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.
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.
The Trust has an extensive photographic collection that ranges from mid-19th century until closure in 1984. There are over 10,000 photographs and images showing dockyard workers, trades, shipbuilding and repair and the wider dockyard site.
We have maps of the Historic Dockyard site, drawings of the buildings along with a number of plans of ships built here.
The Archive Reading room is open to researchers by appointment Mondays to Thursdays 10.30am – 3.30pm.
Please note that library and archive material is reference only and cannot be removed or lent out. Copies may be made of some material by arrangement.
We hold limited records of those who worked in the Dockyard of served in the Chatham Division of the Royal Navy. If you are looking for information on family members who are connected with the Dockyard, the National Archives at Kew may be able to help you www.nationalarchives.gov.uk