The prototype model of the world’s first Hovercraft was tested during the Autumn of 1956 on the secluded Pergola Lawn at Somerleyton Hall. We know from contemporary cine and still photography that these tests took place in the foreground of the picture above with the model tethered to a pivot pressed into the lawn.
Mr Douglas Rushmer who was managing director of Ripplecraft until 1979, with his wife Sally, has presented the Hovercraft Roundel Memorial on the 50th anniversary of the invention to mark the place for all time where the original model was tested. It was unveiled by Frances Cockerell at 2.30pm on the 3rd of July 2006. See Press Release 2
It was a fine occasion, the sun shone brightly on a crowd of over one hundred guests, some having travelled from as far away as Hampshire and Cumbria. The picture above left to right shows, Lida Cardozo Kindersley who was responsible for the finely crafted lettering of the stone, Lord Somerleyton, Doug Rushmer and Frances Cockerell. The appearance of the prototype Model Hovercraft, bottom right, was an inspired decision on the part of Warwick Jacobs of the Hovercraft Museum who brought it all the way from Lee-on-the-Solent. The museum website address is www.hovercraft-museum.org