Naval Dockyards Society

Exploring the civil branches of navies & their material culture


Deptford public meeting 2001. Image by Ann Coats.

Deptford public meeting 2001. Image by Ann Coats.

At first the society did not envisage a specifically campaigning rôle within heritage, notwithstanding the existence of an expert knowledge base within our membership. However, to quote David Davies (2012), its ‘aim and objectives gradually came to be interpreted as permitting – indeed, impelling – it to intervene in important development issues on dockyard and other naval-related sites, a number of which arose during the 2000s.’

In collaboration with a wide range of national and international organizations, the NDS has responded to planning applications, its documents forming part of the public record. Some campaigns have been successful in that proposals which would have damaged historic structures were rejected by the respective planning committees or public bodies, such as Deptford 2004, Gorran Haven 2007, Sheerness 2008 and 2010, and Bermuda dockyard houses 2012. Some have failed, such as Gibraltar Rosia Bay Water Tanks 2006, Chatham Slipway 2010 and Devonport South Yard 2010, but in the process have widened debatesand understanding of dockyard heritage.

Deptford Dockyard/Convoys Wharf 2004 and ongoing
Sheerness Dockyard Residential Quarter/Dockyard Chapel 2005 and ongoing
Gibraltar Rosia Bay Water Tanks 2006, Rosia Bay Victualling Storehouse 2015
Gorran Haven Fishing Cellars 2007
Devonport South Yard /Plymouth Naval Base Museum 2009 and ongoing
Chatham Slipway 2010
Bermuda Dockyard houses 2012 and ongoing

Some of these are described in detail in this section.