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Archeological remains of the NAMUR, the ship beneath the floorChatham Historic Dockyard Trust has received funding of £150,000 from DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement fund, in support of “Building the Future” – an element of its Command of the Oceans project, shortly due for commencement.

Within the Command of the Oceans project, The Trust faces the challenge of retelling the dockyard’s age of sail story and ensuring that the Namur, the highly significant archaeological ship’s timbers find, becomes a central element of that story. Thanks to this funding, “Building the Future” will allow the Trust to renew interpretation of the ship’s timbers as the centre piece of new age of sail galleries and improving the environmental conditions within the Wheelwrights’ Shop – benefiting visitors, the archaeological find itself and improving energy efficiency. The project will also see the creation of a new, more visible visitor entrance to The Historic Dockyard which will act as an arrival point to the wider Chatham Dockyard & its Defences site incorporating a free to enter initial interpretation and orientation ‘Discovery Zone’ in the Wheelwrights’ Shop with easy access and modern visitor facilities.

Bill Ferris OBE, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said; “The announcement of this award effectively completes the major element of our fundraising campaign for what is arguably the most significant single project undertaken by The Trust in pursuit of its own educational charitable purposes since the ‘Wooden Walls’ gallery opened in the late 1980s. Funding from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2011-15 will allow work to commence on the wider Command of the Oceans project later in 2014 and we are extremely grateful to the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund for their continued support of The Historic Dockyard Chatham.”

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Gravesham Borough Council has launched a new video magazine programme on its You Tube channel to complement its coverage of community events. The programme, called The Studio, went live this week.

The St George’s day coverage (a 30-minute “as live” video of the event) has already had around 2,000 views on You Tube and via Facebook.

The Studio is set in an imaginary penthouse on the top of the Civic Centre with commanding views over the River Thames and the Gurdwara rooftop. In reality it is “green-screened” using video and photographic techniques. There are also on-location interviews conducted by local entertainer Dan Snelgrove.

The May edition features items on the Heritage Quarter Regulatory Board vote, the £5m grant to improve recycling, an interview with the outgoing mayor Cllr Lyn Milner on her momentous Olympic and Jubilee year, an interview with Simon Annand the photographer of the Half exhibition in the Blake Gallery and a chat with Woodville manager Neil Chandler on the theatre’s 45th anniversary.

Neil reveals that some film showings in the Paul Greengrass Cinema will mark the anniversary by reverting to 1970s prices for tickets.

The new channel, which has links to its archive channel with older material, is at http://www.youtube.com/graveshamtv

Other new items there include the Pride in Gravesham awards, the scouts’ St George’s service and the opening of the new Petanque pistes at Istead Rise.

The council’s communications manager Graham Cole said: “This year we are concentrating on trying to make Connecting with the Community a reality in as many ways as we can. The advent of new smart phones and smart TVs has meant people can get information direct to their home and at pretty high quality.

“We are trying to use social media in interesting ways and the experiment with the new news magazine programme is just one of them. The big difference today is that these new channels don’t cost any money but attract relatively large audiences. The future will lead to production of local news and entertainment – sometimes with live streaming on the internet.

“It really is a case of watch this space.”

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IMG_7834Members of the Morgan Sports Car Club – South East Centre, also known as HopMog, visited The Historic Dockyard Chatham on Wednesday 1st May on one of their weekly outings to attractions and places of interest in the South East. Their twenty six classic Morgan cars were displayed on Museum Square in the centre of the maritime heritage site and also added an extra attraction for visitors to enjoy.

Alan Patterson, Group Organiser for the Morgan Sports Car Club (MSCC) said; “A huge thank you for making our visit to the Dockyard both memorable and enjoyable. The morning tour guides, Rose and Barry, were very knowledgeable and informative, and really gave us an insight as to how the dockyard worked. Steve (sorry, MR Steve!) was very entertaining throughout the Ropery tour with his grumpy foreman character and had us all in stitches. I know several of our members have upgraded to the annual ticket with the intention of returning later in the year. Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved in making it a day to remember.”

The Historic Dockyard Chatham makes a wonderful destination for car clubs to visit. Members can enjoy three historic warships, a working Ropery and four other museum galleries and attractions for the specially discounted car club admission rate. The club is given priority parking on site allowing easy access to cars during the day and also allows members’ cars to be viewed and admired by other visitors to The Historic Dockyard. Car Club bookings can be made with the Group Sales Officer on 01634 823815 or groupsales@chdt.org.uk

Other clubs booked for this year include The Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club 25 Register – Monday 13 May; BMW Motorcycle Club on Sunday 9 June; 1066 Chapter Harley Owners Group on Saturday 15 June; Alfa Romeo Owners Club on Sunday 11 August and the Porsche Club GB – Kent Region on Sunday 18 August.

All images copyright of and supplied by courtesy of Mr Patrick Boniface.

Cycling enthusiasts are encouraged to join The Mayor of Medway on an 18-mile bike ride this month.

Cllr Vaughn Hewett and the A Better Medway health improvement team are taking part in the Active Medway Cycle Groups ride on Sunday, 21 April. The route will go along the wonderful Heron Trail on the Hoo Peninsula – 18 miles of pretty countryside, mainly on cycle paths or low traffic roads. Trained ride leaders will also be on hand to assist cyclists along the route. More

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The City of Rochester Society’s popular conducted walking tours of the historic City began again on Good Friday, 29th March and continue, every Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, public holiday and festival day until the end of October. The tours start from the Visitor Information Centre in the High Street at 2.15pm and last about an hour and a half. They are the ideal way for visitor and resident alike to get to know something of Rochester’s wonderful heritage, on a gentle afternoon stroll. These tours are free of charge, but donations to Society funds are always welcome.

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