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chdtbeatlesIt’s Full Steam Ahead to The Historic Dockyard Chatham this Easter, 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 Festival 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!

The Medway Festival of Steam and Transport is back this year with an injection of even more music to complement the classic and vintage vehicles across the 80 acre site. Visitors will be treated to a variety of music on two main stages located within a historical setting.

The Victorian Warship HMS GANNET, No. 3 Slip and No. 1 Smithery will encapsulate the Folk and Blues Stage, surrounded by vehicles dating from 1901 to 1930 and Steam Traction Engines, where visitors will be entertained with lively and toe tapping folk and blues music.

Acts performing to the crowds include: Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs an ‘off the rails’ skiffle band, well known on the Glastonbury Festival scene, with their quirky and comedic act playing music with wash boards, soap boxes, banjos and guitars and CoCo and the Butterfields, provide something a little different. A five piece band with a unique fusion of folk, pop and hip hop or ‘Fip Fok’ they are not to be missed! Funke and the Two Tone Baby a talented multi-instrumentalist will entertain with his mechanical alt-blues music; Kentish band The Flowing play alternative and folk songs with a range of instruments; and performances from Larkspur with their mix of lively traditional and modern folk music, will ensure that visitors will not be disappointed.

The River Medway sets the scene for a second stage, backed by the beautiful Commissioner’s House. This Sixties and Rockabilly Stage will be flanked by vehicles from the 1960’s, hot rods, trucks and American vehicles and this area will have an American Diner feel to it where visitors can rock ‘n’ roll the weekend away!

Acts on this stage include: Scarlett Rae and the Cherry Reds who perform a fusion of blues, rockabilly and jazz; Like…The Beatles bringing visitors the most accurate and fun Beatles tribute act in the UK, take a trip down memory lane; making a welcome return Thee Waltons, a playful act with a unique blend of hillbilly rock ‘n’ roll; The Kick-Backs are a six piece rock, funk and soul band with sing-a-long covers; The Scalextrics are a new-wave punk rock band with hits from the ‘60s, ’70s and ‘80s; and performances from Leroy and the Rockets with impressive credits in the music industry, be entertained with a mix of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and blues.

With such an impressive festival line up set to come to the Medway Towns, visitors are being encouraged to buy their discounted tickets in advance to avoid the queues, to enjoy their music filled Easter weekend at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. For more information and tickets, go to

Exploring Antarctica: The Final Expeditions of Scott and Shackleton

Credit: Royal Geographical Society

Credit: Royal Geographical Society

An exhibition of the ultimate expeditions of both Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton – charted through the words, photographs and artefacts of those who survived and those who perished in this most hostile of environments – is being shown at The Historic Dockyard Chatham in No. 1 Smithery: The Gallery from 24 May until 30 August. This exhibition is in association with The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) with artefacts from the Scott Polar Research Institute, Royal Museums Greenwich and Royal Engineers Museum Library and Archive. More

Inside one of the Slips (As seen in Sherlock Holmes)

Mr Bill Ferris OBE in front of the fantastic No1 Smithery

The Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its ‘Command of the Oceans’ project, it was announced today. At the heart of this new £8.4m project will be ‘the ship beneath the floor’ which focuses on the conservation and long-term preservation of the remains of a highly significant warship with important associations with 18th and early 19th century people and events. The project will become the gateway to Chatham’s world class naval and military heritage, providing a sense of arrival, orientation, navigation to dispersed sites and interpretation. Command of the Oceans will create a new focus for community engagement in Chatham’s world class heritage. HLF has given development funding of £116,300 at this stage to assist The Historic Dockyard Chatham in progressing its plans to seek approval for the full £4.5m grant at the second round.

The project will reconnect some of Chatham’s earliest features including the North and South Mast Ponds constructed in 1696 and 1702, the adjacent ‘Mast Houses and Mould Loft’, and ‘Wheelwright Shop’. This redevelopment work will provide visitors with a four and a half hectare, free to enter heritage gateway and improved entrance to the Dockyard in the mast pond area, and in doing so make the most of the important mast making monuments. This new space will encourage everyone to explore the history of the dockyard and its defences and also form the starting point for a series of discovery trails.

Bill Ferris OBE, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said; “This is fantastic news, we are thrilled that we have received the Stage One pass from Heritage Lottery Fund, an organisation which has already done so much in supporting the heritage of this amazing place. Visitors’ overall experience when going to see The Historic Dockyard Chatham and the wider world class military and naval heritage in Medway will be dramatically improved through the provision of a new and very much enhanced sense of arrival, with layered orientation and interpretation – appropriate to arrival at a destination of outstanding historic significance. However, the hard work is yet to come and we are ready for it! We must raise £4m within 15 months to enable us to match the £4.5m allocation from Heritage Lottery Fund to complete the project. We are currently in negotiations with a significant funder to cover the majority of the remainder”.

Work being carried out on the mast of HMS Gannet

< Mr Ferris continued; “We will be making an exciting announcement about this project here at The Historic Dockyard Chatham on Friday 17th August. The name of our ‘ship beneath the floor’ and its major historic significance to Britain’s ‘command of the oceans’ will be revealed!”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said:

“The Historic Dockyard at Chatham is an extraordinary site that charts Britain’s impressive naval history. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be giving our initial support for the ‘Command of the Oceans’ project which includes plans to dramatically improve the visitor experience at Chatham and reveal important archaeological finds for the first time. We are looking forward to seeing these exciting and innovative plans develop over the next few months.”


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