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Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2013, 09:07:40 »
Mr W H Formoy
DS(MQ)
Room B1311 Whitgift Centre

HM NAVAL BASE, CHATHAM – MEDWAY HOUSE

Thank you for your minute of 8 March 1978.

We share your concern at the prospect of spending over £90,000 on this property.

We have the following comments:-

(1)   Would it not be a more economical proposition to provide a Type 1 MQ?

(2)   The property is scheduled as an ancient monument as well as a Grade II listed building.  But the public do not have access to it.  We would find it difficult therefore to justify maintaining it out of public funds solely on account of its history.

D A Dalby
DHRS/A1(a)
Room 213 Apollo House

20 March 1978.



Ministry of Defence

18 April 1978

W H Formoy Esq.
DS(MQ)
Room B1311
Whitgift Centre

Dear Bill

Port Admiral’s Residence, Medway House

1.   As you know, we have sought the advice and comment of Flag Officer Medway on the future use of Medway House, taking up the point you made in para 6 of your letter to the Directorate of Ancient Monuments.  The following points may be of use in support of your submission.

(a)   Medway House will be used as a residence for the appointee of Flag Officer Medway and Port Admiral Chatham for the foreseeable future (a double-hatted appointment).
(b)   The residence is the focal point for VIP representational and entertainment purposes within the Command.  As well as lunch and dinner functions it is used to provide accommodation for VIP visitors to Chatham Naval Base.
(c)   Because the house is being used as a residence, sited within the Naval Base, it is not practicable to open it for unrestricted viewing by the public.  However, there appears to be no objection to organised parties being able to view the house, both outside and in, by appointment.  Over the last eighteen months there have been a number of arranged visits to the inside of the house, these parties including:
(1)   110 members of the Georgian Society
(2)   Similar parties of Japanese and American visitors to Britain.

In addition to such visits, “Historic Tours” of the old part of the Dockyard may be arranged for the public, on request.  These tours do not go inside Medway House.

d.   In the last year facilities have been granted for the filming of three TV programmes at Medway house, and also for the use of Medway House as period background for other programmes.  There have also been a number of press facilities granted for magazine articles on Medway House in particular, and for the older part of the Dockyard in general.

2.   You may be interested to know that DAMHB are interested in the old part of the dockyard, and have arranged to attend future meetings of a sub-committee of the Naval Base Development Steering Committee.

3.   DofQ(N) fully supports your attempt to arrange for the maximum possible share of any costs to be borne by a Civil Vote.  We would be grateful if you could let us know the outcome of your discussion, so that we may be able to report back to our Board, in due course.

V Quaglieni
Directorate of Quartering (Navy)

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2013, 12:29:53 »
Miss J M Melhuish
Room 326
Fortress House
23 Saville Row
London W1

HM NAVAL BASE, CHATHAM:  MEDWAY HOUSE (PORT ADMIRAL’S RESIDENCE)

1.   With reference to your minute dated 13 February, I invite your attention to the attached copy of a further report from PSA South east Regional Headquarters with a number of enclosures including two photographs.

2.   We hereby give the requisite three months written notice of the PSA’s intention to carry out work on the Ancient Monument, Medway House.  However, your Directorate have been aware for some time that it was proposed to execute repairs to the building and have been in correspondence with PSA Regional Staff about the types of materials to be used.  It may therefore be possible for you to agree that work may start before the statutory period of notice has elapsed: if so, this would be helpful.

3.   We also request the formal advice of the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and the Special Services Works Division on the details of the proposed repairs as described in the enclosed report, with particular regard to the following comments by the Married Quarters Group:-

(1)   It is understood that the windows of the house are in need of repair but the estimated cost of £18,000 (Items 3 and 8) seems extremely high.  This is no doubt partly attributable to the proposed fitting of specially made small-paned sashes of Georgian pattern in the front elevation in order to restore the original appearance.  It seems likely that a significant saving could be made if simpler repairs were effected.

(2)   A more substantial saving, about 20% of the total cost, would be possible if the requirement to specify materials similar to those used originally could be relaxed, eg so as to permit the use of milled lead instead of cast lead (see paragraph 4of the report).  We would certainly be in favour of any such measure which would produce satisfactory results without detracting from the appearance of the house.

(3)   Although the recommended fire precautions (Item 5) should certainly be put into effect some economy might be achieved by dispensing with the provision of means of escape from the attic rooms if (as seems possible) these are not to be occupied.

(4)   With regard to Item 12, there is no provision for green-houses in the official accommodation scale for service Officers.  Where there is already a green-house in existence our policy is to maintain it until it is considered to be beyond economical repair; it is then demolished and not replaced.  Special justification would be needed for the proposed expenditure of up to £3,000 in this case.

4.   It is understood that the present Port Admiral lives in part of Medway House (though not accompanied by his family) and is due to be succeeded in July or August.  It is not yet known whether the new incumbent will choose to live in the residence with his family but it should be assumed that he will do so.  It is therefore desirable that the proposed repairs should be completed within the next four months in order to minimise disturbance to the occupants.

5.   The revised estimate is now £91,000 including provision for contingencies and VAT, and subject to any reductions which might be agreed in light of the comments in paragraph 3 above.  We understand that the work when approved could be financed from the funds allocated to PSA South East Region for the maintenance of MOD buildings.  Normally, of course, we would not contemplate spending such a large sum on an individual married quarter, and there could be political embarrassment if it became known publicly that so much was to be spent on an senior officer’s residence (we have had recent experience of such cases).  Our particular concern here is to try to secure, in the interest of our client, (MOD (Navy), a reduction in the charge to the Defence Budget by making any practicable economies in the execution of the work and by arranging for the maximum possible share of the cost to be borne by a Civil Vote.  In our view it is quite inappropriate that funds greatly in excess of the amount that would normally be spent on a Service Residence should be paid from the Defence Budget for the upkeep of an Ancient Monument.  We should therefore be grateful if you would consider the possibility of making a major contribution to the cost of the proposed work from funds which are at the disposal of your Directorate.

6.   It is perhaps relevant to mention that Medway House is located within the Naval Base, entrance to which is restricted to people on official business, and we are advised by MOD that they can see no likelihood that the general public will be allowed access to the house in the foreseeable future.

7.   We shall be grateful for your views on the points raised in this minute and we would be glad to have also the views of the Director of Quartering (Navy) to whom a copy of this minute and the attached report is being sent.  When we have your reply we propose to consider to what level in PSA the submission should be made for approval of the proposed expenditure.

W H Formoy
DS(MQ)
Room B1311
Whitgift Centre, Croydon

8 March 1978

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 08:42:31 »
The pictures included in the file:

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2013, 16:01:41 »
Mr W H Formoy
DS (MQ)
Room B1311
Whitgift Centre
Croydon

HMNB Chatham – Medway House

1.   Your minute AU1064/45 of 6 January refers.

2.   I must say from the outset that our previous submission, whilst providing adequate information about the nature of the repairs, did not give sufficient detail of the costings and perhaps you will disregard the estimate breakdown.  This is not a criticism of Mrs Knight’s minute but another example of the difficulty we face in presenting a case at an orders of cost stage.  As you are no doubt aware it is proposed to carry out this work during the change of occupancy which occurs later this year and therefore the details planning has been undertaken.  We are not in a better position to define more fully the scope of the work which goes beyond re-roofing and this is itemised under the following headings.  BQs are being produced and it is proposed to invite Lump Sum competitive tenders:-

1.   Removal of peg tiles and replacement with high quality ribbed copper nailed matching tiles.  Up to 50% of the existing tiles may be salvaged and stored for re-use. - £6,000
2.   Replace decayed timber in rood structure, facias brackets, soffits and attic rooms. - £5,000
3.   Replace dormer windows. - £4,000
4.   Treat timber in attic and roof space with wood preservative. - £2,000
5.   Fire Officer’s requirement in providing means of escape internally from attic rooms. - £5,000
6.   Reduce chimney height and cap-off as necessary. - £2,000
7.   Replace lead work to gutters, flashings, hips, etc., these items are essential and may be considered roof repairs. - £8,000
8.   Replace windows as necessary and fit Georgian timber sashes on front elevation. - £14,000
9.   Treat floors, stairs, etc., with preservative. - £2,000
10.   Provide damp-proof course. - £6,000
11.   Strip rood of vegetable store and rebuild. - £4,000
12.   Repair greenhouse. - £3,000
13.   Remove creeper from walls and make good pointing as required. - £2,000
14.   Redecorate externally. - £7,000

Total. - £70,000

15.   Supplies attendance (removal and replacement of floor coverings) - £1,000

£71,000
Contingencies   20% - £14,000
VAT - £6,000
£91,000

3.   There is every likelihood when dealing with a building of this age that a number of unforeseen defects will come to light when work commences and it is for this reason we have decided to increase the normal allowance for contingencies.  A copy of the Regional Building Surveyor’s Report is attached.

4.   DAMHB in their latest minute to you have emphasised the need to use the traditional materials which is much in line with the attitude met by the Area staff in their endeavours to reduce costs.  We have however been successful in the use of milled lead rather than the cast lead that was previously used.  We do not propose to follow-up the use of second hand tiles as there is a need for uniform weathering and AMHB have not objected ot the use of new Kent peg tiles.  In view of the general disposition of AMHB to insist on “like for like” materials no comparative costings have been prepared but removal of these restrictions would, it is thought, introduce a saving of about 20% on the total cost.

5.   I can add little to AM’s description of the property except that one wing was added about 100 years later and the whole provides some 1500m2.  There is also a spacious walled garden.

6.   Detailed records of expenditure for this property are not available earlier than 1976/77 when approximately £23,000 was spent on maintenance, this figure included a ‘C’ service of around £11,000 for repairs to the elaborate entrance porch.  Current year’s expenditure will be around £15,000 and the Area Officer has assessed a figure of £10,000 per annum for previous years.

7.   Returning now to the estimate at paragraph 2 above I have the following comments to make and perhaps the attached photographs will illustrate some of the points.

a.   Item 5
You may learn from D of Q that the Flag Officer has been pressing for an external means of escape.  This is not supported by the Fire Officer and a copy of his report explains why we are considering the internal alternative.  I do not think AMHB would agree to an external escape.

b.   Item 6
The photographs show where extension brickwork begins and AMHB have agreed to the reduced height.  This will allow for the removal of the numerous staying wires from the stacks that have become structurally unsound.

c.   Item 8
This requirement was first raised in 1974 by the previous occupant and I enclose copies of correspondence.  The sashes will need to be purpose made as the window apertures are of non-standard dimensions.  This will then produce a frontal elevation matching the adjoining single and two storey structures.

d.   Item 11
This is a single storey outbuilding at the rear of the two storey crew’s quarters and AMHB were asked, some two months ago, whether they recommended the use of asphalt or lead as the re-roofing material.  In the absence of a reply we should select the cheaper alternative.  This store and an adjoining room appeared to be unused except for what appeared to be a small box of flowering bulbs or shallots.

e.   Item 12
Clearly this is a Victorian masterpiece with the usual ornamental cast-iron fretwork, approximate dimensions of 30 X 10 ft.  In an adjoining outhouse there is a coke burning boiler heating this and two other (but much smaller) greenhouses.  There is little evidence of production except for a very small patch of cress sufficient for one afternoon tea and the main use for this and the other greenhouses would appear to be for the over-wintering of various plants susceptible to frost and cold.  The main requirement for this item is the replacement of rotted timber which occurs mainly at one end where there are two vines.  The estimate of £3,000 has been produced with the belief that we would need to dismantle and re-erect, but it may well be possible to carry-out the repairs in situ at a reduced cost.

The fundamental question is whether this and the other two greenhouses are scaled items and no doubt you will cleat this with D of Q as to the extent of PSA’s responsibility.

8.   I attach a drawing of the southernmost tip of the Chatham Naval Base which shows the location of Medway House in relation to the present main gate, barely 200 m away.  The Development Plan envisages the gradual withdrawal of production and storage facilities from this end of the Yard which contains many buildings of historic interest.  Item F3 is the Admiral’s office block and is the only item in this area to be modified in the general re-development.  It will be probably more than 10 years hence before it enters the program.

9.   I am sure that you will examine the usual yardstick for maintenance/new build and whether there is a need to retain the attics for occupation.

10.   Finally, I have discussed with the Supplies Manager his 3 year improvement programme which will begin next financial year with an estimated expenditure, mainly on carpets and curtains, or around £8,000.  Obviously any decision on the future of this Residence will concern his activities.

E H Brooker
Regional Administration
Room 11.09
Gundolphus House

21 February 1978

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2013, 18:59:25 »
Department of the Environment
Fortress House 23 Savile Row London

J.R. Brown, Esq.,
Area Officer,
DOE,
Barrier Road,
Chatham,
Kent.

9th December, 1974

Dear Mr. Brown

I am very grateful to you for seeing us at such short notice last Thursday, and for taking steps to ensure that no more redundant equipment is removed from Nos. 1 and 2 Smitheries.  We are putting in hand a thorough record survey of these two buildings.

When we were with Admiral Berthon on Thursday, he raised the question of reinstating the original fenestration on Medway House, and I promised that we would look into this.  As you probably know, the windows on the main elevations of the house were refurbished at the beginning of this century.  The original glazing bars were all removed and the present large-paned sashes inserted.  This undoubtedly spoils the appearance of possibly the finest of the naval residences, and certainly one of the oldest naval buildings in this country.

Would it be possible for you to arrange for small paned sashes to be restored to this house?  Our inspector, Mr. J. Coad, and architect, Mr. N. C. Hodgson, would be able to provide any advice needed; the original patterns of windows still exist at basement level.

I appreciate that finance is not easy to come by these days, but I wonder if this could be a suitable project for 1975 European Architectural Heritage Year?  It would certainly greatly enhance the historic centre of Chatham Dockyard.

Yours sincerely,
A.D. Saunders
Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings.

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2013, 13:41:11 »
From:   Rear Admiral S. F. Berthon

Flag Officer Medway and
Port Admiral Chatham
HM Naval Base
Chatham ME4 4TA

J R Brown Esq
Area Officer
DOE
Barrier Road
Chatham
Kent

16 December 1974

Dear Mr Brown,

I expect that you will have seen Mr Saunders’ letter of 9 December to you about the windows on the main elevations of Medway House. This letter stemmed from a discussion I had with him some weeks ago when, as Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings, he visited Medway House and I showed him round.  I told him then that I had had one of the Under Secretaries of State of the Department of Environment in the precious Government staying with me in the house earlier this year (Lord Sandford) and he had felt very strongly that we should do something to reinstate the original windows on the front of the house in order to restore the appearance of Medway House to its original look.  Lord Sandford in fact suggested to me at the time that I should do something about this bit I was not clear to whom to write and also felt that, in the present economic climate, it might not be too politic to do so.  However, having heard Mr Saunders’ strong views that we should try to have this work done if possible, and knowing what Lord Sandford previously felt about it, I myself now feel that in the long term interests of preserving this, as Mr Saunders puts it, possibly the finest of the naval residences, it would be a very good idea to carry out this work if it was possible to do so.

I therefore felt it was right to write to you to give you the background on Mr Saunders’ letter.

Yours sincerely

S. F. Berton

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2013, 10:10:57 »
Mr W H Formoy
DS (MQ)
Whitgift Centre

HM NAVAL BASE, CHATHAM: MEDWAY HOUSE (PORT ADMINRAL’S RESIDENCE)

Your minute of 6 January to Mrs D A Knight, Regional Admin, was copied to Miss D J Price, VCHB with a request for advice on the status of Medway House as a Listed building, and on the statutory constraints implied by this.

In fact, Medway House, although listed Grade II*, is also scheduled as an ancient monument.  The scheduling accordingly takes precedence over the listing, and the building falls to be dealt with under the Ancient Monuments and not the Planning legislation.

This means that there is a statutory requirement for this part of the HB/AM Directorate to receive 3 months written notice of any intention to carry out work on the building.  The Inspectorate and Architects of this Division also have a statutory duty to advise on any proposed work, and in this case would like to empathise that Medway House should not be regarded simply as an officer’s residence, but a building of the first grade of historic importance, whose preservation is in the national interest.

It was built as the residence of the Commissioner of Chatham dockyard in 1703/4.  It is not only of high architectural quality, it is also the second oldest building to survive in a royal dockyard (the oldest, at Davenport, is partly war damaged and is some 10 years older).  Inside is the very remarkable painted ceiling over the staircase, and the main rooms contain much 18th century panelling.  As part of the Country’s heritage of historic houses, it should be repaired using the best materials and skills – In the same way as HM government expects private owners to care for their listed buildings.

There should be no difficulty over the supply of peg-tiles of the correct type as this Doctorate has put PSA in touch with a source of second hand tiles.

J M Melhuish

13 February 1978

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2013, 17:19:01 »
2 Marsham Street
London SW19 3EB

11 March 1976

Dear Patrick,

PURCHASES OF GOVERNMENT ACCOMMODATION

I am replying to your letter of 23 February to Terry Heiser asking us to review our current practise on purchases of residential and official accommodation for members of the Government service at home and abroad and to bring forward any future cases which might prove controversial to the Prime Minister and other ministers concerned.

We doubt whether a particular price level is the best criterion for selecting the cases to be brought forward to Ministers, as prices vary so much from place to place.  We suggest instead that on the Defence estate we should look in particular at purchases for Major General and equivalent Service ranks and above, and on the Diplomatic Estate we should consider particularly residences for Heads of Posts, ie Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls General.

In bringing forward potentially controversial cases to Ministers we think it would be right for the PSA to act jointly with the user Departments concerned, as the arguments for the operational necessity for these purchases are best deployed by them.  Indeed, the costs of purchases on the Defence Estate fall in the Defence budget and not on the PSA Vote.  When it is thought that a particular purchase might be controversial, we propose that there should be a joint submission by the PSA and the MOD or FCO as appropriate to the departmental Ministers concerned to decide whether the case is sufficiently important of controversial to put to the Prime Minister and other colleagues.  We for our part would agree that the AC Committee would seem to be the appropriate forum if a discussion is required.  There may, however, be the odd case which requires very urgent clearance because we might otherwise lose the property; in such instances we would hope that the issues could be cleared quickly by correspondence.

I am copying this letter to the recipients of yours.

Yours sincerely

D A McDonald
Private Secretary

NOTE: The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed on 12 March 1976 that the suggested procedure was acceptable.

andwhiteley

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2011, 09:59:28 »
I attended a wedding reception in Commissioners house in the late 90s’
I think we were on the second floor in one of the rooms at the front of the house. On our table was friend of the groom who I had been told could see ghosts/sprits. He had seen various ghosts in the Dover Tunnels and some sightings in his back garden. He had not been able to do this all his life it was a new experience for him.
As we sat there he spoke quietly to his wife that he had just seen a lady come into the room and walk through one of the wedding guests on our table. He made no fuss about it and did not announce it to anyone I was just eavesdropping on his conversation. The room did go cold, up until that point it had been very hot due to the fire. I am not sure if the room going cold was due to what I was hearing but it felt like the temperature had dropped rapidly. A noise also came from the fireplace like something falling down the chimney; this may have just been coincidence.
After that we just carried on and had a good time. There was supposed to be an image on the wedding video of a figure but I never saw this.  I Just thought I would share this with the forum.

Spooky

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2011, 22:41:38 »
Ghost stories, the two most common, are of the servant's stairs, handed down to each generation working at that end of the yard. Then the garden. reported by a member of the staff at the time of the working yard. I found the story in Gillingham Library, of ghostly goings on, on the lawn.

Miikae

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2010, 20:30:08 »


Lady Hogg & CPO E R Stevens


Miikae

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2010, 19:33:06 »
Hi MGT,
            Nice to hear and read your comments, it was a long time ago now, but even so i remember the Hoggs very well. In the early sixties one christmas i was talking to Lady Hogg and she suprised me by knowing more about the company i was apprenticed to ( Brush Electrical Co , Loughborough) than i did over drinks in the house that year, i think that she knew her stock and shares at that time.
If you do see her please pass on my good wishes to her and was so sorry to hear about her husband.
Her sons i do remember as one was learning to fly at that time the eldest i think.
My father spent many years there due to my mother having MS and it was a compasionate posting for him until he retired in the late 60s, and as i remember served under 4 or 5 different Admirals whilst there.

Mike

mgt

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2010, 10:18:06 »
To Mike, I am a friend (former employee ) of Lady Hogg. She didn't write about her time in Medway House but often spoke about it...and the characters. Mrs Jessop (her maid), Mr Cooper (her gardener), Mr Kirby (head chef), Jason, her cream coloured labrador.
I have spoken to her just, she was delighted when I read out over the phone to her what had been written about the building. She said she would write down for me various things she remembers and I will put them on here. She remembers very much the ghost stories as well.
I am ex army, WRAC, and I was stationed at Chattenden for a very short while. I was there when Chatham d
ockyard closed. I remember going to the base only a few times but I don't recall seeing the house.
Admiral Hogg died in 2003.

smudge

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2010, 15:04:08 »
Hi Scouse,,Just read your piece on medway house I was based there as a Leading Steward working for the Bevans at that time.There was a cox`n there called slim setters,an AB called Jan (cant think of his surname) and the PO Chef was Brian Pickup.I think that I handed over to you when I was drafted to the Norfolk.Be interesting to hear from you.
Good Luck
Smudge

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2010, 14:47:25 »
No 2 Prospect Row in Brompton was built by the Navy at the same time as Commissioner's house (as the Captain of the Guard's House or something like that I believe) and has exactly the same acanthus leaf gable ends as Commissioners House.  I wonder if they were leftovers from the building of Commissioners House, or if they were 'aquired' unofficially.  Certainly the interiors of several houses in Prospect Row use old ship's timbers as beams. Again, I'm not sure how official the acquisition of these timbers were!
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