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Community Engagement5th July 2024

Army of Volunteers has Medway Stitched Up for 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Army of Volunteers has Medway Stitched Up for 40th Anniversary Celebrations

For months, an army of dedicated volunteers have taken to their crochet hooks to bring Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust’s 40th anniversary to life. The group have crocheted, knitted, and sewn a series of “yarn-bombs” around the Medway towns to mark the charity’s ruby year.

All those passing through Medway can see The Historic Dockyard Chatham’s most well-known icons skilfully replicated in colourful wool in a project coordinated by Unravel & Unwind, C.I.C.

Chatham’s famous traffic cone-wearing local landmark, the Sir Thomas Waghorn statue, has been given a fabulous new outfit, consisting of a knitted traffic cone and Dockyard-inspired cape, that was created using a flatbed knitting machine and embroidery techniques.

There is even a miniature, knitted Sir Thomas Waghorn (complete with a knitted traffic cone) on display in the old Intra High Street. The replica statue will help point people towards the real statue.

The yarnbombing continues with five post-box toppers, one for each of the Medway Towns.

A post-box topper inspired by Call the Midwife can be found in Gillingham High Street carefully created by the Gillingham WI. Miniature Poplar with knitted versions of Sister Julienne and Nurse Crane sit aside a new mother in her best ‘60s outfit and complete with a Midwife bicycle.  

Head to Military Road, Chatham for a second creation by Gillingham WI, as they honour RNLI 200 with a crocheted lifeboat.

At Rainham Shopping Centre, there are two post-box toppers to be found, both honouring the 1940s.  First is a scene dedicated to The Dockyard’s popular event Salute to the ‘40s; created by Unravel & Unwind Yarnbomb Group. The second is kindly on loan by Toni Milton and depicts the soldiers of the Second World War.

The historic locomotives of The Dockyard take centre stage in the final post-box topper that will be located near Strood Station.

The five post-box toppers have been carefully installed by Dockyard volunteers, whereas the installation of Sir Thomas Waghorn’s new cape and unique traffic cone required more of a professional hand.

The crochet and knitting installations for Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust’s 40th anniversary is a part of Medway Open Studios. It also includes an exhibition at The Historic Dockyard and features crocheted versions of HM Submarine OCELOT, HMS GANNET and a large number of anchors (free entry).

Faye Lamb, Unravel & Unwind C.I.C said: “Many of our teen crocheters have learned to crochet during this project and the HM Submarine OCELOT replica really shows how they have progressed over the past few months. They’ve surprised themselves with how much they have learnt.

The Yarnbomb volunteers have surpassed my expectations and provided a replica of HMS GANNET using repurposed and recycled yarns.

Medway is blessed with many talented knitters and crocheters, who have created amazing post box toppers with a very small brief.”

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust would like to thank Unravel & Unwind, C.I.C; Gillingham WI; Medway Council; Unravel & Unwind After School Crochet Group; Unravel & Unwind Yarnbomb Group; Ellie Murray; Elspeth Darby; Jo Glass; Faith Bray; Faye Lamb; Toni Milton; Teen Crochet Group from Gillingham Library; Nucleus Arts; Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust Volunteers; Medway Pride Fringe; Val; Sue Chapman; Year 10 Design Technology students at The Robert Napier School; Julia Foxon (The Tipsy Rebel Hookers – Faversham); Peter and Jane Joyce.

The co-ordinator of the project, the Trust’s Public Engagement Officer, Vikkie Mulford said: “It has been a pleasure collaborating with Unravel & Unwind, C.I.C in the Trust’s 40th anniversary year, on their most ambitious community project to date.

Seeing the project develop over the past six months, and the creativity of those involved, has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I hope the results bring as much joy to others as it has done to us.”

DOCKYARD40: ANCHORS AWEIGH WITH UNRAVEL & UNWIND CIC

06 Jul – 18 Aug 2024

Namur Room in Mess Deck Restaurant. No admission ticket is required.

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