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Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird takes to Bewl Water

Crowds gathered today as Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird K3 hydroplane powerboat took to the water. 

The record-setting craft was put through its paces at Bewl Water reservoir in Lamberhurst. 

In the 1930s, Sir Malcolm set three world water-speed records in the 23-foot long vehicle, two at Lake Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian border in September 1937, and the third at Lake Hallwyl in Switzerland in August 1938, where he reached 130.91mph.

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Karl Foulkes-Halbard in the world-record breaking craft Bluebird K3, once owned by Sir Malcolm Campbell
Karl Foulkes-Halbard in the world-record breaking craft Bluebird K3, once owned by Sir Malcolm Campbell

Sir Malcolm had already achieved global fame by setting the land speed record of 301mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1935, before turning his attention to water speeds.

Bluebird K3 is currently part of the Foulkes Halbard Collection housed at Filching Manor Motor Museum near Eastbourne, where it underwent an extensive restoration ahead of the run at Bewl.

The Bluebird before take off
The Bluebird before take off
Crowds gather to watch the Bluebird
Crowds gather to watch the Bluebird

Bluebird K3 was built by Saunders Roe on the Isle of Wight.

It was acquired by the Foulkes Halbard family in 1988, but the wooden hull and decking of the boat were in very poor condition.

Karl Foulkes Halbard has spent nearly 27 years restoring the vehicle.

Sir Malcolm, who was born in Chislehurst, died of a stroke in 1948 aged 63.

The Bluebird takes to the water.
The Bluebird takes to the water.

His son, Donald Campbell, continued in his father’s footsteps, setting many more land and water speed records, but was killed while piloting Bluebird K7 in an attempt to break 300mph at Coniston Water.

The craft somersaulted and sank.

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