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Rope has been made at Chatham Dockyard for over 400 years, miles upon miles of rope that has rigged the mightiest vessels ever to take to the sea, including Nelson’s VICTORY.

the ropery

showing you the ropes

Today Chatham is the only one of the original four Royal Navy Ropeyards to remain in operation and, together with its related buildings, forms the finest integrated group of 18th century manufacturing buildings in Britain.

The ancient craft of rope making still takes place daily, using traditional techniques mastered centuries ago. We call these special artisan craftsmen and women the Master Ropemakers.

Visit The Ropery Gallery for an atmospheric journey through the lives of Ropery workers, past and present, before stepping out onto the iconic ropewalk and witnessing ropemaking in action.

Immersive film, hands-on interactives, and displays, including a vast collection of ropemaking and rope related objects from the Des and Liz Pawson Rope Collection, tell the story of rope and its place in British history.


We have worked with AccessAble to create individual access guides to our galleries and spaces. These guides give you the detailed information you need to work out if a space is going to be accessible to you.

The Ropery Access Guide

Parking, Entrance, Ticket Office & Shop Guide

Changing Places & Accessible Toilets Guide

Getting Around Guide



30 Mins


Booked on arrival


7 days a week


The Ropery


Be transported back in time during our 30-minute Ropery Experience. Learn about the ancient art of ropemaking, its vital role in supporting Chatham’s shipbuilding and discover why our enormous double ropewalk is ¼ mile long. You’ll also have the opportunity to get hand-on with our ropemaking machine, before exploring the breath-taking ropery buildings.



30 Mins


12.15pm or 2.15pm (see notice below)


Monday – Friday




Rope has been made at Chatham for over 400 years and it continues to be made today for customers all over the world. Witness the craft of ropemaking for yourself during our live demonstrations by the Master Ropemakers.


The Ropery Demonstration will move from 12.15pm to 2.15pm from 22 April to 2 June 2024 (with the exception of 8, 13, 14, 22 and 23 May 2024, whereby it will remain at 12.15pm).

created today, mastered 400 years ago

Master ropemakers

Master Ropemakers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, continues to use the skills and tradition of 400 years of rope making to supply today’s business and leisure markets.

In some cases their use has changed little in 400 years, with Master Ropemakers supplying many of the world’s historic sailing ships with their rope needs – from GANNET, CUTTY SARK and VICTORY in Britain, to the Australian barque ENDEAVOUR.

Master Ropemakers also supplies a wide range of non-maritime customers – from aviaries to zoos.  Customers include film production companies, theatres, interior designers, garden designers, sports clubs & gymnasiums, adventure playgrounds, churches and cricket clubs.

Explore our ranges

Why not take a piece of history home and purchase a special gift handmade by our master craftsmen and women? Every purchase made helps to keep the Ropery alive.


25 March – 17 November 2024

‘Dancing In Time: The Ties That Bind Us’ draws on the symbolism of rope and its historic importance since ancient times. Its intrinsic role in both maritime industry and the colonisation and building of empire cannot be overstated.

We are delighted to feature this piece at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, where it is currently on display for the remainder of the year, after being originally located at Albert Dock during the Liverpool Biennale of 2023 and commissioned by Liverpool Museums.

Dancing In Time