Naval Dockyards Society

Exploring the civil branches of navies & their material culture


Every year the Society organises a UK or overseas tour over several days, sometimes  connected with a conference, as in Malta (2007) , Bermuda (2012) and Den Helder (Amsterdam, 2017). We also typically organise a one-day UK tour each year.

Dockyards as nodes of naval architecture, maritime traditions and cultural heritage
Portsmouth 9-10 June 2022
Admiralty Library Royal Navy Naval Historical Branch: Thurs 9 June (2 tours)
Boathouse 4 Boatbuilding & Restoration Centre: Thurs 9 June/Fri 10 June
Former Police Barracks, Haslar, Gosport: Thurs 9 June/Fri 10 June
Archaeological Tours HMS Victory: Thurs 9 June/ Fri 10 June
Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust Archive Collection. Storehouse No.10: Thurs 9 June 2022 (two tours)
Portsmouth Georgian Heritage Area Tour: Fri 10 June

17-24 May 2019
Led by NDS member John Harris. The Society’s host was Dr Reg Murphy, Director Heritage Resources Antigua & Barbuda National Parks and Secretary-General of Antigua’s National Commission for UNESCO.
Ten delegates visited the 18th-century British naval dockyard at English Harbour, Shirley Heights military base, Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre, Clarence House, Betty’s Plantation, Fort Barrington, Fort James and the island capital St John’s.

To read more about this tour and view pictures, click here.

Buckler’s Hard & the Beaulieu River
22 September 2018
NDS member Mary Montagu-Scott, Director of Beaulieu Enterprises, led members on a behind-the-scenes-tour of Buckler’s Hard and shipbuilding on the Beaulieu River, followed by a river boat tour.

Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust Support Group Behind the Scenes
1 July 2017
A tour of the Historical Trust’s extensive collection of photographs, documents and artefacts arranged in Storehouse 10. Around 100 indexed volumes of dockyard employee records form an important family history resource.

Den Helder, Fort Kijkduin & the Texel
25–28 June 2017
Ann Coats led the tour of Fort Kijkduin (part of the Dutch Defence Lines), the Dutch Naval Base at Den Helder, meeting the Chair of the Museum Port Willemsoord, and ending with the award-winning Kaap Skil Maritime Museum on Texel.

For background information, 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

Chatham Dockyard: Ropery & Victorian Extension
10 September 2016
Edward Sargent led the Tour of the Ropery in morning
Philip MacDougall the Victorian Dockyard in afternoon
Evening talk by Philip MacDougall with hospitality by Chatham Dockyard Historical Society

Woolwich Arsenal and Dockyard Guided Walk
12 March 2016
Transport for London tour guide Ian Bull led the all day walk including nine historic structures. Accessible Woolwich Dockyard buildings, Thames Path to the Arsenal, past two former dry docks and a slip. Lunch at the Dial Arch pub, the interior of the Old Military Academy, a comprehensive tour of Woolwich Arsenal, behind the scenes tour of Buildings 10 and 19, Greenwich Heritage Centre

Firth of Forth Tour of Edinburgh, Leith & Rosyth Dockyard
2-6 September 2015
Rosyth Dockyard, Scottish Vintage Bus Museum, Port Edgar, Maid of the Firth to Inchcolm Island, Trinity House Leath and RY Britannia

Plymouth & Devonport Dockyard
5–8 September 2014
The Barbican, Devonport Dockyard Naval Heritage Centre, Stonehouse Royal Marine Barracks, Royal Citadel and Royal William Yard

East Anglia
6–9 September 2013
Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Dunwich, Southwold, Solebay and Burnham Thorpe

7–12 June 2012
Hamilton walking and harbour tours, Dockyard visit and St George’s and Paget Island tours

Deptford Dockyard
17 March 2012
Led by Duncan Hawkins CgMs Consultant Archaeologist, courtesy of Hutchison Whampoa and CgMs Building Consultants.
The excavation and planning applications for Convoys Wharf have been reported in Dockyards and on this website

North East England
2–5 September 2011
Discovery Museum, Newcastle, boat tour on Tyne, HMS Trincomalee Hartlepool, Captain Cook Birthplace Museum Malton, Sunderland Maritime Heritage

Behind the Scenes at Historic Dockyard Chatham
25 June 2010
Led by Edward Sargent

L’Orient and Brittany
11–17 June 2010
L’Orient and Port Louis Musee de la Compagnie des Indes
Musee Nationale de la Marine, Isle de Groix and Ecomusee
Concanreau & Douarnenez fishing port and maritime museum
Quiberon and Belle Isle;. St Nazaire Escal- Atlantic Liner
Centre Ecomusee, submarine Espadon & Chantiers de L’Atlantique, Rennes

Approaching Citadelle Vauban Belle-Île, Brittany Tour 2010

Concarneau walled town, Brittany Tour 2010

Approaching Citadelle Vauban Belle-Île, Brittany Tour 2010

Approaching Citadelle Vauban Belle-Île, Brittany Tour 2010

Historic Dockyard Chatham (with 1805 Club)
25 July 2009
To mark the 250th anniversary of the laying of the keel of HMS Victory

Royal Hospital Haslar
25 October 2008

12 April 2008
Master Shipwright’s House and St Nicholas’s Church

Corderie Royale, Rochefort Tour 2008

Corderie Royale, Rochefort Tour 2008

Rochelle and Rochefort
15–21 March 2008
Vauban coastal defence forts
Rochefort Dockyard, Ropery & Maritime Museum & rebuilt frigate Hermione
La Rochelle Towers & Maritime Museum
Ile de Ré

Fort Lupin, Rochefort Tour 2008

Fort Lupin, Rochefort Tour 2008

Malta (with the International Commission for Maritime Museums)
8–12 October 2007
Harbour tour, Maritime Museum, forts and facilities of the Knights of St John, ‘Heritage in Stone’ Tour, Gozo

Malta Maritime Museum, within the Old Naval Bakery in Vittoriosa, 2007

Malta Maritime Museum, within the Old Naval Bakery in Vittoriosa, 2007

Museum of Docklands
21 April 2007
Talk by Curator Dr Tom Wareham
Tour by Edward Sargent

The Downs
21 October 2006
Ramsgate Maritime Museum: Great Storm Wrecks 1703: Stirling Castle & Royal Harbour
Richborough Roman Fort, Sandwich
Knowlton Church: Memorial to Admiral Sir John Narbrough
Deal & Royal Hotel

St Nazaire, Brittany
26–30 October 2005
International Liner Centre, submarine Espadon, naval & port museum, tour of working shipyard
Le Croisic fishing port & Batz museum of the coast & saltmarshes

Portsmouth Harbour & Cruise
2 May 2005
Weevil Depôt/Royal Clarence Victualling Yard
Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower, Priddy’s Hard

8–12 October 2004

25 September 2004
A walk & talk about the history of shipbuilding on the River Hamble

1774 Dockyard Models Kidbrooke
25 October 2003
National Maritime Museum (Kidbrooke Store)

Chatham Historic Dockyard/Fort Amherst/Royal Engineers Museum
3–5 May 2003

Royal Gunpowder Mills Waltham Abbey
19 October 2002

Devonport Dockyard/Plymouth Citadel/Royal William Yard
4–6 May 2002

Royal Arsenal Woolwich
27 October 2001

Pembroke Dock/Milford Haven
5–7 May 2001

17 June 2000
Illustrated talk ‘The Story of Sheerness Dockyard’ by David Hughes
Guided tours of Sheerness Dockyard & Garrison Point Fort by David Hughes & Martin Lee

12 June 1999
Guided tour of the Master Shipwright’s House, Deptford
Guided tour of St Nicholas and talk on the local history of Deptford, by John Warren

5 September 1998
Talk in Admiral Superintendent’s House
Guided tour of Woolwich Dockyard

7 September 1997
Guided tour by the Harwich Society of Harwich Navyard Wharf, Treadwheel Crane, Redoubt Fort, High and Low Lighthouses & Maritime Museum