The Ruskin Museum, Coniston, Cumbria

The Ruskin Museum

Telling the Story of Coniston Since 1901

Tel: 01539 441164

Opening Times and Find the Ruskin Museum

News and Events

DONALD CAMPBELL’S BLUEBIRD K7 TO RETURN TO CONISTON WATER, JULY 2019

13th November 2018

Bluebird K7, the iconic jet-powered hydroplane, is set to return to the Lake District and her spiritual home, Coniston Water, where Donald Campbell piloted her to four world water speed records, before his fatal attempt to break the 300mph barrier there, on 4 January 1967.

Bluebird was recovered from the lake bed in March 2001 by Bill Smith and his team, who have since painstakingly and comprehensively restored her, over the course of the past 17 years, to the exact appearance and operable condition that she was in on the morning of the crash.

Following crew training on the Isle of Bute in August 2018, she will now be ready for Proving Trials on Coniston Water. These trials are scheduled for 19-28 July 2019, and it is anticipated that the relaunch of Bluebird K7, where she made history, will attract huge interest from around the globe, bringing many visitors to Coniston, where a festival of events is planned, with Bluebird K7 as its centrepiece.

Following these trials and decommissioning, Bluebird K7 will be ready to go into the purpose-built Bluebird Wing of the Ruskin Museum, in the heart of the village where Donald Campbell is buried and where this beautiful, historic craft can be admired at close quarters.

Anthony (“Robbie”) Robinson MBE, Bluebird K7 Team Member, Coniston Water 1966/7, and Chairman of the Bluebird Event Working Group, commented:
 “The restored Bluebird K7 will be an inspirational exhibit to all who view her in the Ruskin Museum; especially the younger members of our society, who can learn from, and be inspired by, both the craft’s marvellous historic achievements and the bravery of her iconic pilot Donald Campbell, who drove her. And the engineering skills of the team who have restored her.”


Statement by the Bluebird Event Working Group

27th August 2018

We wholeheartedly congratulate Bill Smith and the Bluebird K7 project team on the huge success of Bluebird K7’s tests on Loch Fad. This is a shining example of the continuing greatness of British engineering.

We fully understand the decision for Bluebird K7 to have its initial trials on Loch Fad for floatation trials and crew training to be tested in a controlled environment.

In 2006 the Ruskin Museum was gifted the recovered Bluebird K7 and built an extension specifically to house the hydroplane which was opened in 2008 at a cost of £700,000.

Coniston is ready for the return of Bluebird K7 now it is once again a living breathing machine. We're passionate about seeing Bluebird K7’s return to Coniston to be seen up close in the museum and on Coniston Water so she can be enjoyed by all those who visit the area. In 2010 the Coniston Water Byelaws were amended so that trials and demonstration runs can take place – and we look forward to confirming dates with Bill and the Bluebird project team so these trials and demonstration runs can commence.

We're delighted that there is so much interest in Bluebird K7 from home and abroad and look forward to welcoming everyone to Coniston.

Donald Campbell frequently stated that the he and his boat should remain together. The Record Breaker was buried in Coniston’s cemetery on 12 September 2001, and his grave is a place of pilgrimage for people the world over.

About the Bluebird Event Working Group

Founded in 2016 and based in Coniston, the Bluebird Event Working Group includes members of Coniston Parish Council, Coniston Business Forum, Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), The Ruskin Museum and representatives from the community.


New Donald Campbell Learning Resource

A new downloadable learning resource for schools; "Donald Campbell: A Coniston Hero" aimed at KS1 & KS2, but also useful for KS3 & KS4 has been added to our Who Was Donald Campbell? page.


A Lego Bluebird K7!

A fabulous Lego Bluebird K7 made by Ben, aged 11, over the weekend following a family visit to The Ruskin Museum on 7th April 2016 has also been added to our Who Was Donald Campbell? page.


Cultural Guides Added to Education Page

Four brand new Cumbrian cultural guides have just been added to our Education Page:


Thank You For Your Positive Feedback

The Ruskin Museum has been awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for attractions that consistently achieve outstanding visitor feedback with an average of 4.5 out of 5. So thank you everyone who has left us positive feedback, it is very much appreciated.

The Ruskin Museum is also proud to have recieved the Britain's Finest Quality Stamp for top visitor attractions.