C is for Chatham
Chatham (often referred to as Chats) was one of Britain's three naval bases - the others being Portsmouth and Plymouth. It was located on the River Medway.
Here's a map so you can see them in relation to each other.
Wikipedia tells us that Chatham was set up as a Royal Dockyard by Elizabeth 1 in 1567. Perhaps the most famous vessel to be built in this dockyard is HMS Victory now housed at Portsmouth.
Chatham was attacked by the Dutch in 1667 in the Raid on the Medway. They burned ships and carried off the flagship HMS Royal Charles, part of which can still be seen in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. How galling.
This is what the Dockyard looked like circa 1890
|The Dockyard Chatham, England, Library of Congress. No known copyright restrictions.|
The last warship to be built at Chatham was the Oberon-class submarine the HMCS Okanagan in 1966 according to this post here. The dockyard closed in 1984.
The Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham were called HMS Pembroke.
And last but not least, one of my favourite TV shows was filmed in the Chatham Dockyard - Call the Midwife.
I found some interesting YouTube videos. The first one doesn't have any sound but I am impressed by how clear the footage is.
The next piece of footage gives you an idea of what it was like to work in the dockyard in the 1960s.
Alex talks about feeling like he'd gone back to Dickens days when he first started in the dockyards. Funnily enough, Charles Dickens lived in Chatham as a boy and remembers it fondly. As is the way of the world, Alex's old workplace is now a shopping centre.
This has been composed as part of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge which is taking place this month.
Lambert, Andrew, War at Sea in the Age of Sail, Cassell, London, 2000
Lavery, Brian, Able Seamen – The lower deck of the Royal Navy 1850-1939, Conway, London, 2011