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/
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.
Great news! Hovershow 2017 dates are confirmed. Please see the poster below. We hope to see you there!
What a busy month since the last update! One of the major operations from our list has been completed and a number of other cosmetic jobs have been carried out, all helping to make ‘Anne’ as I keep saying, “look like a hovercraft again”
All four propellers now sit proudly atop their pylons, with all of the cowlings/covers in place. This was a major undertaking due to all of the necessary heavy lifting equipment, health and safety considerations and weather ( of course it was windy when we opted to do it!) Huge thanks to all of our kind volunteers who helped with this task and our neighbour, MRB Transport for assisting with the Crane. ( look out for a short film of this – coming soon)
Our midweek volunteer team have replaced the hinges and refitted both forward emergency exit doors, with the fresh paint showing how good the craft will look.
Finally, the Radars have been replaced on top of the cockpit after being refinished and a large, unsightly and redundant power cable has been removed.
Next, we are preparing for the polishing of the Makrolon Bow windows that have gone hazy over time and the first stage of the painting by building safe work towers to access the fore decks that must be replaced beforehand.
For all you Hovercraft enthusiasts! Our new book is landing soon, and you have the chance to reserve your copy for a limited time only! It’s a brilliantly produced book, authored by our very own Jim Gray! Up till the release date on 14th May we will offer a £5 discount, leaving only £9.99 to pay. If you are interested please take a look at www.hovercraft-museum.org/reserve-the-hovercraft-book to secure your copy. Copies are flying off the shelves so don’t miss the chance to secure yours!
THE HOVERCRAFT: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE WORLD’S ONLY HOVERCRAFT MUSEUM
by Jim Gray
£14.99 £9.99 (Pre-order Price)
Lee-on-the-Solent is synonymous with planes and seaplanes, but it is also the home of another, slightly more unusual form of transport – the hovercraft.
After the first cross-channel crossing by a hovercraft in 1959, there was a revolution in design and development. Within a decade, the mighty SRN4, capable of carrying 400 passengers and sixty cars across the English Channel in less than forty minutes, had arrived. As the commercial hovercraft thrived, the military also continued to innovate; the British Interservice Hovercraft (Trials) Unit (IHTU) being established in 1961.
Utilising the archive of the world’s only hovercraft museum, based in Lee-on-the-Solent and boasting more than seventy historic craft, Jim Gray uses a wealth of rare images – many unpublished – to explore the importance and impact of the hovercraft, offering a fascinating glimpse into a vehicle that has captivated the imagination of the public for more than fifty years.
As the newly appointed Project Manager for the SR.N 4 Princess Anne, I would like to provide you all with the first of many updates on the various restoration activities.
After a short period of adjustment at the Museum over the winter (which included new trustees, volunteers and associated handovers) we can now start in earnest, our plans for the restoration of our largest exhibit, The Princess Anne.
As we move into springtime, the opportunity to begin our long list of works must be grabbed with both hands! Several activities have been highlighted as priorities with many less pressing jobs also identified.
At the top of the list is the need to make the rather fragile roof watertight and safe to walk on, which is no small feat given the large square metre area! A number of options have been considered for this, none of them cheap or quick to implement, so in the short term, individual repairs will continue to be carried out by our small engineering team.
Equally important is the impending transfer of the Propellers from her sister craft The Princess Margaret. All of the preparative work has been completed and this week, we are in the final stages of ensuring that the health and safety and permissions aspects of the operation are all satisfied.
All being well, the work will commence in the early morning of Saturday 18th March, with a small focussed team of personnel. The removal of props from Margaret is expected to be completed this weekend, but the whole swap process could take up to 2 weeks depending on the weather and other factors, so we ask that during this time, all volunteers/ visitors please observe the health and safety requirements that will be in place on site i.e Hi Viz jackets, Barriers, signage and instructions.
Also, a priority is the re-painting of the craft in the Seaspeed livery. The Paint and associated equipment is currently being sourced in preparation of the proposed work party that will make a start on this on the 23rd March.
There is also now a Whiteboard located near the bow ramp of Princess Anne, which details the status of the priority jobs. As always, if you would like to come down and help, we would greatly appreciate some hands-on volunteers! (See our volunteer page for more info)
All of this, of course, requires funding on a scale that matches the size of the craft, so look out for some funding incentives in the near future and please- spread the word! In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please take a look at our SRN4 GoFundMe page at https://uk.gofundme.com/
Steve McGarry on behalf of the Trustees
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:
- Fix up the “Skirters” box (used by the skirt technicians to repair skirts while in service) so that it can be moved to the front of the craft to be used as a display exhibit.
- Replace broken glass panes
- Dry out the port side cabin and repair the ceiling
- Replace worn seats in passenger compartments
- Strip, prepare & paint parts of the craft
- Clean bar/galley and fill with period food and drink packaging for an authentic atmosphere
- Replace rotted parts of side decks that have fallen through
- Clean and illuminate the lift ducts, and install a Perspex door to show off the pivotal piece of technology that makes hovercraft work – the lift fans!
- Polish and clean exterior windows and apply UV-resistant films to protect the seats in the long term
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
Santa is visiting The Hovercraft Museum this year. Come down on Saturday 10th and 17th to meet him on our SRN5 hovercraft. The whole museum will be open as usual and all visitors are welcome whether they wish to see Santa or not! The museum will be open both days from 10am till 3pm. There is no extra cost to enter the museum this Xmas (see here for entry prices & directions), but an extra £3 is required if you wish to see Santa and receive a present. We hope to see you there with your Santa hats!