her.

In simple terms, Bluebird Project Limited, the company set up to restore her, are refusing to hand her back to the Ruskin Museum, unless the latter gives undertakings that BBP retains the rights to maintain and run her (pretty much whenever and wherever they see fit)... on the basis of a legal agreement that they (BBP) drafted back in 2013 but was never accepted or signed by the Ruskin.

All this would just be boring bickering between two parties, were it not for the fact that the guy who effectively controls BBP, in response to a formal claim by the Ruskin, is now threatening to break Bluebird up rather than to hand her over to her rightful owners.

Bill Smith from BBP has said:
"...it's correct that we'll dismantle K7 if necessary. If the museum repudiates the 2013 agreement (which they never signed up to!!) we'll just remove all our parts and give theirs back"


He has previously claimed that 90% of the recovered wreck, which was largely intact from the cockpit backwards, has been re-used in the restoration, so separating the restored and replaced work from original material would irrevocably destroy this hugely important part of our engineering and record-breaking heritage.

If you wish to see Bluebird return to Coniston and placed in the hands of a proper museum, who will display her to the public (both statically, in the museum, and on the lake - since despite what BBP would have you believe, they have also clearly stated a commitment to the latter), instead of being subjected to the whims of one man who sees her as his personal plaything, please sign the following petition:

link


[Edited on 6/5/19 by Sam_68]

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JSArmstrong

posted on 6/5/19 at 04:00 PM Reply With Quote
Signed and donated! Thanks for posting about this.
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myke pocock

posted on 6/5/19 at 04:48 PM Reply With Quote
Whatever the ins and outs, the guy has restored it to working conditions so surely must have some say in the issue. Sorry but not signing.
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Sam_68

posted on 6/5/19 at 05:05 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by myke pocock
Whatever the ins and outs, the guy has restored it to working conditions so surely must have some say in the issue. Sorry but not signing.

Why do you say that?

Genuine question, but if I were to take my crashed and rusty Jaguar E-type (for example) into a restoration shop, should they have an automatic claim to its part ownership as a result?

Should they be able to run it wherever and whenever they wish, from that day hence, whether or not I want them to?

And should they be in a position to scrap the restored vehicle if I don't submit to their demands?

The agreement was that BBP would restore the boat, by public subscription, on behalf of the Ruskin as her owners.

It is only in recent months that the have removed a statement to this effect on their website and started making their own claims of part ownership on the basis of the work they have done.

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steve m

posted on 6/5/19 at 06:14 PM Reply With Quote
Im with Mike p, on this, sorry !





Thats was probably spelt wrong, or had some grammer, that the "grammer police have to have a moan at




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Sam_68

posted on 6/5/19 at 06:39 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by steve m
Im with Mike p, on this, sorry !


Well, again, I'm genuinely interested to hear why?

Why should a restoration company (which is what the Bluebird Project Limited was set up to be - it's a company, a legal entity in its own right - Bill Smith is merely one of its three Directors) have any say in what happens to the item it has been commissioned to restore?

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Andybarbet

posted on 6/5/19 at 06:50 PM Reply With Quote
I was lucky enough to see her run a few times last year on Loch Fad in Bute. We saw Bluebird arrive on the ferry & watched her leave with the sound of bagpipes, cheers & applause, something my whole family will never forget.

It was an unbelievable experience. I was able to get very close to Bluebird, the whole team were incredibly hospitable & were happy to chat/answer questions.

As far as I understand it, they want Bluebird to travel the world to show her off. I think that's a great idea personally.

I won't be signing the petition but I hope both parties can eventually work things out with some sort of compromise.

It would be heart breaking to see her broken up or locked in a museum whilst she can still run so impressively.





Give a man a fish & it will feed him for a day, give him a fishing rod & you've saved a fish.

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Sam_68

posted on 6/5/19 at 07:07 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Andybarbet
It would be heart breaking to see her broken up or locked in a museum whilst she can still run so impressively.

There we certainly agree.

And as I said (despite what BBP propaganda would have you believe), the Ruskin has a stated commitment that they want to see her run on Coniston Water (it's even there for all to see on the home page of their website, alongside their own request for support with the legal fees).

Only one party is threatening to break her up, if he doesn't get his way... a threat that quite frankly beggars belief.

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jeffw

posted on 7/5/19 at 08:11 AM Reply With Quote
Who payed for the restoration and what does the Campbell's Daughter want? We have so many amazing engineering marvels sat in Museums, silent, that it would be a complete shame to add this to the list.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-45194976

According to this article it is co-owned by Ruskin and Bill Smith. Smith obviously has a better idea on how to run the boat while Ruskin need it for their Bluebird Wing museum. I fear once it is on display it will never run again.


[Edited on 7/5/19 by jeffw]

[Edited on 7/5/19 by jeffw]

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ianhurley20

posted on 7/5/19 at 08:22 AM Reply With Quote
I would love to see Bluebird used on the water and maintained to a suitable standard to do so. I don't want her to become a static exhibit either. I do hope a middle ground can be negotiated but I do not see this as anything other than blackmail and as such am totally against this bull in a manger tactic so I have signed the petition.





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Sam_68

posted on 7/5/19 at 08:34 AM Reply With Quote
It was paid for by public subscription, and donations of time and equipment - largely raised against a stated aim of returning the boat to Coniston (this was a headline on the homepage of BBP's website, until they removed it recently).

The only person who seriously thinks that Bill Smith co-owns the boat is Bill Smith.

It was formally gifted to the Ruskin, and the restoration has been on the basis of a contract drawn up in 2006.

Smith's claim on 'joint ownership' of the boat is based on a contract for its maintenance operation by BBP, drawn up by him in 2013 but never agreed or signed by the Ruskin. Nobody is quite sure why Smith thinks that unilaterally drawn-up contract that was never signed by the other party should carry any legal weight, but the consensus seems to be that he is hoping that the Ruskin will have neither the will nor the financial resources to fight him.

Gina wants to see the boat returned to Coniston. At the moment she also states that she wants to see it continue running (though in the past she has made a very clear statement that she didn't want it to run again, and she does have a habit of changing her mind according to which way the wind is blowing).

Return to Coniston and a continuation of running are far from mutually exclusive, however - the Ruskin has stated a commitment to see it run on Coniston, and says as much on the front page of their website.

I guess you need to balance the risk of that not happening, versus Smith's publicly stated threat that he will break the boat up, rather than hand it back to the Ruskin.

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jeffw

posted on 7/5/19 at 08:56 AM Reply With Quote
http://bluebirdproject.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=735&start=20
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Sam_68

posted on 7/5/19 at 09:21 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jeffw
http://bluebirdproject.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=735&start=20


In terms of the ownership issue, this is a more useful and current thread to read (Ernie Lazenby is an acknowledged and heavyweight Bluebird 'anorak', respected even by those on BBP's 'side':

http://bluebirdproject.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=740&start=10

You do need to be aware that the BBP forum is very heavily 'policed' in their favour - any topic that starts going against the party line is moderated, locked or removed by their 'communication officer', Mike Bull.

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DavidhMX5

posted on 7/5/19 at 06:59 PM Reply With Quote
Should have been returned to the rightful owner in 2001, where it lay for 34 years. JMPO
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britishtrident

posted on 7/5/19 at 08:03 PM Reply With Quote
No





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scimjim

posted on 9/5/19 at 08:52 AM Reply With Quote
It seems strange that BBP are basing their claims on a contract written in 2013 when in Feb 2016 this was posted on their blog here:

ďThe programme is as followsÖ

Rebuild the boat.
Run her on water, any water, in a series of proving trials.
Donate our work to the museum to be displayed forever in her home.

Thatís the deal and itís not negotiable.ď

Of course, none of us know the full story and every single thing thatís been said to bring us to this position but I can see why, after spending the best part of 20 years on a project, you would want to remain part of it. Itís just a pity the two parties canít agree on a way forward based on whatís best for the boat and the public that want to see it, without wasting much needed money on lawyers.

I donít agree with the crashed and rusty e-type example though Sam - more like:

If you owned a crashed and rusty one-off historically important car that you couldnít afford to repair, maintain or drive and someone said they bring it back to a useable condition, at no cost to you, so that you could display it in your museum - but they could take it for a spin a few times a year for you (bringing enduring and much needed publicity to your museum) - seems like a great deal to me?

I went to the national maritime museum for the first time in decades recently and despite being hugely impressed with the improvements, my lasting memory is the beautiful Miss Britain III hanging from the roof - and being torn between knowing that itís been saved for countless others to see - and saddened knowing that it will probably never run on the water again where it belongs.

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