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General News11th November 2019

25 Years of National Lottery Support

Throughout November 2019, the National Lottery is celebrating its 25th anniversary – a landmark achievement and one that has seen National Lottery players raise an incredible £10.3 billion for charities across the UK.

Support from National Lottery players (through the National Lottery Heritage Fund) has been truly transformational for Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. We simply would not have been able to achieve what we have over the past 25 years without their support.  In total, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided grants of over £28 million for a variety of projects, including the preservation and restoration of HMS CAVALIER, HMS GANNET and No.3 Covered Slip.

Sir Peter Luff, Chair, National Lottery Heritage Fund, spoke recently at our annual Trafalgar Night dinner:

“You call it ‘Preservation by Re-use’, giving sustainable life to heritage by bringing buildings back into use as homes, workplaces, galleries and attractions. This contributes around £30 million to the local economy annually. In effect, repaying your grant in full not just once, but each and every year.”


Our most recent National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF) funded projects:


No.1 Smithery

A joint project between the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Royal Museums Greenwich and Imperial War Museums that encourages visitors to unearth incredible stories told through objects, paintings and play.  The project saw the successful conversion of No.1 Smithery, a building at the time on the Historic England at Risk Register, into a state-of-the art cultural hub that houses over 3,000 ship models and artefacts from our partner museums.  A selection of these collections are on display within a permanent exhibition gallery.

Funding also allowed us to develop a temporary exhibition gallery which enables us to bring wide range of touring exhibitions to the Historic Dockyard, including Titanic, A Squash and a Squeeze (by Julia Donaldson) and Brick History – the story of the world told through LEGO bricks.

NHLF provided £4.8 million of funding to help complete this £13 million project, which was opened to the public in 2010.


Command of the Oceans

In 1995, whilst undertaking routine maintenance, we discovered of a collection of ships timbers found beneath the floor of the Wheelwrights’ Shop.  At the time, there was no record of these timbers and why they were there.  Following an extensive archaeological exercise, these timbers were identified as the remains of the Namur – a 2nd Rate Ship of the Line that was built in Chatham in 1756.  The discovery was described as “the most significant maritime archaeological find since the Mary Rose”.

Following an extensive development period, we embarked on the Command of the Oceans project which enabled us to build a series of new ‘age of sail’ galleries which effectively tell the role Chatham and Royal Dockyard’s played in supporting the Naval Fleet – leading to economic prosperity during the 18th Century.

The remains of the Namur are now the centerpiece of these galleries alongside objects recovered from the shipwreck of the Invincible which support telling the story of life on board a ship during the age of sail.  Command of the Oceans also enabled us to create an amazing new entrance facility, with a shop and restaurant – all of which truly befit the most complete dockyard of the age of sail.

The project has won numerous awards as was shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious Stirling Prize for Architecture in 2017.

NHLF kindly provided £4.9 million of funding to support delivery of this £9.6 million project which opened to the public in 2016.


The Fitted Rigging House

Our latest NHLF funding project has seen Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust convert the most disused Fitted Rigging House into a thriving mixed-use building that combines new museum facilities with commercial tenancy spaces.  The project has enabled us to create a 19th and 20th Century gallery (Steam, Steel and Submarines), a new library, reading room and archive facility and a  facility for our 340 volunteers.  Importantly – the project has allowed us to convert 8,000m2 of disused space into modern office facilities and is now home to a number of businesses including Dovetail Games, Ward Security and Handlesbanken.  There are now over 200 people working in the building and the new businesses operating have now added to our impact to the local economy – now contributing c.£29m to the surrounding area.

NHLF has provided £4.8 million investment in this ground-breaking project.

Thanks to You

The role the National Lottery has played in shaping the charitable sector across the country has been transformational and put simply, we would not have been able to have achieved everything we have without the support of the National Lottery players.  To help say “Thanks to You”, we will be offering free access to our Command of the Oceans galleries from 25th to 29th November for all National Lottery players.

Don’t forget to book your space to see how your money has transformed the Historic Dockyard.



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