Chatham Historic Dockyard
Chatham Historic Dockyard is a maritime museum on part of the site of the former royal/naval dockyard at Chatham in Kent, England. Chatham Dockyard covered 400 acres (1.6 km²) and was one of the Royal Navy's main facilities for several hundred years until it was closed in 1984. After closure the dockyard was divided into three sections. The easternmost basin was handed over to Medway Ports and is now a commercial port. Another slice was converted into a mixed commercial, residential and leisure development. 80 acres (324,000 m²), 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. It claims to be the world’s most complete dockyard of the Age of Sail. The attraction has seven main elements:
  • 3 historic warships:
    • HMS Gannet (1878)
    • HMS Cavalier (R73)
    • HMS Ocelot (S17)
  • The Ropery: a Georgian and Victorian rope factory.
  • Wooden Walls: a recreation of the working life of the dockyard in 1758, centred on the construction of HMS Valiant.
  • Museum of the Royal Dockyard: with model ships and other exhibits, from the Spanish Armada to the dockyard's closure shortly after the Falklands War
  • Lifeboat: a museum about the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution which has 17 historic vessels.
  • 3 Slip - The BIG Store: Originally a covered slipway, now a display of large objects from the Dockyward and the nearby Royal Engineers Museum.
  • No 1 Smithery: Originally an iron-working building, restored and re-opened in July 2010 to house temporary exhibitions, permanent displays and stores of objects from the Dockyard itself and from the National Maritime Museum and Imperial War Museum, particularly paintings and ship models.
Workers at the dockyard performed eight years of restoration work on the Havengore , the ceremonial vessel that carried the body of Winston Churchill during his state funeral. In addition the dockyard is acting as custodian of artifacts, masts and rigging from the Cutty Sark and the Medway Queen , while their hulls are being restored elsewhere. Records of the ships built at Chatham go back to 1646.