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Author Topic: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard  (Read 30321 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2010, 10:10:50 »
Thank you very much for your recollections  :)

I would really love to see the rest of this building.

scouseh

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2010, 22:35:11 »
]I was fortunate in my time in the Royal Navy to have served on the house staff at Medway House. I was first drafted there in 1972 until 1974, and again in 1977 until my discharge in 1979.
From 1972 until 1974 living in the staff quarters above the kitchens to the side of the house. The admiral at the time was Rear Admiral Colin Dunlop, who was succeeded by then Rear Admiral Stephen Berthon (later to become Vice Admiral Sir Stephen Berthon). I was a steward at this particular time, there was a Barges Crew, Chief Steward, PO Steward, Leading Steward, PO Cook, Cook, Civilian Driver, and Ben the Gardener who had been there for years, and myself.
Drafted back in 1977 to 1979 as a Leading Steward and personal valet to Rear Adm Christopher Bevan who was succeeded by Rear Admiral Charles Williams.  
The house was a magnificent place to be able to work in. Through the front door : The right was the Dining Room,
to the left was the Ballroom, there was a toilet in the Ballroom completely tiled from floor to ceiling in Delft tiles, we called it the "Blue Loo"...
In the hallway before the grand staircase was the "Chatham Chest".

Up to the 1st Floor : On this Floor was 3 rooms,  1x large Living room, 1x small Living room, and 1x guest bedroom.  I can remember on one occassion the actress Dame Judy Dench stayed overnight.

Up to the 2nd Floor which I think consisted of : 1x Master Bedroom (en-suite) and walk through to the Admirals dressing room. + 2 bedrooms opposite.

Through a door to the back staircase and into the attic, where if I can recollect was a bathroom, Linen cupboard, + 3 bedrooms, and a room that I used to do the washing and ironing and general valeting of the Admirals uniforms.  It wasn't so long ago that this floor was on Sky Living TVs most haunted. If I was working up there on days when the house was empty, you could definetly hear noises and also think that something or someone had walked past.  It was a privelige to have worked in such a building.

merc

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2009, 19:25:51 »
I've got those photo's in one of my books.

They're from 1857 when Captain-Superintendant George Goldsmith lived there with his wife. (not sure if they had any kids with them or or not)
George Goldsmith had been appointed Captain-Superintendant of Chatham Dockyard the previous year.

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2009, 18:40:42 »


From file ADM 195/7

Miikae

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2009, 10:49:56 »
Welcome to the forum Miikae, and thank you for sharing your memories!  I would like to see the photo's if you wish to share them!  The basement is not very spooky now, its well lit with carpet and white walls...

I will try to dig out some photos today if i find time , i'm retired and always busy these days.

The basement workshop was full of interesting stuff as my father repaired any damaged items of furnature , doors locks etc , i do have a Lazy Susan that was broken and came from there also a small round side table a
nd a large wooden serving tray he made for use in the house, one of my fathers proud possesions was an Eight day clock bought from one of the jumble sales held  there in the Dockyard church hall for the princely sum of 7 shillings and six pence and it is still working today.

I do remember that the older staff members used to tease the younger ratings about the ghost in the back servants stairs  saying they would get them and many very reluctant to venture there.

I would be interesting to find out if Mary Hogg ever wrote anything about her time  there when she was the lady of the house , she had two sons one was training to be a RN Helicopter pilot in the 60s. 

Mike

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2009, 08:00:05 »
Welcome to the forum Miikae, and thank you for sharing your memories!  I would like to see the photo's if you wish to share them!  The basement is not very spooky now, its well lit with carpet and white walls...

Miikae

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2009, 00:18:34 »
 Hello to all , First off i knew this as Medway House from the mid fifties and my family used to visit the resident Admiral every Christmas for drinkies and chats , i often used to pop in to see my father who was a shipwright,  CPO E.R.Stevens (ted), he was on the staff there for many years from the fifties up until the late sixties when he retired, If i remember correctly they had a resident gardener called Ben (old Ben we called him ) a very nice chap too , also i think the dog was an old  Labrador that wondered the garden but i may be wrong here as it was a long time ago now , at the time i did know all the staff and i bought a 1939 Morris Eight BJY 522 off of one of them Able Seaman J.M.Cox in Sept 1964 for 25, The Flag Officer had a very nice Lagonda sports car which i nearly bought but too dear at 350 for me at that time .
I do have photographs of some Admirals and there families taken in the house with my father .
My fathers workshop was in the cellars and a big workshop it was too and quite spooky,

I even worked in the dockyard for a while in the late sixties when i had finnished my apprenticeship in the Midlands as did my sister in the admin offices for many years.

It certainly is a lovely house as i remember it as i have had lots of tours around it at various times with my father and other staff members over those years.

I met the Beloes , Hoggs and Parkers the most as i remember and all very nice people too.

Mike

merc

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 15:46:13 »
This house became known as Medway House after 1970,according to a book i have.

Offline kyn

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Re: Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 16:42:22 »
Finally got a look inside today although only the ground floor was open. 











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Offline kyn

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Commissioners House, Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 13:00:41 »
The Commissioners House was built in 1704 and is the oldest naval building to survive in Britain, as such it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  It was built to house the Resident Commissioner, his and family and his servants.   The original Commissioners House built around 1640 was constructed for Phineas Pett when he became the first Resident Commissioner but the house was demolished in 1703 when Captain George St Lo took up the post and declared the house was not as good as his previous one at Plymouth and needed to be rebuilt.  The Commissioner was responsible for the day-to-day running of the dockyard, his importance is shown by the style of residence and gardens he had built within the dockyard, he also had stables for his horses and coach.  A Captain or Admiral Superintendant replaced the job of Resident Commisonner when the Navy Board was dissolved in 1832 and was again replaced by the Port Admiral in 1971.

The building remains relatively unchanged since it was built with a few additions to the interior between 1770 and 1780 and the servants quarters that were added to the South of the building at the same time.  The main staircase has a large ceiling painting depicting as assembly of gods, this painting was initially in the Great Cabin of the first rate ship the Royal Sovereign.  The painting has been attributed to Thomas Highmore, the sergeant painter to William III, however it is known that some of the painting was by Sir James Thornehill.

The house is now used as a banqueting hall and used for conferences and seminars.

The garden can be viewed by entering through either of the garden gates, the terraces were established before the present house was constructed, the lower terrace was one of the very first Italianate Water gardens in Britain when laid out.  Other interesting features within the garden are an eighteenth century icehouse and a Mulberry tree thought to be over 400 years old and the place where Oliver Cromwell reportedly sat when the Roundhead Army took the City of Rochester from the Royalists.




 

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