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Steam rollers and traction at Festival of Steam and Transport 2013 003It’s Full Steam Ahead to The Historic Dockyard Chatham, as thousands plan to travel to one of the South East’s biggest and best events – The Medway Festival of Steam and Transport  

Visitors to the Medway Festival of Steam and Transport being held at The Historic Dockyard Chatham on Easter Sunday and Monday, 20th and 21st April, are in for a real treat this year as one of the South East’s favourite events gets bigger and better still! 

Returning to the Dockyard are the spectacular sights, sounds and smell of steam as traction engines and locomotives rumble by.  Hundreds of classic and vintage vehicles, live music across the site, penny farthing and land train rides will delight all ages and the interactive Modelling Zone with planes, trains, automobiles and boats of the miniature variety will captivate visitors!  Also returning is the Airfix “make & take” model building area, where children can experience building a model kit for free.

Children’s indoor soft play and outdoor play areas gives little Dockyard visitors a chance to let off some steam of their own!  Dotted across the site there will plenty of themed places to eat and opportunities to buy that special Easter gift.  All the attractions and galleries of The Historic Dockyard will be open to visit, as part of the event.

Steampunk1Due to popular demand, the Steampunks with their unusual Neo-Victorian costumes and steam powered wacky gadgets will return and have moved to the bigger venue on the Mezzanine floor, under the roof of the awe-inspiring 3 Slip: The BIG Space.  ‘Steampunk Central’ will provide a colourful and imaginative world with vendors offering Steampunk fashions, accessories, gadgets, and books; and the Steampunk Morris team will perform, together with an exhibition of Steampunk art installations.

Sixties and Rockabilly live music featuring “Like…The Beatles” and many others will entertain the crowds while they are surrounded by our new category of Hot Rod and Drag cars, with American saloon vehicles and trucks.  Live Folk and Blues music will fill the air on Museum Square with Skiffle band “Hobo Jones & the Junkyard Dogs”, as seen at Glastonbury Festival, plus many others to entertain you throughout the day.

The new temporary exhibition in No. 1 Smithery: The Gallery “A Squash and a Squeeze: Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldson” is perfect for families!  Visitors’ children can follow in Toddle Waddle’s footsteps, climb into the cave with the Cave Baby and meet The Gruffalo; sing-a-long to songs on Julia’s Jukebox or perform a play on the stage.

CallTheMidwifeAn exclusive opportunity is provided to take a walking tour around the location for the popular TV drama series ‘Call the Midwife’ and see how areas of the Dockyard were transformed to become the perfect backdrop for the programme.  The Dockyard ‘Midwives’ will lead the tour taken through the cobblestoned ‘Poplar’ Dockyard Streets with period vehicles, hanging washing lines and bicycles and music will recreate the special 1950s atmosphere, as it was for filming.  The perfect opportunity for the avid fan.

For a special treat, Easter Afternoon Tea in can be taken in the splendid Georgian glamour of Commissioner’s House.  Vintage crockery, 1950’s music and set dressed as the ‘Grosvenor Hotel’ featured in the second series of Call The Midwife.  Spaces are limited so to avoid disappointment, bookings should be made in advance by calling 01634 823846 to check availability and to make a reservation.  Alternatively there will be refreshments available in the Pavilion Marquee, plus good wholesome home cooked foods to enjoy from Wheelwrights’ Restaurant, The Railway Workshop and several catering units across the site.

Early Bird discounted tickets are now available to purchase online or from The Historic Dockyard Chatham. For more information go to www.thedockyard.co.uk/steamandtransport

……by a ship of the Royal Navy since 1984 – a real Salute to the ‘40s!

HMS CAVALIER, The Historic Dockyard Chatham’s very own Second World War destroyer, will mark her own “Salute to the ‘40s” by firing a ‘broadside’ using all three of her 4.5” guns at 12.00 noon on Saturday 15th September, the first day of the Salute to the ‘40s event.

The last broadsides fired from operational Royal Navy ships were by HMS LONDON as she returned to the UK before paying off in February 1982 and HMS ZULU on paying off in 1984. Three rounds will be fired from A, B and Y guns on board HMS CAVALIER by the Historic Naval Gun Crew, a group of re-enactor volunteers who have assisted in restoring the ship’s guns and who will also re-create Captain’s Defaulters and bring the ship to life over the weekend of the Salute to the ‘40s event.

HMS CAVALIER was one of ninety-six war emergency destroyers built for the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Awarded the Battle Honour ‘Arctic 1945’ for operations off northern Norway and in support of the homeward-bound Russian convoy RA64, CAVALIER later operated in the Western Approaches, undertaking duties which included the high-speed escort of the liners-turned-troopships RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth.

HMS CAVALIER, together with an adjacent bronze monument is now the National Destroyer Memorial 1939-1945 marking the very special contribution made by these ships and the men who served in them.
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Visitors to Upnor Castle can catch an open-air children’s theatre special in the last week of the summer holidays.
Upnor Castle and 2G Productions present a potted panto of Robin Hood on Wednesday, 29 August. The production begins at 2pm in the castle gardens, with more children’s entertainment going on throughout the day. More

Another fantastic award that reflects the ‘Excellence’ of The Historic Dockyard Chatham. The world’s largest travel website, TripAdvisor, has recognised the high standards found at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, following the maritime heritage attraction’s exceptional traveller reviews. The TripAdvisor ‘Certificate of Excellence’ awards businesses that consistently earn top rankings from the website’s large community of reviewers and cites “with a high rating, The Historic Dockyard Chatham has earned a place amongst the very best”. More

Ship repairs, told first-hand, is the subject of a talk at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre next week. More

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