The Historic Dockyard Chatham

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a unique 80-acre site comprising historic buildings, museums galleries and warships.

No 1 Smithery, Historic Dockyard Chatham © James Brittain

No 1 Smithery, Historic Dockyard Chatham

Visitors can expect to learn how to make rope from costumed guides, discover the stories behind those who served on the site's three historic warships and explore the 400-year history of the dockyard through its museum galleries.

Permanent collections

The collection, preservation, study and display of objects and material connected to naval history is at the centre of the Historic Dockyard Chatham's activities. The collections focus around the people who worked in, or were associated with, Chatham Dockyard; the development of Royal Navy warship design and construction; and the Royal Navy's use of the River Medway.

There are three historic warships on display: HMS Gannett, a Victorian Royal Navy Sloop which has recently undergone a major refurbishment; HMS Cavalier, the Royal Navy's last operational Second World War destroyer; and HMS Ocelot, a submarine from the Cold War era, and the last warship to be made for the Royal Navy at Chatham. There is also a reference collection including archives, printed books and photographs available to researchers, by prior appointment, through the Royal Dockyard Library.

Art Funded works

In 2005 the Art Fund gave the Historic Dockyard Chatham 50 per cent of the total £60,000 needed to acquire the Maquette for the warship HMS Queen Charlotte, launched at Chatham in 1790. The figurehead shows Queen Charlotte, the consort of King George III, and probably required royal approval before the full size figurehead was made.

Elias Martin's 1777 – 8 landscape, A view of Chatham Dockyard, depicts the dockyard from the Rochester side of Whitehall Creek. Art Funded in 1993, it is one of a small number of views showing the dockyard in the period before the Napoleonic Wars.

Visitor information

Other attractions on site include 3 Slip – the BIG space, where the largest objects from the collections are kept along with those from the Royal Engineers Museum, Gillingham. The RNLI's Historic Lifeboat Collection can also be seen at the Historic Dockyard Chatham.

The Wheelwright's Shop, built in 1780, is constructed from reused warship timbers and now houses the fully licensed Wheelwright's Restaurant, which offers a wide variety of refreshments including hot and cold lunches. There are outdoor picnic facilities throughout the site, including an area in the secluded Commissioner's House Garden. Alternatively an indoor picnic and play area can be found in the Railway Workshop.


Art we've helped buy at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Venue details

The Historic Dockyard Chatham Dock Road, Chatham Kent ME4 4TZ 01634 823807 www.thedockyard.co.uk

Entry details

Free entry with National Art Pass (standard entry charge is £18.50)

15 Feb – 30 Nov
Daily, 10am – 4pm (6pm during British Summer Time)

Share this article