Material related to Donald Campbell and the Bluebird car and hydroplane

Villa, Leo

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The collection comprises 8 series arranged in 3 boxes.

Series 1 comprises 1 album of photographs and newspaper clippings (1949-1950) relating to initial attempts to break the water speed world record at Coniston, with annotations by Villa.

Series 2 comprises 1 album entitled ‘Blackbird. Ullswater 1955. Speed 202.32 mph’ with a written dedication to ‘Tim Villa’ from Donald Campbell, containing photographs of the successful water speed world record attempt in 1955.

Series 3 comprises 1 album inscribed ‘Ullswater 1955’ containing photographs (1952-1955) relating to the construction, testing and successful record attempt of the ‘Bluebird’ turbo-jet hydroplane, with annotations by Villa.

Series 4 comprises 2 sub series. 4/1 is a certificate of British Registry (1955) for the Bluebird turbo-jet hydroplane. 4/2 is an Australian Department of Supply Report (1964) of a radiological examination of the ‘Bluebird’ hydroplane.

Series 5 comprises 1 album inscribed ‘1955-56. Lake Mead Nevada – Coniston’ containing photographs (1955-1956) relating to the water speed world record attempts at Lake Mead in Nevada, USA, and at Coniston Water, as well as Campbell’s appearance on ‘This is Your Life’ and receiving his CBE at Buckingham Palace.

Series 6 comprises 1 album of photographs and a plan (1956-1960) relating to the Bluebird car and hydroplane, including its planning, testing and publicity, the 1960 Utah land speed record attempt and successful attempts at the water speed world record in 1956, 1958 and 1959 on Coniston Water, together with a plan for the CN7 ‘Bluebird’ car.

Series 7 comprises 1 file of papers (1955-1967). Including letters and telegrams of congratulations, good luck messages, an invitation to act as a judge for awarding the National Trophy for greatest contribution to road safety for children, and a copy of the programme for Donald Campbell’s memorial service in February 1967.

Series 8 comprises 3 sub series. 8/1 consists of 6 photographs of Bristol Siddeley engines, 8/2 of 22 miscellaneous photographs of components, planning, construction and workshop interiors. Sub series 8/3 comprises 211 photographs in total (1958-1964), arranged in 5 folders, relating to the Bluebird car and Campbell’s land speed world record attempts at Utah and Lake Eyre, Australia, as well as its planning, construction, testing and publicity.


0.58 m (3 boxes)
The collection is available for public consultation according to the Science Museum Library and Archives Policy in our reading room at Wroughton.
System of Arrangement: