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Dockyard40: Always part of the story

On 30 March 1984, the iconic main gate of Chatham Dockyard was padlocked ending 400 years of shipbuilding and Royal Navy presence in Chatham.

BUT the story of the Dockyard did not end in 1984 and since its closure a new chapter has been written.

Dockyard 40 Drone Photo
The Historic Dockyard Chatham from River Medway

always part of the story

40 years

For over four centuries Chatham Dockyard was the lifeblood of the Medway community, employing thousands of local people from multiple trades. It fuelled the region’s economy and at its height was the at forefront of shipbuilding, industrial and architectural technology.

In 2024, 40 years after the Dockyard closed, we will be celebrating four decades since the creation of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. The award winning, independent charity was established to protect 80-acres of the most historic parts of the working dockyard, home to one of the largest concentrations of scheduled ancient monuments and the most complete dockyard of the Age of Sail anywhere in the world.

In our anniversary year, we will be remembering the devastating impact the closure of the Dockyard had on Medway, celebrating the achievements of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust in preserving the former Royal Dockyard and giving everyone the opportunity to engage in our story now and in the future.

Come and be part of it …

40 years of …


Explore our interactive timeline and learn about the key decisions and developments that have led to The Historic Dockyard Chatham becoming the world-class, mixed-use heritage estate that it is today.

40 years of …

Events and Activities

For the 2024 season there will be an exciting series of events, exhibitions and activities that set the tone for the next 40 years and beyond.

Don’t miss headline exhibitions RNLI200 – The Exhibition, commemorating the RNLI’s 200th anniversary and our long-standing partnership with the national organisation; and Ralph STEADman: INKling, Ralph’s first UK exhibition this decade; as well as a new immersive theatre and dance production with Icon Theatre, exploring 400 years of local, hidden histories of the Historic Dockyard.

40 years of …


2024 will see the completion of capital development in No.1 Smithery, with a transformation of the visitor welcome, improved access for all users and enhanced display of the Imperial War Museums and Royal Museums Greenwich collections.

We will acquire the Police Section House, our 48th scheduled ancient monument, for the development of Docking Station, an exciting new state-of-the-art digital hub for the cultural and creative industries in partnership with University of Kent and Medway Council.

Delve deeper into our news stories for more about our latest developments …