The Naval Dockyards Society: The First Fifteen Years
Free (open access)
3 - 14
J. D. Davies
The Naval Dockyards Society was formed in 1997. As well as placing a strong emphasis on research into the history of dockyards and the civil side of naval history worldwide, it has become involved in a number of important development issues, particularly in the UK. This paper traces the society’s involvement through a number of case studies (Gibraltar, Sheerness, Chatham, Deptford and Plymouth), assesses its successes and failures, and draws conclusions about the problems and opportunities presented by dockyard heritage. Keywords: Chatham, Deptford, Devonport, dockyards, Gibraltar, heritage, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Royal Navy, Sheerness. 1 Introduction The Naval Dockyards Society (www.navaldockyards.org) was formed in 1997 as a result of an idea developed by Dr Ann Coats, the first secretary, and Dr Philip MacDougall, the first newsletter editor, both of whom had specialised in dockyard history for many years: ‘its aims were literally drafted on the back of an envelope on the kitchen table’ . The inaugural meeting took place at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, on 14 September 1996 followed by a meeting to adopt the constitution on 1 March 1997. The society’s creation was greatly assisted by Dr Roger Knight, Assistant Director of the National Maritime Museum, and Peter Dawson of Chatham Dockyard Historical Society, who became the first Chairman following the unfortunate death of the Chairmandesignate, Keith Slade, shortly before the first meeting. By the end of 1997 there were 89 members, a figure which has increased to the current total of nearly 200.
Chatham, Deptford, Devonport, dockyards, Gibraltar, heritage, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Royal Navy, Sheerness.