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Author Topic: Building between the Ropery and No2 Store House  (Read 2393 times)

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Offline cliveh

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Re: Building between the Ropery and No2 Store House
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 16:43:10 »
Great stuff Bilgerat! Thanks for posting

I'm sure I've seen an old photo somewhere showing a narrow gauge train loading out of the storehouse. I'll try and find it.

cliveh

Offline Bilgerat

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Building between the Ropery and No2 Store House
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 20:39:12 »


This building now houses a store for the Chatham Archive and Storage company. What this article is concerned with is the tunnel to the left in the picture, known as 'The Covered Way'. According to the 1911 plan of the Dockyard posted by CliveH, there were railway lines running both into the building and through the covered way between it and the Ropery. The storehouse has the remnants of narrow gauge railway tracks inside it and it's reasonable to assume that a narrow gauge railway ran through the covered way. This is because, I think, that a standard gauge wagon would be too wide to fit through it.

The firm I work for was called in by the Trust to investigate why the roadway to the right of the covered way was collapsing. Thinking that a culvert of some kind had collapsed, we broke through the tarmac road surface and found this:



This was all that remains of a surface made from timber cobbles, of the same kind found in No.7 slip and the machine shop between 6 and 7 slips. At some point in the past, this had been covered in about 4 inches of what looked like boiler ash and covered with tarmac, as shown here:



Unfortunately, the vast majority of the timber cobbles had completely rotted away and that's what caused the tarmac road surface to collapse. We called in the Trust and they came along and made a proper photographic record of the find. Unfortunately, the cost of restoring the timber cobbled roadway there would have been far too high and the cobbles themselves were beyond saving, so we had no choice but to dig it all up. The vast bulk of the cobbles had completely crumbled away and once dug up, it all looked like a pile of compost. Once the debris had all been cleared away, we found a brick roadway underneath it, thus:



The road surface was re-laid with hardcore (type 1) and new tarmac.
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