Great news! Hovershow 2017 dates are confirmed. Please see the poster below. We hope to see you there!
Great news! Hovershow 2017 dates are confirmed. Please see the poster below. We hope to see you there!
As you may have heard we now have a dedicated project manager for the SRN4 project. His name is Steve McGarry and he’s the go-to guy for all things SRN4 at the museum. Now that we have undergone a planning and evaluation process we are ready to propel the SRN4 restoration project forward. As part of this, we need as many hands as we can muster. If you have an interest in becoming a volunteer helping on this project (or just helping at the museum in any capacity) please visit our website at www.hovercraft-museum.org/volunteer for more information on how to get involved! If you have any questions please feel free to contact us through the website “Contact Us” page or enquiries@hovercraft-museum. org.
To give you a flavour for some of the more pressing tasks here is a representative sample:
We hope to see you at the museum soon!
A successful day of filming at the museum has concluded today after a production crew visited the Hovercraft Museum today to film for The BBC’s Flog It programme. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for filming, albeit a tad on the cold side. We even got the presenter Paul Martin out on a hovercraft. He really enjoyed the flight and said if he lived near the coast he might buy one.
We definitely did attract some attention at the slipway with both hovercraft, AND TV cameras – it’s always great to see people taking an interest in such a unique mode of transport.
The episode of Flog It featuring the museum will be released in the new year and we’ll put out an announcement nearer the time when we know the air date so you can watch at home!
After an eventful 30 years with the Hovercraft Museum, our longest running trustee, Warwick Jacobs, has decided to step back from his role as trustee. After devoting such a long period to the museum to make it what it is today he has decided that now is a perfect time to pass the torch on. While still being involved with the museum, hopefully for another 30+ years, he aims to take some time to focus on his art career (see some of his art here) and fulfilling his dream to relocate to France with his partner.
Many people know Warwick “as the museum”, which is no small part down to his exceptional job as a PR/Spokesman, representing us in the local community, news articles and reports, numerous hovercraft productions and even national television! However, this is only the public side of what Warwick has done.
Back in 1986, along with members of the Hovercraft Society Council, a subcommittee was set up to investigate the creation of a designated hovercraft museum. In 1987 Charitable status was applied for, and granted in 1988. Twenty-five trustees and six landlords later, the Museum now has a large site with an SRN4, BH7, and many other important craft. In the last year, the museum has been able to open all year round, welcoming over 5000 visitors from all around the world, including people from Germany, France, America, Canada, The Netherlands, and Belgium! With this brilliant surge of interest in Hovercraft, the museum membership has grown vastly with a fresh influx of eager volunteers that work hard every weekend to restore and maintain a growing collection of craft.
Warwick has overseen some truly great museum achievements over the years, such as seeing Sir Christopher Cockerell take control of a hovercraft on his 80th birthday flypast, receiving a Transport Trust Award for the restoration of our SRN5, winning our hangars listed status and even bringing, not one, not two, but three SRN4 craft onto the site over the last few years! The campaign to save The Princess Anne was an extremely successful one, collecting over 22,000 signatures and successfully stopping the scrap men from destroying a unique piece of British engineering heritage.
Here are a few words from Warwick:
“It is always so rewarding to see the museum getting stronger and the enthusiasm and team of the volunteers in what is become a world class one off museum for hovers.”
“I wouldn’t be stepping down now if it weren’t for the healthy position we are in with great new talent in trustees to see us on into the 21st century! I certainly have not abandoned the cause and my heart and best wishes remain with the group!”
We hope you will join us in giving Warwick a massive thank you for his service and congratulating him on his achievements!
The Museum Trustees
Louise Jenkins, Alex Wheeler, Steve Henderson, Rob Hiseman, Doug Coulson
The Hovercraft Museum Trust is currently looking to recruit for two roles: Operations Manager and SR.N4 Project Manager. If any of these roles seem interesting then please visit our vacancies page. Anyone is welcome to apply, and knowledge of Hovercraft is not a necessity! Both positions will be closing for applications on the 31st October 2016. Good luck to all applying!
Hovershow 2016 is officially open! Due to the weather we’ve had to cancel the ride elements of the show, but the SRN4 IS OPEN. We’re not going to let a bit of weather ruin our fun!
SRN4 “The Princess Anne” saved for the Nation!
The Hovercraft Museum Trust is delighted to announce that they have been successful in securing the future of SRN4 “The Princess Anne”.
We are also absolutely delighted to announce we will partially open the craft to the public at the Hovershow next weekend!!!
We have worked very closely with our landlord, the Homes & Communities Agency to land an initial three-year lease (at peppercorn rent) with the intention of the HCA to hand the craft over completely to the Trust at the end of the 3 years.
This time, period allows us to fulfil obligations in making the craft safe and of smart appearance.
We would like to thank the team at HCA, the 23,000 signatories to our petition and the support of the Museum’s local MP Caroline Dineage. There has been an awful lot of work going on behind the scenes.
Special thanks also go to our hardworking team of volunteers and trustees who have managed the campaign and we would also like to thank Cliff Valize-Jones for setting up the Save the SRN4 Facebook group which massively raised our profile.
The real work starts now, though – volunteers to undertake work on her please get in touch!
Wednesday this week we will drop the bow ramp to allow access for volunteers to prep part of the craft for public access but we have a huge job list to do before the craft is fully open and accessible.
Also, share and support our fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/srn4hovercraft
Many thanks again for all your help and support.
On Behalf of The Hovercraft Museum Trust
Built in 1969, “The Princess Anne” was the second of six giant hovercraft built in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. She operated as a ferry and after being stretched in 1978 she, along with sister craft “The Princess Margaret”, became the world’s largest commercial hovercraft operating between Dover, UK and Calais in France. They were soon nick-named the “Super 4’s”. Capable of carrying 427 passengers and up to 60 cars her service speed was 65 Knots (approximately 75mph).
An average journey would take 30 minutes and she could handle sea conditions of up to 3.5m significant wave height and mean winds of 50 knots. “The Princess Anne” to this day still holds the Guinness Record as the world’s fastest ferry with a crossing time of just 22 minutes in 1997!
After 33 years of service both surviving craft were retired and moved here to Lee-on-the-Solent for storage pending onward sale. In 2005 a private buyer came forward and purchased the craft mainly for engine spares and they have sat here ever since. Despite having permission in the past to occasionally open them to the public, the Museum has been unable to carry out any preventative maintenance work to either craft and has up until this point been helpless.
Finally, in early 2016, ownership transferred to the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) who are the owners of the Daedalus site. When this happened, thee future for these two giants was uncertain and the Hovercraft Museum launched a high profile campaign to save one of the craft from scrap. Over 22,000 people signed the petition – they, like us, felt that a truly wonderful and unique piece of British maritime heritage was about to be lost forever.
We are still in negotiations with the HCA which will hopefully lead to an initial 3-year lease for the Hovercraft Museum in which time we have to stabilise the structure and make the craft presentable. After this period, it would be the intention of the HCA to hand over ownership to the Museum.
Why Are We Only Saving One Craft?
The decision was taken very early on by the trust to focus on saving one of the two craft. We have over 65 other hovercraft in the collection and we are a relatively small group of dedicated volunteers and enthusiasts. We receive no funding at all as we lease the site the Museum is based on and we are completely independent.
We rely on donations and money received through the ticket office. At 54 x 27m the SRN4 is enormous and to look after two of these machines is beyond our limited budget. We also have to consider the bigger picture and fit in with the redevelopment of the Daedalus site which is primarily happening to create new jobs.
After surveying both craft it soon became apparent the craft in the best structural condition is “The Princess Anne” and she will give us the best basis for a long term exhibit here.
What is Our Plan for the Craft?
“The Princess Anne” will become our flagship exhibit here at the Hovercraft Museum. She will be used to tell the story of how in the white-heat of technology development in the 1960’s, and less than 10 years since the first hovercraft was built, Britain built the Concorde of the Sea.
As much as we would love to see her back on the water, modern regulations make restoring the craft to a seaworthy and Coast Guard compliant state prohibitively expensive (let alone maintenance and operating costs!) We also have other craft we would like to put back to work on the water that will be more practical for regular pleasure rides in the near future.
We will stabilise the structure, seal the roof, re-instate the world’s largest diameter propellers and re-paint her into her glorious red, white and blue livery from 1978. The vast car deck will be used as additional exhibition space and will be available for private function hire as well. One side cabin will be kept in original specification, ‘as in service’ whilst the other will be re-configured in order to help us tell the SRN4 story with displays and videos. All this work will need many hands as well as kind donations from the public!
If you would like to help us on this project (no practical experience necessary), whether it be cleaning, painting, electrical, woodwork or metalwork, please speak to any of our volunteers here today or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org