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Boost for Coniston with iconic Bluebird set to return and draw in visitors

Written by on 12/02/2024

One of the Lake District’s leading businesses has welcomed news that the iconic Bluebird hydroplane is to return to its spiritual home and go on permanent display in the Lake District village of Coniston.

Phil Johnston, founder and owner of the Coppermines Lakes Cottages holiday accommodation company in Coniston, says: “This is absolutely fantastic news for all the team behind the campaign to bring Bluebird home – but also for Coniston village as a whole.

“It’s great to know that Bluebird will finally have a home where it belongs among the people of Coniston – and that people from across the country and around the world will be able to come here and see it again.”

Bluebird, piloted by Donald Campbell, set several world water speed records before crashing on Coniston Water in January 1967. The boat lay hidden on the bottom of Coniston Water for 34 years, until it was found and recovered by North Shields based engineer and diver Bill Smith in 2001.

Five years later the family of Donald Campbell gifted Bluebird to the John Ruskin Museum at Coniston, which built an £800,000 wing to house it. But a long running row has prevented its return until now.

On February 9 the Museum issued a statement which says: “Bluebird K7 will return to Coniston in the coming weeks to be conserved and displayed in her forever home in the Bluebird Wing of The Ruskin Museum. We will issue further details of this exciting development when we have established a timetable for moving the boat to Coniston and installing her for display.”

Phil Johnston says:” This is a great moment for Coniston and we cannot wait to see Bluebird back in the village.

“Many people in Coniston, including us, have helped raise money to fund legal action to try and resolve the situation and get Bluebird back. We feel she has been saved for the people of Coniston and for the nation.”

It’s hoped the craft’s return in coming weeks will lead to a boost in visitors to Coniston from across the country and around the world.

“The story of Bluebird and Donald Campbell has always generated such a lot of interest and has struck a chord with so many people,” explains Phil.

Donald Campbell is buried in the village and every year in January we have a ceremony to celebrate his life which always attracts people from all over.

“I have no doubt many people will want to head to Coniston in the coming weeks to see Bluebird back in her spiritual home at the Museum.”

In its statement The Ruskin Museum says: “We will issue further details of this exciting development when we have established a timetable for moving the boat to Coniston and installing her for display.”

The museum offers a year’s membership with free admission to people who add Gift Aid to their initial admission charge – so they could make regular return visits to see Bluebird in its purpose built home.

The Coppermines Lakes Cottages company has over 90 holiday cottages in the Coniston and wider Lake District area. For more information about staying in the area go to www.coppermines.co.uk/