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Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2015, 15:52:30 »
G. Clifford Esq
Ministry of Defence
Q2(N)
Old War Office Building
Whitehall

18th March 1983

Dear Alan,

Medway House, Chatham

We have been hearing rumours via our suppliers offices in London and the South east Region that Medway House is due to close some time this year and that Senior Naval Officers are queuing up to stake their claim on every desirable bit of furniture in the place.  Someone has even demanded that the brass cannon and wooden gun carriage that stand at the entrance should be transferred to the residence of the Director of the Staff College at Greenwich!

The fate of your cannon and gun carriage is, I expect, your concern, not ours.  But when Medway House does close (at the end of September, I think you told me) the furniture and furnishings will be dealt with by the PSA.  They may be taken into store; used where appropriate in other navy residences in our South east region; or in residences belonging to the other two services; or even sold.  Bur the decision on their future rests with the PSA.   And out South East Regional Supplies Manager has issued instructions that none of the furniture and furnishings in the house should be removed without his consent.  Because of the low financial delegations for residences conferred our various officers within the PSA this effectively means that DSMP’s approval will be needed in every case.

Sincerely,

John Ash****
DSMP



Property services Agency (Supplies)
Gundolphus House
London Road
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex

2 Mar 83

Inventory of Furniture and Fittings - Medway house

1.   In accordance with the Chatham Naval Base closure plan, the Port Admiral’s last day in office is 30 Sep 83 and he will have vacated Medway House by 3 Oct 83.

2.   The furniture and fittings in the house are the responsibility of the Property services Agency Supplies Division.  However, many of the items are of particular Naval interest and the contents have therefore been advertised to Senior Naval Officers who occupy residences which also have PSA controlled inventories.  Bids are now being received; they will be considered on their merits and proposals for the disposal of the contents of Medway House will then be made to PSA (Supplies) for action as soon as possible after 3 Oct 83.

3.   By this means the best use will be made of the Naval Artefacts and furniture in Medway House; part of the Naval heritage will be preserved for the Navy; waste will be avoided and the PSA will be saved storage charges.

H M Humphreys
Commander
For Rear-Admiral


Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2015, 15:37:13 »
ADMIRAL’s HOUSE, CHATHAM

Following your minute of 11 February, I have now had a chance to look at the papers and take up the points Admiral Eberle raised with you about expenditure on reroofing the House.  I think Sir James is being a little unfair, to say the least, in accusing us of some sleight of hand in this matter.  In fact we seem to have handled the whole business remarkably conscientiously, marred only by the circumstances which have so far actually prevented the work starting.

The recent history starts in late 1977 when it became clear that some restoration and repair work was vital.  This was originally estimated to cost some £180,000 but as a result of limiting the work to bare essentials (which includes not only the roof, nut some work to the windows and alterations to satisfy fire requirements) the estimate was reduced to £92,000 (at 1979 prices).  In paring down the cost we fought vigorously against DAMHB pressure to replace everything with authentic materials – the House is an Ancient Monument as well as a listed building – and the final estimated cost although high was recognised as being the least we could spend in the circumstances if further deterioration was to be avoided.  This exercise culminated in your submission to the then DOE Ministers which was approved.  MOD also received Ministerial approval and subsequently Treasury authorisation for the expenditure was obtained.

The current estimate of £125,000 is simply the 1979 figure updated, which breaks down broadly into about £78,000 for essential repairs to the roof, timbers, leadwork and windows of the main house; £42,000 for similar work to the adjoining staff quarters which are integral to the house; and about £5,000 to meet the fire requirements.  Work should have commenced in late 1979 but it seems South East region were not ready with the documentation and the contract let was progressively delayed until it was caught last Autumn by the moratorium.  Current South East Region plans are for a 1981/2 start, the expenditure to be charged against art III funds.

I do not see from this that we can be criticised for sharp practice.  On the other hand I can appreciate the Navy’s resentment and reluctance to see their scarce money spent on maintaining our “national heritage” (although no doubt they would take completely the opposite line if it was the Navy’s “heritage” at risk).  The roots if Admiral Eberle’s criticism really lies, I suspect, in the whole question of the historic estate and whose responsibility its maintenance ought to be.  As things stand it is the Navy’s, and however unpalatable this may be they must lump it and have now accepted the position following the resent DS(N), DQ(N) and DAMHB consideration.  This issue is also a Raynor item (and MOD and ourselves have identified Chatham as a particularly difficult area) but I cannot see any radical change in responsibilities emerging.  The only outcome of the Raynor point is likely to be greater scrutiny of restoration proposals and more attention to the possibilities for alternative uses if disposal is not a possibility.  As far as the Admiral’s House is concerned, whether or not he occupies it, it must be repaired and at MOD expense.

Basil Skeates
Director of Defence Services II

19 February 1981



2 APR 82
ROUTINE/UNCLAS
TO PSA
ST LEONARDS ON SEA

MOD OLD WAR OFFICE BLDG WHITEHALL
FROM LEE RM 81302 WHITGIFT DOE CROYDON

FOR KNIGHT RAO INFO SMITH RSM AND WHITING Q2 (NAVY) FROM LEE DSMQ IN REPLY QUOTE CRY3841/2 2 APR PD MEDWAY HSE CHATHAM PD REF YR SRL001 1 APR PD WE SPOKE PF THE SAME RESTRICTIONS ON SUPPLIES SERVICES APPLY AS ON ANY OTHER WORK AT CHATHAM PD UNLESS THE CARPET IS IN A DANGEROUS CONDITION OR IS LIKELY TO BECOME SO IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS IT SHOULD OT REALLY BE REPLACED PD GRATEFUL YOU MAKE IT CLEAR TO EVERYONE CONCERNED WITH CHATHAM THAT WORK SHOULD BE LIMITED TO ESSENTIAL MAINTENANCE ONLY
BT



OFFICIAL RESIDENCE – MEDWAY HOUSE CHATHAM

1.   Funds are required from the 1982/83 allocation for the continued replacement and maintenance of various items at the above residence.
2.   The immediate requirement is for replacement linen, crockery and glassware.  The period leading up to the closing of the Dockyard has created a considerable increase in the Admiral’s entertainment programme.
3.   Carpeting in the rear corridor has become a health and safety hazard.  To avoid the expense of replacement we intend adaption of carpeting from a disused bedroom.
4.   Currently we have spent £1148 of the £1250 allocated for repairs and maintenance.  This includes a carry over of £556 from 1981/82.  The funds have mainly been spent on the cleaning of carpets, curtains and furniture (£557) prior to the present Admiral taking up residence.
D F Holmans
PSA Supplies

11 January 1983.

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2015, 14:36:19 »
MEDWAY HOUSE, CHATHAM

Following Mr Johnston’s minute, April 2, Mr Marks may wish to know that there has been comment on BBC Radio, SE News, and the local press.  There was also a report in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph.

None of the reports we have seen or heard have been critical – rather factual reporting – with speculation on the future of the historical side of the yard.

Last week we took a party of technical journalists plus the local papers and Radio Medway, round the yard and although there was no visit to Medway House, there was reference to the problems of maintaining buildings of this age.

John Snubbs



MEDWAY HOUSE, CHATHAM

Lady Stedman has seen Mr Johnston’s minute of 2 April 1979 about proposed works on Medway House.  She has commented “We have no alternative but to do the work.  The obligation is on us to maintain the house in good order.”

Barbara Riddell
PS/Lady Stedman



MEDWAY HOUSE, CHATHAM

I have received a verbal message this afternoon from Mr Marks’ office giving us the all-clear to go ahead with the major renovation of Medway House.  Will you please therefore proceed accordingly.

Formal confirmation from the Minister’s office will follow shortly.

H. P. Johnston
DCE 2

4 April 1979



GEORGIAN DOCKYARD WORK TO COST £1/4M

The Government is to spend more than £1/4m to renovate and re-roof historic buildings in Chatham Dockyard. 

The money will be spent on a dozen buildings, including the 18th century Medway House, the home of Rear Admiral Charles Williams, Flag Officer Medway.

Under expansion plans announced late last year the historic part of the yard, near the main gate, will be made into a ‘living’ museum.  It is the only example of a Georgian dockyard left and the Department of the Environment wants to preserve it.

The department’s Property Services Agency has been waiting for a year to get the right tiles for the buildings.  The roof of the Admiral’s house has slipped and there were fears that it might collapse.

Work will also be carried out on officers’ houses, dating from 1706, and on one of the covered slipways.




MEDWAY HOUSE, CHATHAM

This minute is to confirm that we have obtained Ministerial repairs to Medway House at an estimated cost of £92,000 chargeable to maintenance funds.

W H Formoy.
DS(MQ)



MOD OFFICIAL RESIDENCE MEDWAY HOUSE
HM NAVAL BASE CHATHAM

1.   Further to our telephone conversations during this year, please see attached revised pink estimate No. 2 for the total sum of £14,367.

2.   As you will recall the need for additional funds was as a result of Mr Sharp’s (Controller of Supplies) visit to this Residence and his request that the proposed 3 year programme be accelerated during the 1978/79 financial year.  This work was carried out as requested and the revised pink estimate is submitted to regularise the exceeding.

A F Lockwood
PSA Supplies

28th September 1979



Supplies Estimate

Details or Supplies under section (2) for which Approval is now sought.Estimated Cost £
A. Porch Hall Staircase landing replacement of carpet2,500
B. Temeraire (Study) replace carpet, curtains, upholstery1,250
C. Revenge (Bedroom) replace carpet, bedspread, upholstery1,000
D. Ramelles (Bedroom) replace carpet500
E. Victory (Bedroom) replace bedspreads, upholstery480
F. Large sitting room cushions, upholstery240
G. Ballroom replace curtains, upholstery605
H. Dining room replace curtains, upholstery350
I. Leviathan replace bedspreads and upholstery, provide dressing table750
J. Supply lamp shades for all main rooms300
K. Total cost of making up/laying carpets renovation of polish work2,500
CS Charge 27%2,828
VAT 8%1,064
Total14,367



ADMIRAL’s HOUSE CHATHAM
MEDWAY HOUSE

You will see from the attached letter that I have sent to Sir James Eberle following our visit to Northwood last week that he raised with me a worry he had about Admirals House Chatham.  This really stemmed from his time as CFS when he was concerned to limit the expenditure of scarce maintenance finds on this historic building.  Since his time he had heard that we were proposing to spend up to £100,000 solely on repairing the rood of the house and he thought that particularly with a new Admiral in post at Chatham, we may have been guilty to some extent of sleight of hand in putting forward this large expenditure at a time when the occupant would be most vulnerable. 

Whether this is true or not, I should be grateful if you would enquire into the Chatham situation and let me know in due course precisely what has been agreed in terms of immediate renovation and why.

I should perhaps also mention that Admiral Eberle did raise the old question of the replacement house for the Flag Officer Submarines.  As you reminded me, we solved this eventually by leasing suitable property in the Northwood locality, but Admiral Eberle still feels sore because he feels we could have purchased a suitable house as he wanted to do at the time, of only we had more correctly indicated the sale value of the  of the old house at Gosport.  Despite repeated questioning, our Estate Agents people stuck by their valuation of £45,000 for the old house and all our sums on the combined sale and purchase deal had to be based on this premise.  In the event, the house was sold I believe for some £75,000 which was much closer to the Navy’s opinion of its true value.

Had this been known at the time, the purchase deal at Northwood would probably have gone through ad there is therefore some disenchantment in Navy circles at the advice we gave.  There is nothing we can do about this now, but there are obvious lessons here worth bearing in mind in case we get other similar situations in the future.

H P Johnston
11 February 1981

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2015, 12:50:51 »
Medway House

MINUTES OF A MEETING HELD ON THURSDAY 8 MARCH AT 2.00 PM IN THE OLD WAR OFFICE BUILDING ATTENDED BY:

Chairman Mr Fairbairn AD of Q(N)
Capt Richards D of Q(N)
Mr Butter DS(Navy)
Mr Prior DS(MQ)
Mr Formoy DS(MQ)
Mrs Pickett DS(MQ)
Mr Brooker – SE Regional Admin.
Mr Wetherill – A O Chatham
Mr Vinter DAMHB
Mr Campbell DAMHB
Mr Coad DAMHB

Mr Fairbairn opened the meeting, listing the main areas for discussion:

1)   Statutory position
2)   Defining the requirements
3)   Procedure for meeting the requirements.

1.   Medway House is an Ancient Monument and there is an obligation to inform DAMHB when structural works are proposed.  DAMHB have a statutory obligation to advise on the work proposed and the standards required.  The “listed” or “scheduled” grading indicates that the particular building is of a high standard and should be maintained as such.  There is a statutory obligation for members of the public who are owners of such buildings, to maintain them in a good state of repair and to comply with DAMHB recommendations.  Although the Crown is not statutorily bound, in practice it always complies with the regulations laid down.  Mr Vinter pointed out two possible ways of avoiding the expenditure on Medway House.
a.   by challenging the classification of Medway House as an Ancient Monument, but this could not be justified and
b.   by deciding there was no longer a requirement, enabling responsibility for it to be transferred to DAMHB.

However, there is a requirement for a Residence and a new one could not be justified in these circumstances.

2.   Having accepted that there is a legal obligation to follow the advice of DAMHB when dealing with an Ancient Monument, the points of contention were then discussed:-

a.   Roof – retiling and replacement of defective roof timbers; the extent of the work required here was very difficult to judge and could not be accurately assessed until the tiles were lifted.  DAMHB insisted that second-hand Kent clay peg tiles must be used when replacing the roof, in order to match the existing.  A0 Chatham has had trouble in locating these supplies and DAMHB agreed to search for supplies once A0 Chatham provided an estimate of how many would be required.  If an excess number were purchased they could be sold to DAMHB who are always looking for such materials.  The use of second hand tiles is more expensive than purchasing new tiles of a matching colour, but DAMHB feel these would be out of keeping, being machined rather than hand cut.
b.   Dormer windows – DAMHB agreed that these could be repaired rather than replace the frames.
c.   Leadwork –DAMHB agreed that milled lead would be acceptable.

The crew’s quarters, which form part of the Ancient Monument, are in poor condition and all the items listed are considered to be essential, and do not carry any restrictions by DAMHB.  Treatment of the dry rot is already in hand to stop it spreading further.

A number of items have been withdrawn from the original proposals and Mr Wetherill stated that some, such as the DPC, were not necessary and some, such as rewiring and decoration would be deferred until a later date and undertaken in the course of normal maintenance.

A revised estimate for the essential works of about £92,000 was arrived at during the meeting:

Tiles£19,000
Timbers£13,000
Leadwork£8,600
Windows£5,400
Preservatives£4,000
£50,000
Daywork£4,000
Contingencies£3,000
£57,000
Crew’s Quarters£31,000
£81,000
Fire Officer’s Recommendations£3,850
£91,850

3.   Mr Formoy explained that that dealing with Residences are contentious, especially when such high expenditure is involved and the Medway House case will certainly have to be put to Treasury for approval.  It will also need to be referred to Ministers, because a large amount of money voted for Defence purposes is being allocated to works on one particular house, which is also an Ancient Monument.  During the meeting it became clear that a great deal of maintenance work is required to the Residence as a matter of course and the cost will be very high anyway.  The fact that DAMHB are insisting on the use of certain materials will not dramatically increase the cost, as was previously anticipated.
It was agreed that DAMHB would write a letter to DS(MQ) emphasising the importance of Medway House, and Mr Brooker would confirm the new estimate and scope of work.  DS(MQ) will approach Treasury for approval to the scheme, and PSA and MOD will approach their respective Ministers for a decision.

Mr Brooker and Mr Witherill stressed the urgency of obtaining a decision quickly if the work is to be undertaken this summer, as it needs to be.  Several months are required in which to set up a contract and get the contractor on site, and delays now will mean the approach of next winter and the subsequent postponement of the scheme for yet another year.

Mrs C A Pickett
DS(MQ)

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2015, 23:46:36 »
Department of the Environment

9th March 1979

Dear Prior

MEDWAY HOUSE (ADMIRAL HOUSE)  CHATHAM

At the end of our meeting in MOD on 8 March I said I would write to you about why we consider Medway House to be so important.

As you know the House is both a Grade II* listed building under the Planning Act and a scheduled Ancient Monument (Kent No 216) under the Ancient Monuments Act.

The Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments value the House historical, architecturally and aesthetically – although, of course, it is somewhat artificial and arbitrary to try and divide up one’s appreciation of a structure in this way.

Historical

Medway House was built as a residence of the Commissioner of Chatham Dockyard in 1703/4; it is the oldest undamaged building to survive in a Royal Dockyard (the one at Devonport which is a few years older was badly damaged by bombing).  So it is an historic first, but even if it were not, there are very few other early 18th century houses in the dockyards.  It has been the house of the Admiral of the Dockyard since it was built.

Architectural

It is a particularly fine building facing west.  It is of red brick with grey headers, three storeys high together with an attic and a basement.  The roof is hipped and is slate-hung.  The wide modillion eaves cornice and the heavy painted string courses between the floors add emphasis to the horizontal lines of the building.  There is a single storied extension behind the north east, and on the south side a ground floor extension of three windows joins the house to a wing of the two storeys and seven bays.  As it is the Admiral’s House, it has been well maintained during the past 2 ½ centuries.  Inside, mention should be made of the room formally known as the Billiard Room.  Samuel Wyatt is said to have had much to do with the decoration here while in the Drawing Room the architraves of the connecting doors and the ceiling cornice are worthy of note.  At the head of the stairs is a painted ceiling being executed between 1690 and 1710.  It is believed that this was designed for the great cabin of the Royal Sovereign.  (A separate description is attached as Appendix 1).

The West Front

This is seven window bays in width.  The basement area is stuccoed and painted white.  The main door in the middle of the ground floor has a moulded architrave surround and the door has six moulded panels.  This is approached by a flight of six steps in a rather heavy wooden porch with a projecting portion over the pavement forming a porte cochere.  All the windows are square-headed, and on the ground and first floor are entirely missing their glazing bars.  Only those windows in the basement appear to have had their full quota.  The attic has 5 dormer windows on this side.

The East Side

This is very similar to the west front the chief difference being that it has no porch and a balcony runs the length of the first floor.  Four of the windows on this floor have been converted to French windows to give access to this.

North End

The building is four bays deep, and appears somewhat narrow for its height.  The window spaces are marked out in the brickwork, but this appears to be merely an architectural feature; and it is doubtful if windows were ever fitted at either this of the south end.  On the second floor there are two modern insertions and at attic level there are two dormers.  In addition there are three round-headed load rain water pipes of indeterminate age.

South End

A ground floor extension of three bays joins Medway House to its Annex.  This Annex is of two storeys and similar in design to the main building.  It is seven window bays long on the front and has two dormer windows in moulded architrave surrounds with a projecting cornice over.

The Chimneys

At some stage the chimney stacks on the main building have been heightened above the ridge levels.  They are now heavily supported by struts which somewhat disfigure the sky-line.

The Garden

The garden of Medway House is surrounded on three sides by a brick wall with a flat stone capping.  The wall is about 2 metres in height, is probably contemporary with the House.  Part of it has been stuccoed.  There are two doorways, one in the west corner of the south wall, one in the south end of the east wall.  These five access to the garden.  The doorways are flanked by brick pilasters with stone cappings and stone balls.  Over the doorways are moulded brick drip stones and above these miniature stone capped pediments.

Aesthetic

The House together with the garden form a very attractive composition.

I think I mentioned to you that I will be retiring at the end of the week.  Miss Gladys Newton will be taking over from me.  Her telephone and room numbers will be the same as mine.

Yours sincerely

J S M Vinter.

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2014, 23:17:52 »
The lovely greenhouse.

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2014, 18:58:55 »
The Painted Ceiling in Medway House

This picture was painted between the years 1690 and 1710 and the subject was evidently suggested by the close of the war of the English Succession, 1688-97.

It is believed that the picture was originally painted for the “Great cabin” of the “Royal Sovereign” which was  built in 1701 to replace the famous “Sovereign of the Seas” designed by Phineas Pett and built at Woolwich in 1637 and eventually destroyed by fire in 1696.

The explanation of the picture is as follows:

“In the foreground Peace and Plenty recline in the centre flanked on the left by Pity raising up the deserving, and on the right by Justice putting down the underserving.  In the middle ground, reading from the left to right, War (a female armed figure with a sword) advised by Minerva, passes an orb to the enthroned Jove, while Neptune (see trident below) hands him a crown.  Fame declares the event.  Floating either side in the clouds are cherubs who show that the scene is an allegory in heaven of what happens on earth.  The interpretation of the allegory is as follows:  The world should know (Fame with the trumpet) that a ruler (Jove), has won his dominion by a wise war (War advised by Minerva giving him the orb) at sea (Neptune conferring crown); the result being a settled society in which peace and plenty reign and men get the rewards and punishments that they deserve.  The picture seems to celebrate William II’s success in the War of the English succession (Peace of Ryswick, 1897)”.

The above history and description come from a book published by Admiral J. G. Crace in 1946.

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2013, 15:27:40 »
R T Fairbairn Esq. OBE
Directorate of Navy Quartering
Old War Office Building
Whitehall
London SW1

20 February 1979

PORT ADMIRAL’S RESIDENCE: MEDWAY HOUSE: CHATHAM

1.   I am enclosing with this letter a copy of the latest report received from the Area Officer, Chatham about Medway House.  Discussions have taken place locally between the Admiral, the Area Officer and the DAM HB architect and inspector responsible for this building.  Between them they have drawn up a list of what they consider to be the essential repairs required to preserve the fabric of the building and maintain it in a habitable condition.

2.   Although the estimated cost has thus been reduced from £182,200 to £119,000, it is still an excessive sum of money to devote to a single quarter, and I consider that it would still be beneficial for all the interested parties to meet and discuss this case.  Previous attempts to arrange a meeting were abandoned in the face of snow drifts and rail problems.  I hope that this second attempt will be more successful, and Mrs Pickett will be contacting the parties concerned to confirm the date.

L A Prior



23 Feb 1979

To PSA Croydon
Fm PSA St Leonards on Sea
INFO PSA Chatham (Barrier Road)

For Formoy DS(MQ)RM B1311 Whitgift Centre   INFO Mr Perry AWO Chatham from Brooker Admin SE Region PD Medway House PD

We are now seriously alarmed that the delay in deciding degree of maintenance necessary for this residence has jeopardised our programme for even the essential roof maintenance CMM the start for this work is now due and any further delay can only result in possibility of work extending into next winter PD We are loath of approach Admiral for meeting dates without some assurance to him that a positive decision has been reached CMM can you oblige query.

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2013, 10:07:36 »





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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2013, 14:42:12 »
Medway House

Comments on Mr Butter’s Minute of 8 June 1978

1.   Although MQ Group have dealt with a few listed buildings, Medway House is the first Ancient Monument case that I can remember.  We all assumed that we had no option but to carry out the repairs in accordance with the views of DAMHB/AMS.  However, it now appears that Medway House is only part of a wider problem, and that it could be unhelpful to other Defence Secretariats if we accede too readily to the demands of DAMHB.AMS.

2.   I have not gone into the question of how the relevant Acts apply to the Crown but DAMHB/AMS’s Minute seems to indicate that PSA are not legally bound to do more than give 3 months’ notice and there is no suggestion that DAMHB/AMS’s advice is mandatory.  We do not appear to be under a statutory obligation to respect that Directorate’s wishes, and although they may seek to persuade us to carry out the work in certain ways we still have some freedom of choice in the matter.

3.   One can visualise a case where there was a direct clash of interests between MOD who claimed that operationsl necessity made it imperative to demolish an ancient monument and DAMHB who wanted is preserved.  That conflict would probably have to be resolved by Ministers.  In the present instance the issue is far less clear-cut.  All parties have the same general aim of preserving Medway House in good repair as a residence: The point at dispute is the extra expenditure with DAMHB want to be undertaken over and above the amount needed to complete repairs to our normal standards (which are themselves high, because official residences are treated as special buildings).

4.   This extra expenditure is not quantified but must be substantial.  It seems to me wrong in principle that it should be met from an MOD Vote administered by DS(MQ) because it is in effect a misuse of part of the Defence Budget.  (There would almost certainly be a Parliamentary row if the Opposition were to learn that nearly £200,000 of the funds voted for Defence were to be spent on an Admiral’s house, when – they would claim – so many operational weaknesses needed to be rectified).  However, see para 6 below.

5.   The internal argument about the extra expenditure would hinge on the point that, with a finite Part III allocation for Naval maintenance, facilities contributing directly to operational effectiveness must suffer if money is diverted to beautifying Medway House.  (This argument is weakened by the underspending of MQ Group B funds and no doubt other subhead sections also, because it could be pointed out that while Part III funds might be tight there is obviously no shortage of money for Defence Accommodation Services generally.  However DAMHB do not know this.)

6.   It appears that we have no hope of switching the extra expenditure to some non-Defence Vote, because of the Treasury instructions referred to in the final paragraph of DAMHB/AMS’s Minute.  We have not seen these instructions but the quotation is recognizable as the usual Treasury doctrine and we are not likely to get very far if we attempt to challenge DAMHB on this point.  We could ask FPSA for confirmation but their answer is predictable.

7.   It all boils down to the thought that when we have the revised estimate which SE Region are preparing we should try to reach some kind of compromise with DAMHB to limit the extra expenditure as much as possible, both to make the commitment more palatable to MOD(N) and to reduce the political risk as much as we can – though any major expenditure will be potentially sensitive.

4.9.78

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2013, 11:12:07 »
Mrs J Laidlaw
SG1
Room 314
Southbridge House

MOD OFFICIAL RESIDENCE MEDWAY HOUSE HM NAVAL BASE CHATHAM

1.   MOW 306 D Estimate in the sum of £7,950 (1978/79 part of the 3 year programme) was approved by DS(MQ) on 5 5 78 and this included work in the following rooms:-

TEMERAIRE   £746
BELLONA      £500
                   £1,246

2.   Mr R B Perry DOE Area Works Office Chatham has now advised me that there are certain Works Services to be carried out at the Residence which could affect the above two rooms and, in view of this, he has suggested that SD Services to the two rooms be deferred for twelve months but that we bring forward SD Services to the Dining Rooms at a cost of £1,000 (replacement of curtains and chair covers) from the 1979/80 part of the 3 year programme to the current year.

3.   This seems to me to be a most sensible suggestion – may I have your comments please.

G W Ballard
Supplies
Room 1/02
Gundolphus House

15 June 1978

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2013, 14:01:52 »
V Quaglieni Esq
Directorate of Quartering (Navy)
Ministry of Defence
Empress state Building
London SW6

24 May 1978

PORT ADMIRAL’s RESIDENCE, MEDWAY HOUSE, CHATHAM

1.   The useful information contained in your letters of 18 April regarding the future use of Medway House and the arrangements for public access was conveyed to our Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings.

2.   I now enclose a copy of their long-awaited reply to my minute of 8 March, which was copied to you at the time.  Subject to any further comments we may receive from PSA South East Region or from our Directorate of Home Regional Services, it appears that we have no option but to proceed with the necessary repairs to the house as a charge against the maintenance funds allocated to the Region.  The planning and preparation of contract documents is now continuing up to the point where tenders can be invited, but the invitations will not be issued until we have confirmation that MOD (Navy) are content that the expenditure should be undertaken as a Defence commitment.

3.   I understand that Peter Gold discussed this matter with Dick Fairbairn on Friday and that reference to the Admiralty Board is thought to be necessary.  We expect that contractors will be invited to submit their quotations on a firm price (ie lump sum) basis and that once the tenders have been received there will be minimal delay in starting work on site.  Nevertheless, in view of the time that has already elapsed because of the need to consult DAMHB, and the further time which might have to pass before you can tell us of your agreement, it seems certain that the work will not be completed before the incoming Admiral takes up residence in the house.  In these circumstances we shall be grateful if you will take steps to avoid unfair pressure by the Admiral or the local Naval authorities on the PSA Regional staff, who are obviously not in a position to move until all the various interests are Departmental level have been satisfied.

W H Formoy
DS(MQ)

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2013, 19:16:37 »
Mr W H Formoy DS(MQ)

MEDWAY HOUSE – CHATHAM

1.   Thank you for sending me a copy of your minute to D of Q(N) and the attached one from DAMHB/AMS.

2.   I think the latter is unfortunately phrased in places so giving an appearance of arrogance which I am sure is not intended.  In any case I will not comment on the specific case of Medway House – although much of what is said is I think open to challenge – and will confine my remarks to the general issues of policy which it touches upon.  I am, of course, concerned about the Ancient Monuments/Historic Buildings aspect of the Navy estate as a whole and what these imply for the Defence Budget, the taxpayer and the Accounting Officer.

3.   Much of the DAMHB argument seems to be based on the reasoning that Government Departments must invariably tow the preservation/conservation line simply because preservation and conservation are aspects of Government policy.  This conveniently ignores the fact that there are other Government policies which are sometimes going to prevail.  To my mind it is indefensible to argue that because the law requires owners to comply with the procedures of the relevant Act it also somehow or other enshrines the standards which the inspectors or other enthusiasts from time to time lay down.  Individuals have the right of appeal/representation/hearing and so should official and Government bodies.  I do not see why it should be automatically assumes that public funds voted for other purposes should be spent in meeting the dictates of the inspectorate without any argument whatsoever or the ability for, say, MOD to argue that the Defence interest is paramount or that they are simply not prepared to use funds which they or the PSA must account for the Parliament and pay through the nose to maintain buildings – especially those away from the public view – for the delectation of the people who scheduled them in the first place.

4.   The trouble always seems to be that DAMHB feel they have got us, by which I mean PSA and MOD, over a barrel.  We can leave the buildings concerned to rot and they will be relatively happy.  (In fact our internal circulars enjoin us to keep buildings weatherproof and here we are required to do more than a private owner).  But should it be felt that a building requires some work in order to keep it in use or to turn it into something more useful (after all the Navy estate’s only purpose is to support the Nation’s defence) then we are faced with the full panoply of DAMHB’s demands for restoration and preservation.  Even where we would be prepared to go to some lengths to maintain appearance and wider aesthetic qualities this is invariably insufficient and we get into esoteric arguments over milled versus cast lead, new versus secondhand tiles, the substitution of Edwardian replacement windows by Georgian “originals”, the need not only to preserve but to recreate internal features (which have then to be covered up if the buildings are going to function in any new role at all).  The end result is that nothing much happens at all (as at 9/10/11 Storehouses in the Dockyard at Portsmouth) because the costs of meeting DAMHB’s demands are prohibitive and the solutions (at Portsmouth at any rate) would not enable Health and safety requirements – also statutorily binding – to be met.

5.   I am fascinated by the financial arguments presented.  DAMHB imply that they are interested in preserving the older part of Chatham Yard should the Navy leave it but since it could not be disposed of it would still be owned by the Crown and the cost of maintenance would still lie where it fell – ie with MOD.  In this way, of course, the true cost of preservation an enormous area would be concealed within the Defence Budget.  A private owner in these circumstances could at least abandon the whole thing, no doubt thankfully, and guardianship/compulsory acquisition would presumably take place with the subsequent costs of maintenance and restoration being properly shown as attributable to the Government policy which brought it about.

6.   You will gather that I do not think we should necessarily take all this lying down.  It looks very much as if Government departments are having to accept tighter controls than those which apply to the community at large and while this may be what the country wants, those of us who are responsible for the commitment of public funds and accounting for them should ensure that we challenge what we reckon are unreasonable demands which we would not in all conscience be able to defend if asked to account for.  If this means that cases have to go to Ministers then what is wrong with that?

P. J. M. Butter
DS(Navy)

8 June 1978

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2013, 19:34:13 »
V Quaglieni Esq
Directorate of Quartering (Navy)
Ministry of Defence
Empress State Building
London SW6

24 May 1978

Port Admiral’s Residence, Medway House, Chatham

1.   The useful information contained in your letter of 18 April regarding the future use of Medway House and the arrangements for public access was conveyed to our Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings.

2.   I now enclose a copy of their long-awaited reply to my minute of 8 March, which was copied to you at the time.  Subject to any further comments we may receive from PSA South East Region or from our Directorate of Home Regional Services, it appears that we have no option but to proceed with the necessary repairs to the house as a charge against the maintenance funds allocated to the Region.  The planning and preparation of contract documents is now continuing up to the point where tenders can be invited, but the invitations will not be issued until we have confirmation that MOD(NAVY) are content that the expenditure should be undertaken as a Defence commitment.

3.   I understand that Peter Gold discussed this matter with Dick Fairbairn on Friday and that reference to the Admiralty Board is thought to be necessary.  We expect that contractors will be invited to submit their quotations on a firm price (ie lump sum) basis and that once the tenders have been received there will be minimal delay in starting work on site.  Nevertheless, in view of the time that has already elapsed because of the need to consult DAMHB, and the further time which might have to pass before you can tell us of your agreement, it seems certain that the work will not be completed before the incoming Admiral takes up residence in the house.  In these circumstances we shall be grateful if you will take steps to avoid unfair pressure by the admiral or the local Naval authorities on the PSA Regional staff, who are obviously not in a position to move until all the various interests at Departmental level have been satisfied.

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2013, 12:02:56 »



 

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