Author Topic: Chatham Dockyard  (Read 2779 times)

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Offline John

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Chatham Dockyard
« on: November 01, 2011, 08:42:02 am »
Chatham Dockyard apprentices 1911-1917.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 14:23:05 pm »
Some images from bygone times:

1) Building "HMS Prince of Wales" battleship in No.7 Slip 1901
2) Colour Loft 1902
3) Spinning Room 1904
4) "HMS Empress of India" in No.8 Dock c1897 with No.1 Boiler Shop in the background

cliveh

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2011, 15:11:40 pm »
A few more bygone images:

1) HMS Arethusa building in No.8 Slip 1912
2) 160 tonne Dockyard Crane c1900
3) Ship Fitters' Shop c1900


cliveh

Offline John

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2011, 18:49:27 pm »
The photograph of HMS Empress of India is beautiful  :)
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2011, 22:48:33 pm »
It certainly is John. A magnificent vessel it was too!

cliveh

Offline mmitch

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 10:28:36 am »
It's a pity that the Historic Dockyard has not got a tidal basin now. It would have attracted
some interesting historic ships and boats.
mmitch.

Offline John

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2011, 11:07:23 am »
These buildings are amazing. Photographs taken in 1946 - is that a machine gun post in the entrance?
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 11:40:54 am »
These buildings are amazing. Photographs taken in 1946 - is that a machine gun post in the entrance?

This is No.3 Slip. It's the most interesting architecturally and probably most beautiful of Chatham's Slips. Built in 1838 and at that time was Europe’s largest wide span timber structure. It's weatherboarded walls are covered by a wonderful large mansard shaped roof. This roof was originally of tarred paper but was soon replaced in zinc. It has a massive timber frame of square section timber aisle posts with iron bases and knees, diagonal braces, to cantilevered principal rafters that extend out to overhang the aisles, and braced collars. The Slip was backfilled about 1900 and a steel mezzanine floor added in 1904 to store ship's boats.


cliveh

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2011, 16:36:08 pm »
These buildings are amazing. Photographs taken in 1946 - is that a machine gun post in the entrance?

Looking again at these pics; on reflection the first photo is No.2 Slip (built c1770 and covered in 1837)- unfortunately no longer with us. It destroyed by fire on 12th July 1966. Inside at the time were stored, amongst other things, a large number of historical ships figureheads which were incinerated in the blaze.

The other two pics I'm still sure are No.3 Slip


cliveh

Offline John

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 17:28:42 pm »
Sorry Clive, I should have said. Yes, the first pic is No.2 Slip. Regarding the figureheads destroyed in the fire, see http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=387.0  :)
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 18:58:27 pm »
Her's a couple more pics of No.3 Slip:

cliveh

Offline John

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 19:11:10 pm »
Chatham Dockyard from the air, 1914.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 19:37:49 pm »
From these great pics you can see the Victorian extension to the Yard; from left to right: The Bulls Nose Locks. No.3 (Fitting Out) Basin, No.2 (Factory) Basin & No.1 (Repairing) Basin.

In No.1 Basin you can see Nos. 8, 7, 6 & 5 Docks on one side and No.9 Dock on the opposite side. Also adjacent to this Basin you can see the maginificent No.1 Boiler shop (now a shopping centre) and No5 Dock Pumping Station next to the river with it's tall chimney.

cliveh

Offline cliveh

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2011, 09:41:56 am »
In 1862 work commenced on a huge expansion of the Dockyard which was to add 380 acres to Chatham's existing 97 acres. St. Mary's Creek was sealed and drained and vast brickworks were built to supply the millions of bricks required for the project. The labour force included gangs of inmates from the nearby Chatham Convict Prison.

By 1885 3 huge new basins with 5 new docks had been completed allowing the Yard to handle the larger classes of warships which were now coming into service with the Royal Navy.

A new and uncovered building slip (No.8 Slip) was added in 1900. It was the yard's largest slip enabling the construction of vessels such as, in 1905, the King Edward VII class battleship 'HMS Africa', with a displacement of 16,350 tons, the largest ship ever built at Chatham and the last battleship to be built there.

Even with these expanded facilities Chatham was still not able to handle the later 'Dreadnought' class of battleship and her role as a building yard began to diminish with more emphasis now being made on the repairing and re-fitting of smaller classes of vessels.

By the early 1960's doubts were beginning to emerge regarding the Yard's future however it was granted a new lease of life when, in June 1968, a new Re-fitting and Re-fuelling complex was opened to service the Royal Navy's nuclear powered fleet submarines. It was constructed on land between Nos. 6 & 7 Docks and included a 10 storey office block and a huge 120 tonne crane which was used to lift the reactor cores. A nuclear store was also built to house over 10,000 items ranging from small pipe joints to reactor covers. In 1970 the first nuclear powered submarine to re-fit at Chatham, 'HMS Valiant', arrived at the Complex.

Sadly, even this spanking new facility could not gurantee the Yard's long term future and it, together with the adjoining Royal Naval Barracks, closed in 1984.

The St. Mary's Island site was earmarked for re-development and most of the buildings were demolished leaving the basins, docks and a few listed structures. Also No.8 Slip was filled in to make way for the new Medway Tunnel.

The remaining part of the Dockyard with all it's historical buildings was opened as a major tourist attraction.

Here's a few pics of some of the remaining docks and structures on St. Mary's Island:

1) No.5 Dock Pumping Station (sadly now missing it's elegant, tall chimney)
2) No.1 Boiler Shop
3) The Ship & Trades Building
4) No.8 Dock
5) No. 6 Dock
6) No.9 Dock Caisson

cliveh

Offline John

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Re: Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2011, 10:04:45 am »
St. Mary's Creek was sealed and drained and vast brickworks were built to supply the millions of bricks required for the project.

Here's a nice picture - Brick Machine No.6. I assume those are dockyard police and convicts?
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell