Chatham Historic Dockyard

BookChatham Historic Dockyard

Chatham Historic Dockyard

World Power to Resurgence

Historic England


June 15th, 2021





Nowhere in the world is it possible to see such an intact naval dockyard for the building and maintenance of the ships of the sailing navy as at Chatham. This book, edited by Neil Cossons, Jonathan Coad, Andrew Lambert, Paul Hudson and Paul Jardine - all experts in their fields - brings together their combined knowledge to tell the dockyard’s history, from Elizabethan origins to fleet base and shipbuilding yard, from sail to steel to submarines. They set out the extraordinary scale of the legacy and the challenges of the future once the yard closed in the 1980s.
This is a story of the creation of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and the management of an outstanding historic asset for the benefit of the public. Profusely illustrated, it is the first authoritative account of how Chatham’s dockyard was saved for the nation and managed for nearly forty years to exemplary standards.

"By 1984, the navy no longer needed Chatham Dockyard. This book describes its place in history and how one of the largest and most complex conservation projects has transformed the site into a successful re-born place where people visit, work, live and relax. The story is told by people closely involved throughout the project as a fascinating account of regeneration from which future projects have much to learn.” Peter Kendall, former Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Historic England

'This seminal, splendidly illustrated, and affordable book packs a punch... [It] presents a finely honed essence of lessons learned at Chatham in creating an authentic, unique and sustainable conservation and business model for a complex industrial site... It is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in naval dockyards.'
Dr Ann Coats, Naval Dockyards Society

'The collection of essays brought together in this publication by Neil Cossons provides a well-illustrated account of the history of [Chatham Dockyard].'
Paul Smith, TICCIH Bulletin

Author Information

Sir Neil Cossons OBE FSA is a British historian, whose career includes being Director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Director of the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Director of the Science Museum London, and Chairman of English Heritage.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Preface: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Patron of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust
Foreword: Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE DL, Chairman of the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust
1 The Chatham endeavour, Neil Cossons
2 ‘The chief arsenal of the Royal Navy and of Great Britain’: Chatham, the Royal Navy and the wider world, Andrew Lambert
3 ‘The most complete dockyard of the age of sail’, Jonathan Coad
4 The challenge of the future, Paul Hudson
5 Preservation through reuse, Paul Jardine
6 Policy into practice, Richard Holdsworth
List of contributors