Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Chatham Dockyard

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1886.
Upper Mast House. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
The Rope Works. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
The Rope Works. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
The Rope Works. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
The Rope Works. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
The Rope Works. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
The Rope Works. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Steam hammer and sky
1872. 100-Ton Sheer Legs at The Chatham Dockyard.
1898. HMS Goliath.
1899. HM Gunboat Sheldrake.
1908.
1955.

Dock Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TZ. For more information on visiting the dockyard see the visitor attraction website.

Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway in Chatham, Kent, England, came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, and thus requiring added defences. 80 acres of the site now form a visitor attraction known as Chatham Historic Dockyard.

The growing importance of the dockyard was illustrated between 1619-20 with the addition of two new mast ponds, and the granting of additional land on which a dock, storehouse, and various brick and lime kilns were planned.

The renewed outbreak of war with Spain demonstrated the need for such readiness, and in 1710 land was ordered to be bought to improve the dockyard.

By the year 1770 the establishment had so expanded that, including the gun wharf, it stretched a mile in length, and included an area of in excess of 95 acres, possessing four slip ways and four large docks.

The officers and men employed in the yard also increased, and by 1798 they numbered 1664, including 49 officers and clerks and 624 shipwrights. Additionally required were the blockmakers, caulkers, pitch-heaters, blacksmiths, joiners and carpenters, sail makers, riggers, and ropemakers (274), as well as bricklayers, labourers and others.

The dockyard covered 400 acres. After closure this was divided into three sections. The easternmost basin was handed over to the Medway Ports Authority and is now a commercial port. Another slice was converted into a mixed commercial, residential and leisure development. 80 acres comprising the 18th century core of the site, was transferred to a charity called the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and is now open as a visitor attraction.

Chatham Royal Dockyard was based on the River Medway in Kent, England. This yard is considered to be important; it had been building ships since 1586.

1860s The yard was extensively modernised in order to build the ironclad battleship Achilles which was the first to be made in any Royal Dockyard.

1870 P. Thornton, the Master Shipwright, was made Chief Engineer as well.[1]

1880 Visit by The Society of Engineers. To read the write up in The Engineer see The Engineer 1880/09/24 page 225. [2]

1882 Visit by the Society of Engineers. Edwin Arthur Bernays Superintending Civil Engineer of the Dockyard. For Full Details see page 25 of The Engineer 1882/07/14.[3]

1890s The yard went on to build a number of other battleships.

1900s - Warship building was abandoned in favour of submarines, 56 of these were made from 1908-1966.

1909 See plan of dockyard in 1909.

1984 - The yard closed completely. However, Crescent Marine Services continued to use the yard to repair small coasters until it too closed in 1994. When the Dockyard closed its final task had been that of refitting nuclear submarines. HMS Hermione was the last ship launched from there.

See Also

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  • [1] Dockyard Railway
  • [2] The Dockyard

Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1870/02/18 page 92.
  2. The Engineer 1880/09/24
  3. The Engineer 1882/07/14
  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
  • [3] Wikipedia