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Author Topic: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.  (Read 13006 times)

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Offline smiler

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2011, 21:59:38 »
I had The Victory in Gillingham when the yard closed, for a good few weeks after it closed trade was very good but within a month or so it slowed a lot, this was the start of pubs going down in my opinion.

Offline Lyn L

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2011, 17:20:50 »
Was the term Rabbit originally a Naval word ? On the RN site under slang words this is what is said.

 RABBITS.

Naval slang given to articles taken or intended to be taken ashore privately. Originally 'rabbits' were things taken ashore improperly ( ie: theft or smuggling-hence the name arose from the ease with which tobacco etc could be concealed inside the body of a dead rabbit ) But with the passage of time the application of the word has spread to anything taken ashore, an air of impropriety nevertheless still hangs over the use of the word, whether or not this is justified ( it seldom is ) Hence the phrase " Tuck its ears in " often said to an Officer or Rating seen going ashore with a parcel.

I have no idea when it started being used , I do remember a few rabbits coming home though  :)
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2011, 16:50:27 »
BEAVER, BEAVOR, BEVER, BEVOR
A light meal, not necessarily accompanied by drink, taken between breakfast and dinner or between dinner and tea. In rural areas also meant a cold meal eaten in the open, in a sheltered place if available by the hedgeside, etc., by farm labourers, deekers and other workmen, about breakfast time. Possibly a corruption of the French "bouvoir", to drink and may have originated in Chatham Dockyard, where it is still used, after French Napoleonic prisoners of war were employed. From them it was "anglicized" by dockyardmen and eventually it spread into north-east Kent and elsewhere.

A New Dictionary of Kent Dialect, Alan Major, 1981

It is interesting that all those spellings are also used for the name of a piece of armour that protects the mouth and chin. I wonder if there is any connection to do with the mouth?
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Offline mikeb

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2011, 11:04:43 »
scintilla, many thanks for the explanation. I have never heard the expression used outside the 'yard though.
Thanks again.

Offline scintilla

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2011, 10:56:06 »
BEAVER, BEAVOR, BEVER, BEVOR
A light meal, not necessarily accompanied by drink, taken between breakfast and dinner or between dinner and tea. In rural areas also meant a cold meal eaten in the open, in a sheltered place if available by the hedgeside, etc., by farm labourers, deekers and other workmen, about breakfast time. Possibly a corruption of the French "bouvoir", to drink and may have originated in Chatham Dockyard, where it is still used, after French Napoleonic prisoners of war were employed. From them it was "anglicized" by dockyardmen and eventually it spread into north-east Kent and elsewhere.

A New Dictionary of Kent Dialect, Alan Major, 1981

Offline mikeb

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2011, 13:28:56 »
Quote
he called it a "bunny" or a "rabbit".

Yes, that's correct, excepting I never heard of a "bunny" but certainly a "rabbit". Very interesting to hear the explanation though which I have never heard before. Also rabbit was applied to making things for your'e own use, e.g. tool boxes or a special tool, for use within the 'yard, not always for home use. Searches at the gates were daily occurrences and I dont think the Dockyard police would be put off by "its only a rabbit officer".

Another expression I haven't heard since the 'yard closed is "beever" for breakfast. A 20 minute break was allowed 0900-0920 for "beever". Anyone know where this expression originated?

Fred the Needle

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2011, 10:58:58 »
I've just remembered a guy I used to work with who was ex-dockyard.

If (when  :)) we used work equipment or work time to do something for home (ie a "homer"), he called it a "bunny" or a "rabbit".

He said it came from his time working at the dockyard.  Apparently, there were a lot of rabbits running about in the vicinity of the dockyard and quite a few of the workers used to trap them for family meals.  If you were seen taking a large package out of the dockyard, the security guys would question you as to what was in it.  If you told them it was a rabbit, then you were allowed through without checking.

I often wondered if the story was correct and if so, how much stuff got taken out under the guise of a dead rodent.

Offline skipraider

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 12:32:04 »
If I remember correctly, one in 5 of the population of the Medway Towns worked in the Dockyard.  I lost quite a few friends who moved out of the area (3 families went to Plymouth, might have been Portsmouth).

I left school aged 16 in 1981 and was all set to go into an apprenticeship (electrician) at the dockyard - application accepted and, if memory serves me correctly, initial selection round passed. Then when the closure was announced we were all told that no more apprentices would be taken on. I remember it was a very bad time to be a young school leaver seeking employment in Medway at that time.

I did eventually find other work, which coincidentally took me to Portsmouth a couple of years later. During my 18 months or so in Pompey I came across quite a few ex-Chatham dockyard people who had moved down there.

Fred the Needle

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 01:20:03 »
If I remember correctly, one in 5 of the population of the Medway Towns worked in the Dockyard.  I lost quite a few friends who moved out of the area (3 families went to Plymouth, might have been Portsmouth).

patmore

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, 22:07:37 »
Thanks for such an interesting post, the cookery school baked the wedding cake for Prince Charles' marriage to Diana!
George Thompson, CPO I believe at the time, made two cakes - one for the wedding and one to 'go around the fleet',
some years earlier he made the cake and catered for my wedding in 1974!

WO1RNR

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2011, 21:46:24 »
I took part in this Ceremony along with others from HMS WILDFIRE,CCY Jim Lord a Permanent Staff Instructor at WILDFIRE was in charge of the Haul Down Colour Party, i remember it well, Jim was the last Senior Rate at PEMBROKE.

AlanWCollins

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 02:23:40 »
Two generations of my family lost their jobs when the Dockyard closed.

My Grandfather, a carpenter, decided to take early retirement aged 62. He enjoyed the rest of his years with his wife and, later Grandchildren, although he never forgave the government for closing the dockyard.

My father, a mechanic, found work elsewhere, although I am not sure how quickly. He married my mother in September 1984, and they managed to get a mortgage and buy a house, so I imagine it did not take him long. He, too, was angry at the time, but is more forward-thinking and has enjoyed the regeneration in the area. Indeed, he frequently attends the Chatham World Heritage Partnership meetings (as did I until I moved to Birmingham last month).

I imagine it must have been a very emotional day (on both occasions). I attended the University of Kent on the old dockyard site, and often tried to imagine what it must have been like being there when it was a working dockyard. The only trouble is that I saw this video and could never imagine anything else...

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=75836

Offline cliveh

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2011, 08:51:46 »
Here's some extracts from the official programme for the "Haul Down" Ceremony of the Dockyard on 30th September 1984. What a very sad and emotional occasion that must have been. Whenver I visit the Dockyard now I try and enviage what it must of been like in it's prime - all the workers, sailors & ships. Hence my passion for photographing and identifying the various buildings and finding out what their uses were.









cliveh

Offline kyn

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2009, 08:14:56 »
Thanks for such an interesting post, the cookery school baked the wedding cake for Prince Charles' marriage to Diana!

I'm gutted i won't be able to make Wednesday  :(

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Closure of Chatham Dockyard.
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2009, 07:43:11 »
The closure period was an aweful time. Although I didn't work in the Dockyard I was always in there. My parents and then me had run the Newsagents in Brompton that supplied the southern end of the Dockyard. We also had a small cafe and I recall standing in it packed to the doors listening to the Defence Debate from Parliament when John Knott made the fateful announcment, You could have heard a pin drop!

As the closure proceeded, faces you had known for years started to depart. Sometimes to other Dockyards, some to other Defence establishments or to the dole. A fair number started up in their own businesses. It really was a very slow and depressing death for a great and proud establishement strung-out over three years.

As the closure programme picked-up pace, particulary after the Falklands Crisis that had given a flicker of hope, the depression went from bad to worse. Whole departments had very sad closure parties, once busy buildings were cleared and locked-down and the whole place took on a feeling of desolation. It soon came to the point when the Dockyard was no longer functioning as a Dockyard and so on 30th September 1983 the Dockyard Establishment of Chatham formally ceased to exist when the flag of the Flag Officer Medway was lowered for the last time during a very emotional Sunset Ceremony. I was there and yes I did cry!

The command of the remaining naval activity in Chatham now devolved to the Captain of HMS Pembroke under whose control came the Rundown and Closure Team. They continued to dispose of the remaing bits and pieces and do the final accounting and paperwork until the closure date started to loom at the end of the financial year. On March 30th the final key was turned in the lock and Chatham ceased to be a Naval Base and for the first time since the reign of Henry VIII there was no naval activity or ships on the Medway. On the morning of March 30 a small group of naval personnel, the Mayor and other councillors and some press gathered for a surprisingly small ceremony when the gates of HMS Pembroke were ceremonially padlocked shut. It was then up Dock Road to the Royal Marine Pub for a booze-up!

On the morning of April 1st the historic south end of the Dockyard formally came under the control of The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.

This coming Wednesday April 1st is the 25th Birthday of the Trust. It will be celebrated in a number of ways as follows:
1. Any visitor purchasing a ticket BEFORE Noon on April 1st will be charged at 1984 prices. The ticket will be a full twelve-month return ticket!
2. At Midday a twenty-five gun salute will be fired from the Helipad by a battery of three 25Pdr Gun Howitzers.
3. After the salute is fired a new exhibition will be opened in 3 Slip charting the last twenty-five years.
4. A Birthday Cake will be cut and distributed. The cake has been baked by the catering Trainees at Defence Logistics School that at one time was based in Chathm as the RN Cookery School, thus restablishing that histoirc link.

Come along on Wednesday, get your incredibly cheaply priced tickets for the year and be part of the birthday!

 

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