Once, for a very, very long time indeed there was a shoreline, then sure enough, eventually there was a Hoverport – then there wasn’t.
Opened in 1969 just outside Ramsgate along the Kent coast, Hoverlloyd a Swedish owned company began a cross-channel hovercraft service to Calais.
Along came Prince Philip:
The passengers’ every need was attended to with alacrity and style.
“As a Stewardess your appearance was paramount, a beautician would come in during training to teach us how to apply make up.”
But it simply wasn’t enough.
The life of Christopher Cockerell’s bold British invention, was short and bumpy.
Genevieve Payne, a former stewardess:
“I remember the summer of 1979 as a year of really bad weather and rough seas.”
“I was working on a craft in a force 8, so on this day we were literally hitting the ceiling, passengers were throwing up everywhere.”
“One lady became hysterical I had to slap her to calm her down.”
By the 1980’s Pegwell and the hovercraft were in terminal terminus decline.
It’s a lot less bother without a hover.
What prevails is the shoreline, a concrete landing skirt and the slow process of reclamation, as nature decides that the council is quite right to decide to create a nature reserve.
Thanks to and for further information http://www.hoverlloyd.org/index.html
Here it is today:
13 thoughts on “Pegwell Bay Hoverport”
Just came across your blog. Very interesting as we were walking here today and knew little about the hoverport. Took loads of dystopian photos; how urban areas would look after humans had disappeared!
So glad you found the post useful, like y’self I knew nothing of the place – met someone in Margate who suggested I take a look. Enthralled by my visit, as you say a possibly post human landscape, very much in the *and over your cities grass will grow* mode. Steve.
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Love the first photograph as it shows my grandparents house (37a Sanwich Road) where we spent many happy holidays as children. I used to watch the hovercraft come and go from the little bedroom window or the top of the swing. My Nana used to offer bed and breakfast to some of the hovercraft hostesses. I think one of them even stayed in the caravan which is visible on the photo! As we lived in Nottingham it was also great that we could be put on a coach in Nottingham and it would take us all the way to the hoverport with just the coach driver to keep an eye on us! Happy memories of “swift” and “sure” and the red arrows who used to practice overhead!
So happy to have evoked so many happy memories Julianne.
I miss the hovercraft. Sure they weren’t well-suited to rough weather, but most of the time they offered a fast (quicker than the tunnel) alternative to the ferries. Testament to that is that I used them occasionally despite having P&O shares to travel half-price on their ferries (which I did generally use – up to 10 times a year).
Hi, great blog. Really interesting to learn more about the history of the hoverport. I am writing a short story set in the nearby nature reserve, during which I mention and briefly describe the hover port in its current state. I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me as to what the different bushes and trees are that grow in there now? Much appreciated 🙂
Thanks for your interest and kind words Tony, sorry I can’t help with the plant names good luck with the story.
Hello, I was interested in maybe using one of your photos for a book cover. I would need the copyright (you can still use the photo). Would you be interested in selling one?
Which photograph do you wish to use? – happy agree a fee.