A Trip to the Dickens’ Centre and Chatham Dockyard.

By Arthur Cox


It was 27th September 2014 and my two daughters, Nicola Wright and Isobel Reynolds took me for a birthday treat on a visit to Chatham.

No notes were written at that time but some photos were taken.

Notes from Facebook read:
27 September 2014 at 07:27
Arthur Cox:- Up early this morning – feeding the cats, having coffee and doing word puzzles and then watching golden-fingered Dawn spreading her light across the land. Off to buy the newspaper and then back to hang out the washing. Time for breakfast soon.

27 Sep 2014
Nicola Wright:- Had a lovely day at Dickens World and Chatham Dockyard with my Dad Arthur Cox and sister Isobel Reynolds. Would not have been possible without our other sister Tansy Peters staying home to keep Mum company. Happy Birthday Dad x

So what can I recall now two whole years later? My thanks to Isobel for adding some notes – things that I had forgotten.

We set off from Latchingdon and went via A13 to the Dartford Crossing and thence to Chatham. First to the Dickens’ Centre where we booked our tickets for a visit. It was very well laid out with scenes from various books by Dickens and the life at the time. We had a good guide and there were various other characters dressed for the time. In the school room setting Nicola and Isobel got into trouble with the teacher and had to sit at the back of the room facing the wall. We were talking in class without permission! Isobel recalls that we all found this very funny indeed.

10393797_10152666813888808_3025035883347998140_n1Arthur and Isobel in the Dicken’s Centre

10460821_10152666820328808_2511181994299874147_n1A Street Scene at Night

10599531_10152666816948808_8093238641095545735_n1A Grocer’s Shop

10639440_10152666815038808_5854629152412817126_n1A Shop from one of Dicken’s stories

Afterwards we went to a nearby Nados restaurant – a type new to me.

In the afternoon we went to see the nearby Dockyard. This was my second trip, the first being the previous year with Isobel.

We looked at the sailing ship (HMS Gannet) and went aboard.
From Wikipedia: HMS Gannet was a Royal Navy Doterel-class screw sloop launched on 31 August 1878. She became a training ship in the Thames in 1903, and was then lent as a training ship for boys in the Hamble from 1913. She was preserved in 1987 and is now part of the UK’s National Historic Fleet.
10425429_10152666822058808_958836321752734387_n1(picture of Isobel and Arthur posing behind a screen of sailors)
This ship was being repainted inside and some parts were not available.
rhs_gannetPicture from Wikipedia

We didn’t visit the Rope Walk because we had seen that on the previous visit.

HM Submarine Ocelot we didn’t visit because we had seen that on the previous visit.

We also spent time in the museum which we had not visited on the trip the year before.

The Wooden Walls of England exhibition we had also seen on the previous visit. This shows how the old wooden ships were designed and how the timbers were laid out according to full scale drawings on the floor.

Ref the setting out of new ships: a ship built at Chatham Dockyard and on which served William Cox, my grandfather.

HMS IMPREGNABLE 2nd rate. 98 guns. 2,406 bm, 3880 tons.
197 x 53.5 ft. Chatham Dockyard 1.8.1810.
Converted to Training ship 1862.
Renamed KENT 9.11.1888
Renamed CALEDONIA 22.9.1891.
Sold 10.7.1906 to Castle.

William Cox, RN 17935, was serving on this ship from 31 July 1883 until 4 January 1889.

1902826_10152666818453808_6701569777532264262_n1And a final scene from the Dicken’s Centre
Here is a link to the pages about the previous visit. Click HERE.


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