Donald Campbell Bluebird and The Final Record Attempt

a book by Neil Sheppard

This is the full story of Donald Campbell's last courageous attempt to take the world water speed record beyond 300 mph. It illustrates the story of the last 7 months in the life of Britain's last true speed king.

The book will includes the background behind the attempt – Donald Campbell, driven by a desire to establish a high profile enterprise to boost his public perception, and with it, publicise his plans for a supersonic rocket car, to keep Britain at the forefront of engineering endeavour, as well as his desire to kick start his nascent Bluebird Marine boat business which he planned to launch to the world in early 1967.

Second Edition Front Cover

Due to the overwhelming success of the first edition of 'Donald Campbell, Bluebird And The Final Record Attempt', History Press have published a second -soft-back- edition which is now availabe in the shop. This soft-back version is essentially the same book as the first edition, with the same high quality production values and layout.

The second edition contains a number of text revisions and additions as well as more than 20 new and previously unseen illustrations. The cover price of the softback will be £20,00. You can now pre-order the softback rom our shop. Shipping will only commence once the book is officially published by the History Press.

In the beginning

It was in 1974 that I first heard of Donald Campbell. I was just 8 years old and remember the early spring Saturday as clearly as if it was yesterday. Returning home from a day out, we were driving along the shoreline of Ullswater, prompting mum and dad’s conversation to turn to a time when they had witnessed a man called Donald Campbell driving his jet propelled boat, Bluebird, out on the lake.

I had always been interested in things mechanical and therefore, as you can imagine, I was suddenly paying attention to their conversation. They told the story of how in the summer of 1955, they had spent many an evening alongside the shoreline of Ullswater, with hundreds of other people, witnessing Campbell’s high-speed trials in his jet-boat Bluebird as a precursor to breaking his first World Water Speed record in July that year at 202 mph.

About Bluebird K7

Bluebird K7Bluebird K7 was the world’s first all metal jet-powered hydroplane. Bluebird K7 was designed by the Norris Brothers Consulting Engineers to combine lightweight with unprecedented strength.  Its build comprised of a space-frame which was completed by Accles and Pollock and an unstressed aluminium skin which was completed by the boats main constructors, Salmesbury Engineering near Preston, Lancashire.

The Bluebird Project

K7 Lloyds Badge

‘Three hundred miles an hour on water, in your purpose built machine"

The decision to raise Bluebird, in March 2001 was taken by members of the Campbell Family Heritage Trust shortly after the wreck was located. Bluebird’s discovery demonstrated that the required technology had made it into the hands of amateur divers, and this, combined with her excellent state of preservation meant that she would inevitably come under threat from souvenir hunters.


Coniston's Ruskin Museum

Mr. Whoppit

Gina Campbell Donates Bluebird K7 to the Ruskin Museum in Coniston,

On Thursday 7th December 2006, Gina Campbell formally gifted Bluebird K7 to the Ruskin Museum. In agreement with the Campbell Heritage Trust and the museum, Bill Smith is to organize the restoration of the boat, which is now under way. Gina Campbell commented: "I've decided to secure the future of Bluebird for the people of Coniston, the Ruskin Museum and the people of the world"


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