The Princess Anne is Officially Recognised as a Historic Vessel

We are very excited to announce that “The Princess Anne” is now on the National Historic Ships Register!

Many thanks indeed go to all at National Historic Ships UK for their help in this important process of recognising the historic significance of the largest commercial hovercraft ever built and, of course, many thanks to our volunteers who work tirelessly to preserve not only this craft but also another 55 in the collection.

Follow the progress of “Anne” on our sister Facebook page, SRN4 Restoration and check out the other vessels on the registers at www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk

You can come and visit The Princess Anne and climb aboard any Saturday between 10am and 4pm.

An SR.N4 Hovercraft at sea leaving Dover

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

Museum Closure – Poor Weather

Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions forecast for this weekend, we have taken the difficult decision to remain closed for this weekend (Saturday 3rd March).  This is due to concerns about the safety of our guests and volunteers as the ground is slippery underfoot and we are not able to adequately treat the surface to remove ice.  We expect to be opening on our regular schedule by Saturday 10th March.  We apologise for any inconvenience caused and we hope to see you soon!

Museum Update

After the first Trustees’ meeting of 2018 we felt that a general museum update would be a great way to start off the year.   We have made some great strides over the last year both, as a visitor attraction and as an organisation.  We have been able to offer fantastically researched and presented tours,  improved facilities to our guests in the form of a renovated cafe/shop area, and we have been able to add new exhibits to our collection with a few more to follow this year.  Our membership and volunteer numbers have grown in the last year and we are thankful for all the hard work they have put in already!

For this coming year we have invested in our toilet facilities by adding disabled facilities (which are almost complete), upgrading our toilet area, creating new baby changing facilities, and further updating our shop with new products.  Coming out of our winter period closure, our financial position is as we predicted – stable and we are ready to build up our finances as the new season moves on to allow us to further invest in the museum.  As with many volunteer-run museums, the majority of our funding comes from visitor entry fees and goodwill donations.  With this in mind we remain in the black and, in contrast to previous years, have not needed to liquidate any museum assets to meet the museum’s liabilities as has been necessitated in previous years.

Our 2015-16 accounts have now been finalised and are now with the Charities Commission.  Unfortunately, due to questions with the accounts that required attention, our accountant was unable to complete the accounts until these particular issues were explained.  As the current trustees were not in office during this period it was more difficult to promptly resolve these issues.  These have now been submitted and viewable online on the Charity Commission’s website, although, due to a clerical error with the submission, our accounts have been incorrectly marked as “qualified”.  This is reflected in our Accountant’s statement in our submission which gives us a good bill of financial health.  In addition, the values showed on the main summary page for the Hovercraft Museum Trust show that our income and outgoings match exactly which is not accurate.  This is due to the full credit and debit line totals being shown for the 2015-16 period on the summary page, whereas, it should be showing the same values less our starting and ending cash balances.  Both these clerical errors are in the process of being corrected by the Charity Commission.  Keep an eye on the Charity Commission’s website for our 2016-17 accounts which are to be submitted on time shortly.

Visitors and members regularly ask about “The Princess Anne”, but if you are not in the know you would be forgiven for thinking they were asking about one of the Royal Family!  In fact, they are talking about our largest and most famous exhibit – one of two remaining SRN4 cross-Channel hovercraft that served for over 30 years in the English Channel taking over 400 people and 60 cars at a time.  Our restoration work is ongoing, mainly thanks to our SRN4 fund that has been greatly supported by the local community and people from all around the world.  In the past year, we have introduced various sound effects on the craft and opened up new areas such as the lift fan bays and toilets safely by securing them with Perspex.  We also had to invest in the electrical system onboard to allow adequate power for essential lighting and power tools to aid restoration.  To date, we have raised £8005, which has been well spent, chiefly on putting on new propellers from a donor craft, roof repairs, electrical work and painting.  The craft is 49 years old in 2018 and we want to ensure she remains in good condition for future generations to enjoy.  For the coming year, we will be completing a full repaint in Seaspeed livery, going back to metal where required to fix points of corrosion and working on a more permanent solution for the leaking roof which will ensure that interior components do not deteriorate any further.

The museum has been on its current site for around 20 years but has never enjoyed security of tenure.  This has been the main reason why major funding has never been achieved.  Due to the hard work from the last two years since we opened to the public on a weekly basis, we have had a great number of happy visitors which is getting us noticed.  Behind the scenes, much work is being done to ensure the future of the museum on its current site.  A “2020 Vision” booklet has been created and contains our aspirations for the near future and we have been sharing these concepts with interested parties.  The official word from Gosport Borough Council is that the museum’s future is secure and we will keep you updated as best we can.

After many years of opening a few days a year for summer events, the museum is now able to open every Saturday (and Wednesday in the school holiday periods) with only volunteer support.  We have built up a partnership with Hovertravel and some 30 special events are planned at the museum during 2018, including hovercraft pleasure trips from the “Lee” slipway and other hovercraft tours and excursions within the Solent.  We have positive discussions taking place with hovercraft manufacturers to promote hovercraft to a wider audience and multiple TV crews completing productions ready for broadcast this year featuring the Hovercraft Museum.

We would like to thank our small, but dedicated, team of volunteers who work tirelessly.  The trustees want to place on record the enormous appreciation for the work they do and the time they give up.  Finally, we would like to further extend our appreciation to all our supporters from around the world – the buzz and interest in this museum has been extremely valuable to the museum and the wider hovercraft sector.

Closed 20th January 2017

Regrettably, we are closed this weekend (20th January 2017) due to high winds causing damage to our roof.  Our apologies to anyone that may have been planning on coming this weekend and we hope you will be able to visit us next weekend instead.

Hovercraft Rides!

Missed out on a chance of a Hovercraft ride at our Show in September? Then come and visit us on Saturday 21st October and have a pleasure flight around the Solent in association with Hovertravel

Also, you can travel to us directly from Portsmouth or Ryde with Hovertravel or maybe you are on the mainland and fancy a day trip to the lovely Isle of Wight?

Pleasure Trip Prices are : Adult £15, Child £6 and under 5s FREE

Either pay on the day or you can pre-book with Hovertravel and find prices for the crossings directly to and from Ryde https://www.hovertravel.co.uk/Hover-Museum/index.php

Weather Dependant, the schedule is:

  • 10:30 Depart Ryde
  • 11:00 Onwards – Pleasure Trips from Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 12:00 Depart Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 12:15 Arrive Ryde
  • 14:00 Depart Ryde
  • 14:30 Onwards – Pleasure Trips from Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 15:40 Depart Lee-on-the-Solent
  • 15:55 Arrive Ryde

Still can’t make this date? Then stay tuned to our website for more dates coming soon!

Hovershow 2017

Don’t forget about the Hovershow this weekend (16th & 17th Sep).  We will be offering 15 minute rides on the Hovertravel craft normally used between the Isle of Wight and the mainland!

If that wasn’t enough, we will be open all weekend with 40+ hovercraft to view and climb in, model hovercraft, racing craft, hot food, kids activities, candy floss, face painting, tombola and much more!

It will be a brilliant family day out so come down and see what the world of Hovercraft is all about!

Plenty of parking is available in the compound next to our entrance (opposite the slipway).  Go to our Visit Us page for more travel information!

 

Proudly supporting the Merchant Navy

A red Merchant Navy flag with the Union Jack is flying at the Hovercraft Museum on a flag pole at the seafront.September 3rd every year marks Merchant Navy Day, celebrating this often forgotten service. Many of our members either serve or have served in the MN and this year The Hovercraft Museum is pleased to be supporting charity Seafarers UK by flying a Red Ensign, joining over 600 other institutions around the UK. More information can be found here at http://www.seafarers.uk/campaigning/merchant-navy-day/

A call for tour guides

We are looking for volunteers, young and old, who would like to be trained as Guides at the museum. We will provide full training, support and the opportunity to join a friendly developing team of enthusiastic volunteers.

We are looking for people who:

  • Enjoy interacting with the public
  • Are willing to learn
  • Have an interest in hovercraft
  • Are prepared to give up time mainly on Saturdays

If you want to find out more please use the contact form on the contact page or speak to Jim Gray at the museum.