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Behind the Scenes7th April 2022

The rejuvenation of the Old Surgery – What has it become today?

Here at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, buildings are constantly being maintained and updated by our estates team. The latest preservation project within our historic property portfolio has been The Old Surgery.

Let’s step back in time and look at the origins of this building.

On the north side of Commissioner’s Garden a series of single-storey offices were erected between 1710 and 1755: the Commissioner’s Office, the Surgery, the Pay Office and the Chest Room. It is believed that the Surgery was built in 1711.

In 1854, a Surgeon’s room was added to the Surgery (shown by the change in brickwork).

In 1866, a new Surgery was built behind the Main Offices, and The Old Surgery was turned into a Reading Room and Library for the Officers resident in the ‘yard.

In 1962, the Surgery was transferred to the offices of Engineer Rear-Admiral, built in 1881, next to the old Pay Station; the opening was conducted by Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Panckridge, Medical Director General of the Royal Navy.


Image: Plan of Dockyard 1772 – P.McDougal.

Since then there have been an array of tenants in this historic building, which have included: Medoc (local call out doctor), The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and the University of Kent.

Most recently we have welcomed a new tenant: BB7 (a fire protection consultant). With the building having a unique ground space, The Old Surgery has undergone a big face lift, tailoring the interior of the building to BB7’s needs.

Speaking to Ian Jones, Facilities Manager here at the Dockyard: “We sat down and devised a refurbishment plan with BB7 to tailor the building for their needs. Following this, we’ve gone through and fitted new toilets and showers, the building has been rewired, the heating system has been overhauled, there has been a new fire alarm system installed, the roof has been insulated and LED lighting has been fitted for energy saving. This building has evolved a lot throughout the years and with these latest refurbishments it fits perfectly with BB7’s working pattern.”

This has been quite the project for the team, with updates happening over a number of months. Ensuring that the environment was homely was a top priority for BB7.  The renovations are now complete and BB7 has settled in.

Image: Exterior of The Old Surgery, March 2022


Image: The new kitchen and social space at the heart of The Old Surgery, February 2022.


Katie Frisby from BB7 said: “We fell in love with the main room, we called this the hub, and really liked the big skylight windows and how airy this room was. We could see our teams using this as a breakout space as well as one that would be good for hosting training sessions or having a catch up with a colleague on the sofa. Due to its unique structure, this could only be achieved in a building like The Old Surgery with careful renovation work.

Image: Office space before BB7 moved in, February 2022.

Image: The new social space, February 2022.

Image: The open plan working desks, photo taken just before BB7 moved in, February 2022.

The navy blue colour scheme on some storage facilities, corners of the building and parts of the walls fit the company’s corporate colours, keeping everything on brand for when clients visit. The backdrop of a historic dockyard does add an extra talking point for clients and provides a constant inspiration for our staff. The site itself is beautiful and I know the team can’t wait to enjoy it.”

Image: The open plan working space, photo taken just before BB7 moved in, February 2022.

Image: Exterior of the Surgery, March 2022.

We are delighted to welcome BB7 to the Dockyard community.
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