Hovercraft that crossed Channel in 40 minutes with 400 passengers

The Princess Anne was the fourth SRN4 built at BHC Cowes. The other five  were: The Princess Margaret, Swift, Sure, The Sir Christopher and The Prince of Wales.
The Princess Anne was the fourth SRN4 built at BHC Cowes. The other five were: The Princess Margaret, Swift, Sure, The Sir Christopher and The Prince of Wales.
You might struggle with this scene but it is in fact looking across Waite Street, Cosham. The tram is heading for Spur Road.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: When trams ran through the fire station’s offices at Cosham

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Lee-on-the-Solent is synonymous with planes and seaplanes, but it is also the home of another, slightly more unusual vehicle – the hovercraft.

After the first cross-Channel crossing by a hovercraft in 1959, there was a revolution in design and development.

An SRN5 on exercise at Browndown, Gosport, with 200 Hovercraft Squadron RCT.

An SRN5 on exercise at Browndown, Gosport, with 200 Hovercraft Squadron RCT.

Within a decade the mighty SRN4, capable of carrying 400 passengers and 60 cars across the English Channel in less than 40 minutes, had arrived.

As the commercial hovercraft thrived the military also continued to innovate.

Today we take our second look at some of the pictures from a new book The Hovercraft by Jim Gray.

Using the archive of the world’s only hovercraft museum, based at Lee and boasting more than 70 historic craft, Gray has used a wealth of rare and unpublished images to explore the importance and impact of the hovercraft.

Passengers disembarking on the first run of the new hovercraft service between Ryde and Eastney on August 13, 1962. It made the journey in 15 minutes.

Passengers disembarking on the first run of the new hovercraft service between Ryde and Eastney on August 13, 1962. It made the journey in 15 minutes.

It offers a glimpse into the craft that has captivated the public’s imagination for more than 50 years.

•The Hovercraft by Jim Gray is published by Amberley at £14.99.

All today’s pictures are published courtesy of Amberley.