Naval Dockyards Society

Exploring the civil branches of navies & their material culture



NDS Tour

There will be an exclusive NDS  ‘Behind the Scenes Tour’ run by Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust Support Group on the 1 July 2017. Click here for Description/Booking Form.

Jutland Conference

Should you be interested and/or planning to partake in the Three Day Jutland Conference in Portsmouth on the 31 May to 2 June 2017, you will find details at

BNRA Conference

The Britannia Naval Research Association are holding their 15th Oxford Symposium on the 20th May 2017. Click here Flyer and Programme.

Thames River Crossings Conference

We have been informed that the Docklands History Group’s Thames River Crossings Conference on 13 May will now be held at the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN, and not the Museum of London Docklands as originally intended. The times and the programme remain as before.

If you would like to attend the conference but have not already booked, see   We understand that bookings are going well and the conference will be well-attended but spaces are still available for those who have not already booked.  It promises to be a very interesting day.

6 May 2017


A tour on 25-28 June of Den Helder, Fort Kijkduin and Texel following the Anglo Dutch Conference of 23 and 24 June 2017

As announced below (on the 21 January) at the ‘The Dutch Raid on Chatham Dockyard in 1667: its Anglo-Dutch Context and Legacy’ a 3 day exclusive maritime tour of the Dutch Naval Base at Den Helder, Fort Kijkduin (part of the Dutch Defence Lines) and the award-winning Kaap Skil Maritime Museum on Texel will be conducted which features behind-the-scenes tours with local guides, staying in a mid-price central Den Helder hotel.

Click here for a two page flyer for further details and booking form

6 March 2017

Remedial action for Portsmouth Dockyard Buildings at Risk

After noting for too long that there had been no progress in conserving many buildings at risk in Portsmouth Dockyard, the NDS Committee decided to send a letter the Ministry of Defence to begin a dialogue about conserving and re-using its most vulnerable buildings.

Evidence shows that the MoD is falling short of government legislation and guidance to maintain its historic dockyard buildings to a ‘good’ standard.

The committee hopes that a cultural collaboration of stakeholders can help set up a MoD Conservation Group or a Heritage Partnership Agreement to resolve reported inconsistencies, deliver sustainable solutions creatively and accomplish what has not been achieved by the MoD in Portsmouth Dockyard in the last ten years.

Click here for Press Release and Letter to MoD.

We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions.

Dr Ann Coats FRHistS, Hon. Chair Naval Dockyards Society,

20 February 2017



There is still time to submit to the forthcoming Symposium on Dockyard Workers’ Experiences. If you have worked in the Royal Dockyards in the postwar period and want to share your experiences, please click here for Call for Papers at this Symposium to be held on the 29 April 2017

Last steel casting in Portsmouth Dockyard, 1982

Last steel casting in Portsmouth Dockyard, 1982. – Image by Celia Clark


13 February 2017



The Vrienden van de Witt (NL) and the Naval Dockyards Society (UK) announce a major international conference to be held in Amsterdam on 23-24 June 2017, commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on Chatham Dockyard and the River Medway. This action, which culminated in the capture of the flagship Royal Charles, has traditionally been regarded as one of the most remarkable feats in the annals of naval history, and as one of the worst military defeats ever suffered by Britain.
The conference will be held at the Marine Etablissement (naval barracks) in Amsterdam, and conference proceedings will be held in English. Keynote speakers are Dr David Onnekink (Utrecht University) and Professor Henk den Heijer, (Professor Emeritus, Leiden University); the summary and conclusions will be provided by Professor John Hattendorf (US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island).
The conference will address a wide range of themes, including the causes and course of the second Anglo-Dutch war, early modern naval warfare and ideologies, the Dutch and British navies, dockyards and other naval facilities in the two countries, Dutch amphibious tactics during the Chatham attack, British responses to that attack, and the legacies and commemoration of the Dutch raid.
Other speakers are: Dr Marc van Alphen (Netherlands Institute of Military History, The Hague), Dr Richard Blakemore (University of Reading), Dr Ann Coats (University of Portsmouth and the Naval Dockyards Society), Dr Remmelt Daalder (Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam), Dr David Davies (Historian and author, Society for Nautical Research, Navy Records Society), Dr Alan Lemmers (Netherlands Institute of Military History, The Hague), Dr Philip MacDougall (historian and author, NDS), Erik Odegard (Leiden University), Dr Gijs Rommelse (Utrecht University, Fellow of the Scheepvaartmuseum), Professor Louis Sicking (Leiden University/Free University) and Dr Chris Ware (University of Greenwich)

3-day optional Tour Den Helder, Fort Kijkduin, Kaap Skil Maritime Museum, the Texel, Sun 25/Wed 28 June 2017.

The party will travel to Den Helder on Sunday 25 June by train (1¼ hours) and stay in a hotel in Den Helder for nights Sunday 25, Mon 26 to Tues 27

Further details can be obtained from Dr Ann Coats,, or at Conferences. For Booking Form click on Anglo-Dutch Conference Booking Form.


1. No embargo: for immediate release
2. The Vrienden van de Witt is a Dutch organisation which exists to commemorate and promote the legacies of the great seventeenth century statesmen, the brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt. The Vrienden engage in a number of philanthropic activities. Further details can be found at their website (Dutch),
3. The Naval Dockyards Society is a UK-based international organisation which aims to explore the civil branches of navies and their material culture. Further details can be found at its website,

25 January 2017

The Dutch Raid on Chatham Dockyard in 1667: its Anglo-Dutch Context and Legacy

Venue: Marine Etablissement (Naval Barracks) Amsterdam
Dates: Friday 23rd–Saturday 24th June 2017

To mark the 20th anniversary of the NDS constitutional meeting, the NDS committee has planned a more ambitious event than usual. This prestigious conference aims to raise the profile of recent Anglo-Dutch scholarship and publish new conclusions. Organised by Vrienden van De Witt – Friends of De Witt – and the Naval Dockyards Society, this bilateral conference (in English) will focus on the 350th anniversary of the Dutch raid on the River Medway and commemorate Anglo-Dutch relations, seapower and naval facilities.

Day 1 Anglo-Dutch relations in the seventeenth century: causes of the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War
Day 2 Dutch raid on the River Medway and its aftermath

Conference fee: 1 day £27.00/2 days £45.00; FT student 1 day: £9.00/2 days: £18
Conference Dinner £34.00 optional extra

Sunday 25 June-to Tuesday 27 June 2017: 3-day optional Tour Den Helder, Fort Kijkduin, the Texel. Cost & further details to be announced. N.B. You would then return to UK Wednesday 28 June 2017.

3-day optional Tour Den Helder, Fort Kijkduin, Kaap Skil Maritime Museum, the Texel, Sun 25/Tues 27 June 2017.

The party will travel to Den Helder on Sunday 25 June by train (1¼ hours) and stay in a hotel in Den Helder for nights Sunday 25, Mon 26  and Tues 27 June.

Sunday 25 June Sail Den Helder 2017 Tall ships

Mon 26 June (am) visit Fort Kijkduin at Huisduinen to put the coast, harbour, port, Texel Roads and the C17–19 fortifications into perspective

Mon 26 June (pm) visit Den Helder Marinemuseum / Willemsoord / Nationaal Reddingmuseum

Tues 27 June (am) take the ferry to the Texel and bus to the award-winning Kaap Skil Maritime-and-Beachcombers-Museum at Oudeschild

Tues 27 June (pm) take the ferry from the Texel to Den Helder

Wed 28 June (am) Return to Amsterdam by train (1¼ hours), then train to Schipol for flight home ; ; ; ; ;

To link the tour to the Conference read

The British Fleet at the Battle of the Texel / Kijkduin, 11/21 August 1673 – Part 1
Posted by J D Davies on 09/05/2016
The British Fleet at the Battle of the Texel / Kijkduin, 11/21 August 1673 – Part 1

The British Fleet at the Battle of the Texel / Kijkduin, 11/21 August 1673 – Part 2
Posted by J D Davies on 16/05/2016
The British Fleet at the Battle of the Texel / Kijkduin, 11/21 August 1673 – Part 2

Texel 341, Part 3
Posted by J D Davies on 01/09/2014
Texel 341, Part 3

Watch this space for more details
21 January 2017

Twenty-first Annual Symposium National Maritime Museum Greenwich 29 April 2017

Dockyard Workers’ Experiences

We shall learn about men’s and women’s experience, knowledge and recollections of how Royal Dockyards were managed and operated in the post-war period. We shall also find out about the social context: clubs, associations, meal break activities, travel to and from work, trades union activity, specialised trades’ language, local lore and expressions, attitudes to naval personnel, promotion, theft, apprentice teasing, launch ceremonies, accidents, etc.

Click here for Symposium Booking Form

Papers are required for the Symposium. Click here for: Dockyard Workers , Call for Papers

18 January 2017

20th Century Naval Dockyards: Devonport and Portsmouth Characterisation Report

Coats, A., Davies, J. D., Evans, D., and Riley, R. (2015)
Portsmouth: Naval Dockyards Society
ISBN 978-0-9929292-0-6
ebook ISBN 978-0-9929292-2-0

After three years’ work by the NDS research team this report was published in 2015, launched on 13 November at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth.

This extensive report is the product of three years of sustained archival and field research into the C20 built environment of these dockyards by members of the Naval Dockyards Society, completed to Historic England standards. It contains 650 maps, plans, models and photographs, many in colour, and is enriched by discussions with many institutions, societies and individuals.

It places C20 dockyards within historical, military, industrial, material, personnel, engineering and architectural contexts. Developing the local, national and international profiles of Devonport and Portsmouth dockyards, it adds to our knowledge and understanding of why and how they changed during the C20 and initiates future research by asking questions.

An important baseline reference book for the future interpretation and management of the two remaining operational English dockyards, it distinguishes which buildings are typical of the C20 naval dockyards and of unique interest, combining data, narrative and analysis.

See C20 Naval Dockyards for downloadable copy of the Report

The digital archive of 20th Century Naval Dockyards Devonport and Portsmouth has been made available by the Archaeology Data Service, University of York, funded by Historic England,

16 February 2016