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Discover our collections

Our collections are a small window into the past

Explore the work of the Dockyard and the people that not only built the ships at Chatham, but those who served on them for four hundred years.

The Trust has over 70,000 objects in its collection – ranging from archaeology, rigging, hand tools, machinery to fine art and photography.

We have just begun the process of digitising our collection and we will be gradually adding new objects. Search our catalogue to see what is there at the moment.

We not only collect and preserve objects related to the Dockyard’s past but also carry out specific research into the Dockyard’s rich and varied history. From projects focused on Dockyard workers to the tragedies suffered during the First World War, we are building up a picture of the role and impact the Dockyard has had over four hundred years.

PLEASE NOTE 

From 1st November 2017 Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust will be undertaking major conservation, repair and adaptation works to the Fitted Rigging House, the home of the Royal Dockyard Library. The project will create a sustainable future for the building, one of The Historic Dockyard’s most important Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The project will deliver a new accessible reading room and much improved conditions for our library and archive collections alongside new volunteer and conservation facilities.

In order for these works to take place the current Reading Room and Archive will close on 1st November 2017 to be relocated to our new facilities ready to open in autumn 2018. Limited access to collections due to this process means we will be unable to support research enquiries at this time but will provide advice if and when possible. 

 

Explore the Trust’s online catalogue of objects.

Library and Reading Room

The Dockyard Library and Archive houses the Trust’s collection of over 20,000 books and manuscripts that focuses on ships, shipbuilding, naval architecture and history.

Donations

We are actively collecting – if you have an item that you would like to donate that tells a part of the Dockyard story, please contact us.