SR.N4 Hovercraft at Daedalus


The 2 SR.N4 Hovercraft Princess Margaret  and Princess Anne which are at Daedalus but not actually owned by the Musuem. The Hovercraft Museum in Lee-on-Solent is to save the Princess Anne.

The Princess Margaret and Princess Anne, which were built on the Isle of Wight by the British Hovercraft Corporation in the 1970s, the SR.N4 was the largest hovercraft built in its time, designed to carry 254 passengers in two cabins besides a four-lane automobile bay which held up to 30 cars.

The SR.N4s operated services across the English Channel between 1968 and 2000 until the abolition of duty-free made their service unprofitable.The craft entered commercial service in August 1968, with the Princess Margaret  initially operated between Dover and Boulogne but later craft also made the Ramsgate (Pegwell Bay) to Calais route. The fastest ever crossing of the English Channel by a commercial car-carrying hovercraft was 22 minutes, recorded by the SR.N4 Mk.III Princess Anne on 14 September 1995, for the 10:00 a.m. service.

GH-2006 Princess Margaret and GH-2007 Princess Anne were bought by Wensley Haydon-Baillie for £500,000 and reside at the Hovercraft Museum. Haydon-Baillie was the also owner of the super yacht Brave Challenger and uses the same Rolls-Royce Proteus Marine engines as the SR.N4s. The purchase included seven years' worth of spares including engines. This is when the SRN4 came to Daedalus in 2000:-

The 2 Hovercraft have remain in situ since their arrival in 2000.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) (now Homes England) (Current owners of this part of Daedalus), was granted legal consent to remove the hovercraft from the land and has been in discussions with the museum and other local partners to find the best outcome for both the development and the future of the hovercraft.

In early 2016 the ownership of the two craft were passed to the then HCA (now Homes England). Homes England have let the Princess Anne to the Hovercraft Museum and allowed them to take parts from the Princess Margaret to enhance Princess Anne as an exhibit and have always intended thereafter to remove the Princess Margaret from site as she impedes development plans.

Homes England tendered the removal of the Princess Margaret in October and received returns in November having contacted all those who previously expressed an interest. We received 11 returns none of which indicated an ability to remove from site intact (all advice was that it would be virtually impossible anyway).

Homes England has selected Hughes and Salvidge to undertake the dismantling and removal from site and this is likely to take place over a 5 week programme starting at the end of February 2018. All works will happen within Seaplane Square and access will from the north via Daedalus Drive and Broom Way. Working hours will be 8:00am – 5:30pm weekdays only. Hughes and Salvidge are liaising with the Hovercraft Museum about what parts they would like and  a film company wants to document its construction for the Smithsonian Channel. Cushman and Wakefield are managing the project on Homes England’s behalf with specific emphasis on health and safety and waste management.



Posted: 2/6/2018