Gallery, museum and visitor experience under one roof

A £13m new museum at The Historic Dockyard Chatham moved a step closer this week with the arrival of some magnificent models from the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum.

Opening to the public on 24 July, No. 1 Smithery: National Treasures Inspiring Culture reveals a collection of maritime treasures, art and objects.

Bill Ferris, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, said:

‘Saving the No. 1 Smithery building and turning it into a fantastic new museum experience for our visitors has been a huge achievement for the Trust and its partners.

‘Its transformation from decaying Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), once used to support the building and repair of the Royal Navy’s fleet, into a national centre for maritime collections and a state-of-the-art cultural venue is one of the last and most significant pieces in The Historic Dockyard jigsaw and is at the heart of Medway’s and the Thames Gateway’s cultural regeneration strategy.’

No.1 Smithery has five main areas within it, and is included in the normal admission price to The Historic Dockyard. One of the first exhibitions will be Resonance and Renewal an impressive collection of Stanley Spencer paintings called Shipbuilding on the Clyde alongside 28 drawings and Smithery tools. This is the first time these enormous, evocative canvases have been on display since their restoration by the Imperial War Museum. 

There will be an exciting and regularly changing exhibition programme within The Gallery during 2011 – details of which will be announced as No. 1 Smithery opens. 

2010 ticket admission prices – all tickets valid for 12 months. Adult: £15.00, Concession: £12.50, Child: £10.50, Family: £42.50, Additional family child: £7.50

Main season opening times: daily at 10.00, 13 February–31 October 2010. Closing times: 16.00 until 27 March; 18.00, 28 March–23 October; 16.00 from 24 October.

Galleries at The Historic Dockyard include: Three Historic Warships – the Cold War submarine Ocelot, HMS Cavalier the Second World War destroyer, and HMS Gannet (1878), the last sloop of Queen Victoria’s Navy; the Royal Dockyard Museum which traces 400 years of maritime history; the Victorian Ropery Tour and the Wooden Walls of England gallery incorporating The Road to Trafalgar exhibition, plus the RNLI’s Historic Lifeboats collection.