The iconic Bluebird K7 hydroplane is inching closer to its long-awaited return to Coniston Lake, the scene of its legendary water speed records decades ago. A key piece of the restoration puzzle has fallen into place with the donation of a Bristol Siddeley Orpheus jet engine to the Ruskin Museum’s Bluebird exhibit.
This Orpheus engine, originally used in a Folland Gnat jet aircraft, will provide the power needed for Donald Campbell’s famed Bluebird K7 to once again ride the waters of Coniston. There is immense historical significance in this location, as Campbell set both the water speed world record and later tragically died there in 1967 during a record attempt.
The restored Bluebird aims to pay tribute to her father’s memory and reignite the Campbell family’s link with Coniston. Donated by French company Global Hardware, the jet engine is the perfect fit for bringing the Bluebird back to life.
Tracy Hodgson of the Ruskin Museum expressed gratitude for this generous donation, calling it the final piece to unleash Bluebird’s potential. The Orpheus engine will allow it to thunder across Coniston Water as it did in its heyday, when Donald Campbell continuously broke the water speed record throughout the 1950s and 60s.
The return to Coniston will complete Bluebird’s incredible story, from record-breaker to recovered wreck to fully restored icon.