The Design and Engineering Society: Mr Neil Sheppard

Wednesday, 21st November 2012

The Design and Engineering Society was very fortunate to welcome Mr Neil Sheppard for its first talk of the year. Mr Sheppard, having been a Donald Campbell fanatic since he was a 10 year old, is now one of the very few experts on his life and particularly his unsuccessful last attempt at setting a world water speed record. Mr Sheppard started his talk by explaining about Donald Campbell's life and previous career-he is uniquely well placed to do this, owning a vast collection of photos of Donald and his father Malcolm Campbell (also a world speed record holder) and also the boat which Campbell first used in his record attempts. Mr Sheppard narrated in great detail the history of the K-7 boat that Campbell used, analysing how it stayed on its plane and then explaining how its eventual failure was due to a combination of problems with the vessel itself and, more fundamentally, a lack of funding and sponsorship as funds flowed to more exciting technologies. It was a thoroughly interesting talk about the boat, the man and the history of both, which hopefully will have sparked an interest in the topic for many in the audience.

Seb Lawson (PJMcK)