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What's missing?

There are over 300 volunteers involved with us here at The Historic Dockyard Chatham donating over 35,000 hours of their valuable time each year. Caring for the many historic buildings and artefacts, three historic warships and over 170,000 visitors each year means that there are plenty of different roles for volunteers to fill! The Trust is supported by a number of volunteer groups whose activities range from restoring and running the dockyard’s steam railway to carrying out historical research to supporting film crews using the site for the latest large productions.


Volunteers have a huge impact on the work that is done on site and we would not have achieved all we have over the past 30+ years without the significant input of our volunteer team.

Volunteering opportunities at The Historic Dockyard Chatham are varied and can range from hands-on roles, office/desk based support through to research activities in the Dockyard Library and even getting involved in the operation of our Historic Railway.

There are a number of opportunities to join existing volunteer groups including:

Chatham Dockyard Historical Society

These volunteers assist in the staffing of Steam, Steel and Submarines on a daily basis between February and December. They also assist in the creation of temporary displays, carry out historical research and help man the Royal Dockyard Library.

Historic Warships Volunteer Group

These volunteers are involved in the restoration and maintenance of our historic warships, principally HMS Cavalier (1944) and HMS Gannet (1878) as well as some of the Trust’s collection of small boats. The volunteers come from all walks of life and have all different levels of skill. Work varies from simple tasks like painting, to more technical jobs.


Chatham Historic Dockyard Volunteer Service

The Chatham Historic Dockyard Volunteer Service (CHDVS) was formed by members of the now disbanded Thames and Medway branch of the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (RNXS). CHDVS assists in conservation and other essential work across The Historic Dockyard site, including setting up for and supporting events.

Historic Lifeboat Volunteers

Our RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection gallery houses 17 of the RNLI’s collection of historic lifeboats and is one of The Historic Dockyard’s public galleries. The lifeboat enthusiasts help keep all the exhibits fully maintained.

Chatham Dockyard Railway Volunteers

The Railway Volunteers work on the restoration and running of The Historic Dockyard’s collection of steam locomotives and rolling stock. The locomotives and freight trains steam on a regular basis throughout the year and there is an opportunity to be trained as part of the operating crew.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

In addition to the above groups, a number of other individuals carry out volunteer work for the Trust in even more diverse areas of activity such as figurehead restoration, Conservation and Education. We are also recruiting for volunteers to support our Visit Maker programme.

Visit Makers are the first point of contact for the majority of visitors on-site and they greet all visitors to The Historic Dockyard and provide valuable information about The Historic Dockyard and its associated defences across Medway.


Current Opportunity

Business Archive Support Volunteer

A business or company archive is a permanent collection that contains information showing how a business has evolved over its lifetime. This might be marketing material, records of major projects, or event details. In addition there are statutory records that all companies must keep such as annual reports and finance records. Together these form the business archive.

This role gives the opportunity to experience how business archive is organised, catalogued and stored. As the archive material dates back to 1984 much of it is on paper so the role also gives the chance to gain basic preventive conservation knowledge and an understanding of the wider requirements of document storage and archival practice.

What’s Missing?

We are extremely lucky to have a large and diverse group of volunteers supporting The Historic Dockyard Chatham in many ways. We rely very heavily on the valuable support given by our volunteers and The Historic Dockyard wouldn’t be the place it is today without the support of our dedicated volunteer force. We are here to support you too, whether it is to help you identify a volunteering opportunity, help settle you into a new role, provide training or to help you meet other volunteers in a more social environment.

If you are interested in supporting The Historic Dockyard Chatham by volunteering – please get in touch.