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Life in lockdown: ropemakers return

16 June 2020

As a continuation of the work we produced supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, we have decided to publish a weekly blog dedicated to wellness.  We’ve asked a few of our staff, volunteers and organisations we work closely with to write a journal post and diary a day in lock down. These blogs will provide a snapshot of the everyday lives, experiences and wellbeing of our people.

Alex Rowling
Manager, Master Ropemakers

I wake up feeling like it’s the first day at school, I’m nervous but excited too as we are reopening the Master Ropemakers after a long 3 month break.

I travel in by train and I’m the only person on the empty platform, there’s no coffee shop open and no free newspaper today.

The main gate is closed and as I sanitise my hands I see the familiar sight of the church and the Dockyard opens up before me, it’s beautiful in the summer sun and I’m ready to get to work.

Throwing open the windows to release the stale office air I find some interesting things growing in abandoned coffee cups and the plants are wilted and wanting water!

Passwords…. Oh my, what was that again? I finally remember and open 1500 emails. Gulp!

The answer phone flashes with messages and I’m eager to open them but first a Health and safety meeting with the ropemakers and our director Mark Sandberg. It’s so good to see everyone. We’ve all changed a little, some a little rounder, many sun tanned and we are all sporting new hairstyles!

The unmistakable smell of the ropewalk reminds us all that we are back and here to fulfil customer orders and after a full equipment check and stocktake we get going. The rumbles of the machinery and the familiar tinkle of the bell begin and it’s like we have never been away.

The phone rings and someone is chasing a delivery that’s gone astray, she received a side of smoked salmon not a doorstop!

Can I help? You bet I can.

Find out more about Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust’s initiatives for Mental Health Awareness

Related News

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Notice to Visitors

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust welcomes the news that museums and visitor attractions are able to reopen to visitors from 4 July.

We are actively planning to welcome visitors back to the Dockyard as soon as we are safely able to do so but this will be some time after 4 July.

We will make a further announcement to confirm the exact date as soon as we can.

In the meantime, much of Dockyard life has never stopped. Master Ropemakers has started operating again and we are taking forward bookings for filming, group travel and hospitality, including weddings. Call the Midwife Official Location Tours will resume shortly.

We would like to thank all our visitors for their understanding during this challenging period.

Last updated: 25 June 2020