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Your Big Day Out

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Certificate of Excellence 2013 Winner The National Lottery and Heritage Lottery Fund Arts Council England

About the Ropery

The Ropery at The Historic Dockyard with its mile long Double Ropehouse is truly unique and is now the only working traditional ropewalk from the Age of Sail to survive anywhere in the world.

Inside the Ropery Sailing warships required huge amounts of rope - with First Rate ships-of-the-line like Victory needing over 30 miles of it!  Rope was used for the standing rigging that secured the masts and the running rigging that operated the sails. It was used to steer the ship, haul out its guns and minimised their recoil once fired. Without rope warships of the Age of Sail couldn’t function.

In Britain each of the four principal Royal Dockyards - Chatham, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Woolwich  - had its own ropery. Portsmouth and Woolwich ceased production in the mid 19th century after the arrival of the Steam Navy, Plymouth was blitzed during the Second World War leaving Chatham to continue making rope for the Navy until the dockyard closed in 1984. Today the art of traditional rope making is maintained at Chatham by Master Ropemakers Ltd - continuing a tradition of rope making that began on the site in 1618.

Join our costumed guides as you take our Victorian factory tour and find out what happened when women workers and mechanical spinning machines were introduced to rope making in 1864. Discover the art of rope making as you have a go on our Do- it-Yourself rope making machines. Explore the length of the Ropewalk - will you walk down its full length to find the bobbin banks…

Click here to find out more about the history and significance of the Ropery’s buildings.|

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TE, England

Info Line: +44 (0)1634 823807 Trust Office: +44 (0)1634 823800 Fax: +44 (0)1634 823801

Fully Accredited Museum - Registered as a Charity No. 292101