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 Chatham ropery 
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Post Chatham ropery
Does a DVD or VHS exist that shows the process of making rope at Chatham Dock? In lieu of that, is there anything on-line or in a book that illustrates the process in some detail? I did some searching on-line and found only brief descriptions.

I have always had a fascination with the technology of the navy during the AoS. I usually focus on the technology on board ships. However, I recently watched a TV show on the Science Channel that dealt with the manufacture of cannon for the English ships at the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. As part of the documentary, a brief section is shown of the only ropery still in existence (at Chatham), thus prompting this question.

I understand that the Dock is located not far from London. Has any member visited there and watched the process? What was the most significant thing you saw?

Documentary: An Austrian cannon maker apprentice, Adam Dreyling, flees his family foundry (Loffler) and goes to England in 1580 taking secret manufacturing methods to assist Elizabeth I in arming her fleet. One secret is the casting of the bronze cannons vertically. Thus, concentrating the heaviest, strongest, part of the cannon where the powder will explode. His cannon, along with the redesigned ships by Mathew Baker (from ideas supplied by Drake) proved critical in this battle.

As part of the show, a modern foundry tries to duplicate the original process used to make a period cannon. The foundry, begun in the 16th century, now casts large church bells, but has a history of casting cannon during wartime. The family that has owned the foundry from the beginning researched their own archives for information. They even restored one of their furnaces from their early days. The only attempt filmed was unsuccessful. They surmised that they did not heat the bronze hot enough. An interesting show, but it would have been more interesting to have a successful casting and actually fire it!

Don


Sun Jun 12, 2005 3:12 pm
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I was looking at the Chatham website and I found this link:

Master Ropemakers Limited

There's an email address. Might be worth dropping them a line.

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Sat Sep 10, 2005 7:17 am
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Susan, thanks. I will do so immediately. I will let you know what I find out. Don


Sat Sep 10, 2005 7:21 am
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Shame on me! - I only live within a mile of the Ropery. I've seen it at work! Very inpressive.

Only just saw your post - sorry! :oops: :roll:

Kev.


Fri Dec 30, 2005 3:58 pm
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kevmusic wrote:
Shame on me! - I only live within a mile of the Ropery. I've seen it at work! Very inpressive.
Kev.

Kevmusic: Wow! Lucky you! Do you know if they have a video or book for sale showing rope making?


Susan, BTW, I sent email at the link above and never received an answer. Not even a "No, we don't" response. Rats!

Don


Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:47 pm
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timoneer wrote:
Susan, BTW, I sent email at the link above and never received an answer. Not even a "No, we don't" response. Rats!

Recently, after months of waiting, I DID get a response from the Chatham Dockyard. While I was waiting, LizMc sent me four pages from the Dockyard Guidebook that discussed the Ropery. Thanks again Liz.

The Education Officer (Schools) at the Dockyard sent me two things. The first was a booklet showing a school class how to build a miniature DIY Rope-Making-Machine. This would allow a teacher to demonstrate how to turn strands of yarn into cordage, thus showing the process of making larger rope by twisting fibers.

The second thing was a copy of "The Ropery Visitor Handbook." This is a 6.5 inch x 9.5 inch x 16 page full color handbook. The text was co-written by author Brian Lavery and contained lots of photos (a few were duplicates from Liz’s Guidebook). I scanned this Handbook and would be willing to share it if contacted.

I would also recommend that anyone visiting the Chatham Dockyard pick up copies of the Guidebook and Handbook for their own reference.

Don


Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:26 pm
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timoneer wrote:
timoneer wrote:
Susan, BTW, I sent email at the link above and never received an answer. Not even a "No, we don't" response. Rats!

Recently, after months of waiting, I DID get a response from the Chatham Dockyard. While I was waiting, LizMc sent me four pages from the Dockyard Guidebook that discussed the Ropery. Thanks again Liz.

The Education Officer (Schools) at the Dockyard sent me two things. The first was a booklet showing a school class how to build a miniature DIY Rope-Making-Machine. This would allow a teacher to demonstrate how to turn strands of yarn into cordage, thus showing the process of making larger rope by twisting fibers.

The second thing was a copy of "The Ropery Visitor Handbook." This is a 6.5 inch x 9.5 inch x 16 page full color handbook. The text was co-written by author Brian Lavery and contained lots of photos (a few were duplicates from Liz’s Guidebook). I scanned this Handbook and would be willing to share it if contacted.

I would also recommend that anyone visiting the Chatham Dockyard pick up copies of the Guidebook and Handbook for their own reference.

Don


Glad the information was of use, Don.

I second the suggestion to get the guide book. There is a tour of the ropery, but the day I was there, it was quite crowded, makng it hard to hear the guide and see what he was doing at time. We found it was better to hang back, and use the signs and book to figure things out. We always caught up to the group anyway.....

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Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:20 pm
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If you get a chance to see the BBC's splendid series, Coast, please take the opportunity. The second series is more specialised and has been very informative and enjoyable exceeding the first series, if that was possible. :)

If you scroll down that link you will see that it included Greenwich, and Chatham Rope Works, and even the cricket on the Goodwin Sands which has been mentioned in other thread.

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Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:22 pm
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I'm not sure where this should be posted, so for the moment, pending further advice from Susan, I'll pop it in this one.


Anyhow....from The Times, May 31, 1810:

".......the ropemakers of Chatham Dockyard, to the amount of nearly 150 men, were discharged on Sunday by order of the Honourable Navy Board, for some irregularity in their duty on Friday last....."

That must have been something major to get rid of that amount of men. I wonder what that was about? Can anyone enlighten us?

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Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:57 pm
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BBC's Breakfast featured the Chatham ropeworks and HMS Victory this morning. The Master Ropemaker, btw, is aptly named, Cordier.

Did anyone else see it?

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Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:19 am
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