About James' Hovercraft Site

About James' Hovercraft Site

James RowsonA word from James

Hello! May I say a big thank you for visiting this site, I hope you're enjoying your visit and that it's been full of useful information and things to see. Without you, it'd be pointless. I thought I'd make this biography page to put a face to the site, for anyone who wondered "James" is. This page is about this site, with snippets about the hovercraft, the Concorde site, and about me.

A brief history of the site and some history of the Hovercraft

This site was started back in 1999 and hosted on the then "Newsletters UK" domain run by my father (see WebArchive version of the site, in 2000). When I established that the hovercraft site was actually getting hits, it was moved to this very domain. 12 years and an unknown number of hits after its creation, this is the site today. Over 3,000 visitors a month from all continents (except Antarctica, though I'm working on it) browse these pages and hopefully will continue to do so. Visitors are mainly from the UK, US, Germany, France, Canada and Australia, with about 100 countries in total.

Originally James' Hovercraft Site started as a one-page, many picture site, created on FrontPage Express 2.0 (for all the geeks out there). With the ever increasing number of photos and diagrams I added, I had complaints that the page was becoming physically too long. So I made the move, with the aid of newer web-site editing technology, to turn that one page into the navigable site that is here today.

When I could get my hands on video editing software and a faster internet connection (I had been running on a modem or ISDN for a good few years), I decided to start adding Videos to the site, and with the advent of YouTube, hosting them on there instead to save bandwidth. These videos have proved to be very popular so far, and I will keep adding more when I get them.

When the Hoverspeed SRN4 passenger hovercraft service ceased in October 2000, this site switched to partly being a history of "what once was". Being based in Dover myself, I have tried to show the world what used to be a way of life for us Dovorians (it HAD to be - SRN4s were so loud!).

The old service ran from 8 in the morning till 8 at night (or something like that, correct me if I'm wrong), many times every hour in its prime. I do miss the roar of the four marine gas turbine Proteus engines and their huge propellers echoing off the cliffs as a craft came in or departed! Have a look at the videos pages to see what I mean.

Today we in the UK still have the oldest passenger hovercraft service in the world still running in the UK between Porstmouth and the Isle of Wight across the Solent. Operated by Hovertravel and built by Griffon Hoverwork these craft, BHT-1xx's, run a regular service to and from the British Mainland to the Isle of Wight (a crossing of about 10 minutes). Alas this is the only passenger hovercraft service running in the UK at the moment, though trials of new routes come about from time to time.

The Concorde Site

You might wonder what a site about Concorde is doing bolted on to this Hovercraft site? When it was announced, following the Concorde crash in Paris in July 2000, that Concorde was to be retired from service by British Airways, I created the JHS Concorde Site from images that I'd taken, or that I asked people to send in. The page was created two weeks before the end of service, and by the end of the first week it had already had 4,000 hits and numerous images and videos sent in by visitors. Inevitably interest has died down about Concorde now and five years on the page has had no major updates for quite some time.

A little biography about me

I was born in London, and upon moving to Dover the day after "The Great Storm" (aka the "Hurricane" by those who were in it), my parents inform me that on our first trip to the seafront I stood at the end of the Prince of Wales pier in awe as the hovercraft roared past (those were the days).


With the great and much appreciated efforts of my parents, and the hospitality of Hoverspeed, I had multiple visits to their facilities at Dover Hoverport, from the Control Tower, to being shown around the engineering workshops, craft under maintenance, toured around inside the skirt of the Princess Anne when she was up on jacks, crossing the channel in the cockpit of several craft, having a tour around the craft and many more that I can't think of at this moment!


My dad bought the family a computer in 1992. It was an IBM PS/2 (anyone remember it?), running Windows 3.1 with 2MB of RAM, a 40MB hard disk, and a 386sx processor. Tinkering with this beast of a machine taught me the foundations for my interest in computing. Subsequent updates to keep with the times, and I'm still in the game, making and fixing websites (Websites listed below!) for various organisations and fixing SOHO or personal PCs.

Flying & Gliding

In 1997 my cousin introduced me to Microsoft's Flight Simulator. Well. I was hooked! When I was old enough my parents booked me a trial gliding lesson at a nearly gliding club (Channel Gliding Club at Waldershare, Kent, UK - http://www.channelglidingclub.com/). Flying introduced a new aspect to me, the feeling of being free as an eagle - and it is amazing! Gliding led on to me having lessons in powered planes at Lydd Airport (Lydd, Sussex - http://www.lyddairport.com/) when I can.


Dover is a seaside town. And being a seaside town it has seaside activities, so sailing became an interest for me from the age of 8. I did my RYA grades 1 to 3 at Invicta Sailing Club in Dover (I can't find a website for them). With the generosity of my ex-A-Level maths teacher Bob, I've experience in taking out his 22ft yacht, either around Dover Harbour, to the Varne Bank in the English Channel, to Margate (North Kent), to Boulogne (France), to Limehouse Basin (a marina in London), and more. Not on my own, I've always been part of Bob's crew, and I've always enjoyed myself!


From 1990 to 1997 I was a student at St Richard's Roman Catholic Primary School in Dover, and from 97 to 2004 I studied at Dover Grammar School for Boys (http://www.dovergrammar.co.uk/) doing subjects from Physics to Latin, a great 7 years I must admit! Here not only did I get the grounding to follow up a future at university, but also learnt new skills like playing the Keyboard, Piano and Guitar.


I'm a Medical (MBBS) student at the University of East Anglia, having taken a previous undergraduate degree in Geography (BSc) at Loughborough University, Leicestershire.


Thanks for reading! If you have time, do drop me a line using the Contact Form link on the left hand side or the Guestbook. I like to know how visitors find the site, if there is anything I could do to improve it, or if anyone's got any photos, videos, or stories to tell about the Hovercraft or Concorde.


Page updated: Saturday, September 13, 2014