Tour of England: The Historic Dockyard Chatham
“Just 35 miles from central London, discover how ships, including HMS Victory, were designed and built. Climb aboard a sloop, a destroyer and a submarine. Get hands-on in the Ropery, where rigging for HMS Victory was made and where rope is still made today. Explore galleries that unfurl the secrets of Great Britain’s magnificent maritime past and its command of the oceans.”
The Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham on the River Medway was established during the reign of Henry VIII in the year 1567 and remained as a fully working Dockyard until 1974 when it was closed but reopened as a museum. This was our penultimate day on our Tour of England South Coast, mostly further south in Sussex and Kent, and we were making more and more discoveries day by day. For example did you know that Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory was built here, that the first monarch to visit was Queen Elizabeth I, and that the first ship to be built was The Sunne in 1586? During the First World War 12 submarines were built here, and the last ship built for the Royal Navy was the submarine HM Submarine Ocelot which today has Chatham as its final resting place along with HMS Gannet and HMS Cavalier. You can explore the insides of each of these vessels, as well as the fascinating working attraction of the Victorian Ropery:
“Rope has been made at Chatham Dockyard for almost 400 years and its rope, still made on the Ropewalk, has been used to rig the mightiest vessels ever to take to sea.
Today Chatham is the only one of the original four Royal Navy Ropeyards to remain in operation and together with its related buildings forms the finest integrated group of 18th century manufacturing buildings in Britain.”
Another grand day out, a very full day, but we were staying only half a mile away so could take our time exploring the ships, the ropery, lifeboat exhibition, the smithery, The big machinery warehouse with its stunning roof, and many of the buildings that were offices and school for apprentices. One of the best days so far with so much Naval History