We caught up with one of our staff about her time working at The Dockyard…
Linda worked at The Dockyard in the 1970s and is working here today educating students from around the world about The Dockyard and its role in history. We spoke to Linda, who is now a Learning Team Supervisor, about her fascinating history at The Dockyard.
In 1970, Linda worked in Personnel, supporting apprentices and drawing office grades before transferring to the nuclear department where she was responsible for administration of the Department. She oversaw around 60 staff with jobs involved in refitting the nuclear Submarines that came to The Dockyard. Linda became one of the 1st women (along with another lady from Rolls Royce) to go in to the reactor compartment of a nuclear submarine! The purpose of this was to make sure that future female apprentices would be physically able to get access there!
Later, she became the assistant civilian secretary for the Admiral of the Port and was responsible for organising VIP tours for the Admiral’s guests amongst many other jobs. Leaving in 1979, Linda left to start a family and in 2008, came back to The Dockyard which was now no longer a working dockyard but a visitor attraction to preserve its history.
A favourite memory of Linda’s is: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the Dockyard (or Naval Base as it was called in those days). No one knew exactly when or where they would be visiting so everywhere was made ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’ in readiness. Following a morning of watching for them out of the window, to no avail, we decided to go for lunch. Just as we were returning to the Nuclear Block we stopped to cross the road as a large black saloon shot around the corner with Her Majesty and the Duke waving at us – and it was to us, we were the only ones in sight!
Today Linda works in the Education department for the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. Some days you will find her as “Miss Linda” a character who works in the Victorian Ropery and explains to school groups all about life in the ropery and Victorian Times, or as Pirate Linda who teaches aboard HMS Gannet all things Pirates!
Linda said: “History is what shapes us and teaches us so much about ourselves and how we can shape the future. History belongs to us all.”