Arrow-Left arrow-down arrow-down arrow-down Arrow-Left Arrow-02-Left Arrow-02-Right arrow-up Arrow-Rightbig-left-arrow big-right-arrow close Cloudydirections eye Facebook Hail-StoneArrow-Left image-icon twitter-inline instagram-inline Linkedin Mail mark MistNightPartly-Cloudy-Night-TimePartly-CloudyRainscroll-arrow search-01 SleetSnowspeech SunnyThunder-LighteningTripAdvisor TripAdvisor twitter-inline twitter video-iconYouTube

TATTOO: British Tattoo Art Revealed

25 Jul 2020 - 4 Oct 2020

New exhibition for Summer 2020

... now open

The incredible exhibition, Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed, was installed in our No.1 Smithery gallery in March but, a week before we were due to open the doors and celebrate our blockbuster show, Britain went into lockdown due to COVID-19 and the Dockyard sadly had to close its gates to the public.

The exhibition has been sat in the dark for four months but we’re delighted to announce it is now OPEN!

Book tickets

Admission into Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed is FREE as part of an entry ticket to The Historic Dockyard.

At this time we are operating additional safety measures to keep all our visitors safe. It is essential for everyone book a ticket (including annual ticket holders) with a date and arrival time prior to a visit. The number of tickets available each day is limited to allow us to control the number of visitors within The Historic Dockyard site.

Take a few moments to read our KNOW BEFORE YOU GO page for the latest information.

Please note: we ask that face coverings are worn within all covered spaces, this includes Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed, to ensure your own safety and that of others (children under 11 are exempt).

The exhibition

Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed offers a ground-breaking insight into the history of British tattooing. Featuring over 400 original artworks, photographs and historic artefacts, it tells a story that challenges the most deeply-held myths and pre-conceptions about tattooing.

From ruffians to royalty; from sailors to socialites; from pilgrims to punks: tattoos have been etched into bodies throughout British history. Displaying the work of major tattoo artists, including George Burchett, via the Bristol Tattoo ClubAlex Binnie and Lal Hardy, the exhibition showcases the largest gathering of real objects and original tattoo artwork ever assembled in the UK.

Cutting edge designers, leading academics and major private collectors have all come together to tell a story that challenges long-standing myths and preconceptions. The exhibition features items from three of the most important private collections of tattoo material in Britain – belonging to Paul ‘Rambo’ Ramsbottom, Willie Robinson, and Jimmie Skuse.

Delving into previously unseen private archives that reveal hidden histories, the exhibition includes the incredible story of Britain’s pioneering female tattoo artist, Jessie Knight, who was mentored by the world-famous, Chatham-based, Charlie Bell.

Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed has been curated by Dr Matt Lodder, lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Director of American Studies at the University of Essex, supported by co-curators Stuart Slade and Derryth Ridge of National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

During lockdown we created a virtual edition of the exhibition and whilst we don’t want to spoil your experience of seeing the exhibition first hand, you may wish to browse the exhibits in advance of your visit…

What's On


The Historic Dockyard Chatham is now open to visitors.

For your safety, and in line with the latest government guidelines, things will be different from your last visit and there will be a few changes to how you’ll explore our 80-acre site. Please take a moment to read our ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO‘ information.

If you have any queries that are not answered on this page, please contact us via 

If you are trying to contact us via telephone, we are experiencing a high volume of calls and we ask for your patience during this time.