Book Review: ‘Chatham Historic Dockyard: World power to resurgence’ by N. Cossons (ed.)

By Hugh Murphy, published November 2022


Chatham remains the best-preserved of the Georgian dockyards. Slated for closure by the then minister of defence, John Nott, in June 1981 and confirmed by a subsequent defence review, it closed in March 1984. Although the dockyard had launched its last conventional submarine in the mid-1960s, it remained a repair and refit facility for almost two decades thereafter, giving it a total lifespan of over four centuries. Part of the site has been run since then by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust (CHDT) initially aided by an endowment of £13.35 million. This gave the CHDT time to explore commercial opportunities to ensure the future of the dockyard. Comprised of 650 acres and many architecturally important buildings (47 of which were scheduled monuments within the southern 80 acres of the dockyard) this was no easy task. Of this sum, £3.5 million had already been allocated by the Property Services Agency for reroofing of the quarter-mile long Ropery. Leaving the CDHT responsibility to maintain the largely degraded dockyard estate and to plan for its future use while preserving its historic buildings…

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Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

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