2016 has been a landmark year for The Historic Dockyard. Following many years of planning, development and a few setbacks from contractors, we opened our new Command of the Oceans project to the public in May.
Command of the Oceans reveals, for the first time, the Age of Sail story of the Royal Dockyard at Chatham. The galleries showcase thrilling archaeology and long-hidden objects for the first time. They tell powerful, compelling stories of innovation and craftsmanship and show how Chatham Dockyard and its people helped lead Britain to worldwide influence. The galleries feature two internationally significant maritime archaeological discoveries – the timbers of the Namur (1756), intriguingly laid to rest beneath the floor of the old Wheelwrights’ workshop, and an incredible treasure trove of archaeological objects recovered from the sea bed, from the Invincible (1758).
The galleries also allow you to get hands on with key trades and have some green screen fun, as you step into the 18th century dockyard! Visitors can discover the workforce during the Age of Sail and the part they played in maintaining Britain’s command of the world’s oceans.
We hope you have had the chance to explore this wonderful new gallery. If you haven’t – please put it on your ‘to do’ list for 2017 – we look forward to welcoming you.
We were delighted to announce that following the retirement of our longstanding Chairman, Admiral Sir Ian Garnett KCB, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE has now joined us in the role of Chairman in May at a pinical point. Sir Trevor comes with a wealth of background in the Royal Navy, and we are delighted to welcome him here with many exciting times ahead. Sir Trevor has been actively engaged with the Trust over the past year and has led the development of our new Corporate Plan (published in May), which sets out our strategic objectives over the next 5 years.
Salute to the ‘40s – one of our two major fundraising events of the year, was the best yet – with the highest visitor numbers recorded! With many new stalls, new entertainers and displays it was a year to remember. We thank all of you for your support of this event (and indeed all events held here at The Historic Dockyard) and as we speak we are already planning our 2017 events! The Festival of Steam & Transport is the next big one held over the Easter weekend and more information about this event (including advanced ticketing with a 25% discount!) is on the website by clicking here. With live music, vintage steam fair, classic cars and, of course, steam – it will be the highlight of the Easter period for many of our visitors.
We are well underway in planning an exciting programme of activities for 2017– from Doc.Yard’s Secret Lab, the return of Pirates to the dockyard (like you’ve never seen before!) to a temporary exhibition showcasing the work of famous children’s author and illustrator Michael Foreman. However – the most exciting one for us is – The Battle of Medway! Commemorations for the 350th anniversary of this significant event will be held through the majority of summer, and we can’t wait to show you what is in store! This exciting commemoration will include an exciting new temporary exhibition (with some very significant items on display), new menus in our restaurant and, working with our colleagues at Medway Council, we want to put Chatham on the map in 2017! We can’t say much more than that at the moment, so keep an eye on our news page for latest information next year.
That’s 2016 in a nutshell! Thank you all for your support. We look forward to sharing 2017 with you and we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!