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Commissioner’s House in the Historic Dockyard, Chatham, is the oldest naval building to survive intact and in use in Britain today. It was built in 1704 to house the Resident Commissioner, his family and servants. A member of the Navy Board but resident at Chatham, the Commissioner was responsible for the day-to-day running of the dockyard. The house has changed little since it was built, although some internal modifications have been made. The principle feature internally is the main staircase with its magnificent ceiling painting. Painted on wood it depicts an assembly of the gods and was originally in the Great Cabin of the first-rate ship Royal Sovereign. Although attributed to Thomas Highmore (Sergeant Painter to William III) some of the sketch work is known to be by Sir James Thornhill. More


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