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Grant will encourage more to ‘learn the ropes’ at dockyard

Culture fund promises £177,500 to help bring visitors back to Chatham's historic dockyard

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust is pleased to announce that the Garfield Weston Foundation Culture Fund has awarded the charity a grant of £177,500 to support the rebuilding of audiences following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The crucial funding will be used to support the redevelopment of the popular Victorian Ropery gallery at dockyard, telling the 400-year-old story of ropemaking in the town – a process that continues to this day.

The project will see improved interpretation within the gallery and the integration of a newly acquired collection of objects from the Museum of Knots and Sailors’ Ropeworks. The enhanced experience will also allow an increase in the number of visitors able to access the guided tours of the Ropery complex each day. It is anticipated the project will commence towards the end of this year and open to the public in 2022.

Funding from this grant will also support a new temporary exhibition in No.1 Smithery gallery for the 2021 visitor season. The exhibition, entitled “Hidden Heroines: the untold stories of the women of the dockyard,” will explore the valuable roles women played throughout the dockyard’s history, right up to the present. Further details of this exhibition will be announced shortly.

“We are delighted that the Garfield Weston Foundation has chosen to support us during what continues to be a very challenging time for our industry. This support will enable us to enhance our gallery spaces and find new ways to tell the fascinating stories of the Historic Dockyard Chatham, reach wider audiences, and assist our post COVID-19 recovery. The Garfield Weston Foundation has previously funded a number of projects for the Trust, including No.1 Smithery and Command of the Oceans and we are delighted the Foundation has been able to provide support once again.”

Richard Morsley, chief executive, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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