Trustee Update – HOVERCRAFT MUSEUM TO REOPEN ON SATURDAY 25th JULY

As most will be aware, the Hovercraft Museum along with all other museums in the U.K. has been shut during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
During this period though, we have been busy with ongoing projects that we have been managing remotely to the Museum, utilizing the latest online technology for meetings, not only within our own team structure but also with outside organisations. This has meant that even though none of our volunteers have been able to attend the Museum for much of the closure period, nor been able to welcome the public on-site, the Museum has been able to sustain since March with no income.

The Government has announced that as from 4th July some leisure facilities and tourist attractions can open, provided they can do so safely.
This is great news, and we are excited at the prospect of being able to welcome the public and our volunteers back on site.
There will be much ongoing work in the meantime though, in order to ensure that the Hovercraft Museum will be a safe place for our volunteers and visitors alike and that we comply with all the Covid-19 regulations set out by the government.

Work has been underway for some weeks now, behind the scenes, updating policies and risk assessments, reviewing working practices and training procedures etc, the purchasing of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), sanitizing/cleaning products, signage, screens, safety barriers and much more.

A small but dedicated team of our volunteers has recently begun attending the Museum site in strictly controlled numbers and working independently, carrying out maintenance and cleaning, as well as starting to implement the necessary measures required for reopening.

The Trustees are extremely grateful for all the hard work that has been put in.
Special thanks must be given to Louise and Darren Jenkins and Ken Wheeler, for the very many hours all three have dedicated to the task of ensuring our Museum meets all the necessary requirements. Without all this work, we simply would not have been in a position to be able to reopen.

Our reopening date will be Saturday 25th July, but we will only reopen once we are absolutely satisfied that we are able to meet all the criteria, or in other words, that we are COVID-Secure.
As with all public spaces, there will be changes in and around the Museum’s grounds, its exhibits and in the display hangars. This will include a one-way system set up around the Museum, social distancing reminders and signage around the site, hand sanitizer points, regular cleaning of facilities and touchpoints, controls of numbers of people on-site at any time, contact details of all visitors taken (for Covid-19 contact tracing purposes), and other measures as required.

Our shop/cafe will not open in its usual form for now, although some refreshments will still be available for purchase.
We will be asking our customers to kindly adhere to all the guidelines on site. We will also ask for your patience if having to wait to be served by our staff or to use the toilet facilities etc.

We ask you to please, to not visit the Museum if you are suffering the symptoms of Covid-19, or have been in contact with someone with Covid-19.
Our commitment in return to our customers will be to provide not only our usual warm and friendly welcome, but also to provide an enjoyable and as safe as possible a visitor experience as we can.

Finally, following many enquiries from our friends and supporters with regard to future Hovercraft Museum events and hovercraft rides from the Daedalus slipway, we are in regular contact with cross Solent operator Hovertravel, planning future excursion dates, and we will ensure that as soon as any information is available, we will update our website and Facebook page accordingly with this information.

Hovercraft Rides Cancelled (14th Dec 19)

Unfortunately, due to adverse weather the Hovercraft rides planned for the 14th December 2019 are cancelled.  We will be open as normal 10 am til 4 pm.  Given the weather forecast, if the wind is too high we may be forced to close – we will put this on the website and Facebook.  We suggest if you are travelling far that you call us beforehand to avoid a wasted journey.

We are then closed until 15th February for winter works, with the exception of New Years Day when we will open from midday to 4 pm.

Special Offer: Hovercraft Ride & Museum Entry Combo Ticket

On the 26th and 27th of May 2019 you can visit The Hovercraft Museum and take a trip in a Hovercraft at a discounted rate!  For the price of only £20 for adults, and £10 for children you can take a 15 Minute Spin Around Lee-on-The-Solent Waters AND experience a Historic Hovercraft adventure exploring The Hovercraft Museum.

Rides will be occurring at 11:00, 11:30 & 14:00 on the 26th & 27th May.  Call Hovertravel on 01983 717700 to book these tickets in advance, or buy your tickets on the day*.

*Tickets are bought on the day on a first-come-first-serve basis so please plan ahead!

Opening Postponed by a Week

Please be aware that due to the recent adverse weather conditions key winter work could not be completed in time.  For this reason we have postponed our opening day by a week to the 23rd Feb 19 to account for this.  We hope to see you soon and apologise for any inconvenience.

Great news!

A BH7 Hovercraft exiting the sea onto a stone beach
In addition to being a unique museum in our own right, we are now unique for a different reason as we have just had our BH7 Hovercraft added to the national ships register alongside such famous vessels such as HMS Victory and The Mary Rose.

Did you know that we now have FOUR craft listed on the National Historic Ships’ Register – a feat we don’t believe has been achieved by any other museum in the UK!

The craft listed are:

  • SRN4 “The Princess Anne”
  • BH7
  • SRN5 “006”
  • SRN6 “Sea Hawk”

To make it even more special in 2019 both BH7 and The Princess Anne will be 50 years old. Why not celebrate by paying a visit and seeing once again these magnificent craft.

Santa is on his way!

Santa is adding to his already busy schedule this Christmas by making a very special visit to the Hovercraft Museum on Saturday 15th December.  Santa will be giving out gifts (and coal) free of charge between 10:00 and 12:00.

Normal entry prices apply and include a Santa visit and gift at no extra cost.  Santa’s time is limited and is on a “first come, first serve” basis so don’t miss out.  We hope to see you soon!

Watch us on Flog It!

Earlier last year Flog It! visited us at Lee on the Solent to shoot a segment for series 16 – with presenter Paul Martin even taking a ride on a hovercraft!  You can watch this episode live on BBC1 this Monday (3rd December 2018) at 16:30.  The episode will be available for 28 days after this broadcast on BBC iPlayer.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed filming it!

Support us by playing the Gosport Lottery

We have recently joined the Gosport Lottery which supports many local causes including ourselves.  Please consider supporting us and the local community with a small weekly, or one-time play, and have the chance to win a grand prize of £25,000, among other smaller prizes, in the process!

For every ticket sold in support of the Hovercraft Museum we directly get 40% of the ticket revenue with a further 20% going to the other charitable causes supported by The Gosport Lottery.  Furthermore, the chances of winning a prize is 1 in 50 for each ticket played in a week.  The Trust will use the proceeds raised to help preserve the Princess Anne which is the last surviving cross-channel hovercraft.  The proceeds will also aid in establishing a learning zone on “The Anne” to support the local community and provide a space to provide hovercraft related education.

To play follow this link or head to the Gosport Lottery website and search for “The Hovercraft Museum Trust”.  Your ticket will benefit The Hovercraft Museum Trust, the local community, and hopefully make you a winner!

Scrapping of “Margaret”

An official statement regarding the SRN4 Hovercraft at Lee-on-the-Solent:

“As many of you are aware by now ex-cross Channel Hovercraft, SRN4 “The Princess Margaret”, is currently being dismantled for recycling and cleared from the Daedalus Site in Lee-on-the-Solent.

The Hovercraft Museum has never owned or leased the craft despite her being on our doorstep since arriving in December 2000, nearly 18 years ago now!

In late 2016 we were able to work very closely with new owners of the craft, the Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England) to secure the lease of the identical sister craft, “The Princess Anne” and formally bring her into the collection, preserving her as fully accessible static exhibit for the Nation.

It is still expected for us to take formal ownership at the end of this lease period, as agreed.

Again, working closely with Homes England and their contractors, we have been able to save many components and artefacts from the “Margaret” and fully document the dismantling process.

These components are vital in helping to secure the long term future of the “Anne” and we are very grateful for their and everyone else’s support over the past couple of years.

Although we are sad to see “The Princess Margaret” go, we now move forward and plan to accelerate our restoration work on “The Princess Anne”, the largest commercial Hovercraft ever built and holder of two Guiness World records, over the coming months.

If you would like to get involved in our project, or any other aspects of the Museum (we have over 55 other Hovercraft in the collection as well!) please get in contact with us, we would love to hear from you.

Also, standby for exciting news regarding some of the surplus components recovered that you will be interested to hear about over the coming weeks”

The Hovercraft Museum Trust