Archive for the ‘History’ Category

James Cook was born in November 1728 and joined the Merchant Navy in his teens. He transferred to the Royal Navy in 1755 and during the seven years war was tasked with mapping the St Lawrence River in Canada. The results of his work impressed the Admiralty and he was given command of HMS Endeavour in 1776 and sent on 3 expeditions to map the Pacific Ocean. His work was the most complete mapping of that Ocean and the countries contained in it that had been carried out. On his first voyage, he became the first European to visit the East coast of Australia at a place he called ‘Botany Bay’ (in April 1770). He later travelled up the coast and in June he ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and had to spend a number of weeks repairing his ship in the estuary of the Endeavour River (near Cookstown, Queensland) before continuing his journey.

In January 1779 on the last of these 3 voyages, he put in at Hawaii. There was an exchange of gifts with the local Hawaiian rulers, but there was also a story that some items were removed from the town without payment or permission. Cook’s ships set sail but was caught in a storm and had to return to Hawaii to carry out repairs. It is not very clear what happened but relations between the native population and the Europeans were not friendly. During this visit, a boat was stolen by the Hawaiians and maybe in an attempt to get it returned Cook tried to capture the local chief and hold him as a hostage. They got as far as the beach but were confronted by an angry crowd of native Hawaiians. Shots were fired by Captain Cook’s marine escort and during the melee that ensued Captain Cook was stabbed. The marines and sailors managed to get to the boats and escape leaving behind the chief and the body of their dead Captain. Repairs on the ships took a further week to complete and during this time the ships bombarded the town causing a lot of destruction.

Despite all that happened, and contrary to some later reports, the Hawaiians treated Captain Cook’s body with the same reverence as one of their own people, carrying out the local funeral rites before returning his preserved remains to the Navy who buried them at Sea.

This statue of Captain James Cook by Thomas Brock can be found on the Mall near Admiralty Arch.



Early caseless chiming clock. some parts date from 1450


This tower was added so that a monk could watch the relic chapel below – a sort of medieval security guard.


Tomb of John Chambers – last Abbot of the monastery and first Bishop of Peterborough, one of the few abbots to keep a post following the dissolution of the monasteries.


The Ropery in Chatham Dockyard is the only one of 4 original Royal Navy Ropeyards still in operation. Rope has been made on this site for over 400 years. The building is over a quarter of a mile long.


The rope is made by taking individuals strands and winding them together. This process can be repeated a number of times to produce the required thickness of rope.


Inside the ropery – the machinery travels from one end to the other in the production of the rope. At this end the strands are held in place.



The heads which combine the strands into one rope.

As the strands pass through the heads they are combined


Keeping the rope taught and a quick way to get from end to end of the Ropery


The finished rope is coiled


The Ropery still makes traditional ropes for sailing ships etc but also produces rope made from more modern materials


The Guards Memorial, situated opposite the Whitehall parade ground, was designed by the sculptor Gilbert Ledward and was erected in 1926 to commemorate the battles of World War I and in memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers and guardsmen of the royal regiments of Foot Guards who gave their lives during the Great War 1914-1918. It also contains a memorial to the Officers and Men of the Household Cavalry, Royal Regiment of Artillery Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps and other Units who served in the Guard’s Division in France and Belgium 1915-1918.





This is the oldest part of the Cathedral, where work started in 1118.

19th-century copy of medieval ceiling. Original had been badly damaged by Parliamentarian musket practice during the civil war.


Tomb of Unknown Anglo-Saxon saint or bishop c800AD



A Sloop launched at Sheerness in Kent in August 1878 she saw service in the Pacific from 1879-1883 before returning to the UK. In 1885 she was sent to the Mediterranean sea and was used in anti-slavery patrols. She also saw action off the coast of the Sudan and Eygpt. From November 1888 she was assigned to carry out survey work in the Meditteranean Sea, which she did until 1891 and again from 1892-1895.

In March 1895 she returned to Chatham, where she was assigned to Harbour duties. In 1900 she was used as accommodation by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Co at Grain. In 1903 she became the Royal Navy volunteer reserve drill ship moored in the London docks and was renamed HMS President after its predecessor in that role. She was relieved of that duty by HMS Buzzard in spring of 1911. In 1913 she was loaned out as a training ship under the command of C B Fry, the famous Cricketer and transferred to the River Hamble where she served as a dormitory for boys training to join the Royal Navy. She remained at Hamble until the school closed in 1968. The ship was given to the Maritime Trust for restoration, the years in the Hamble having taken a toll on the structure. Restored to her 1888 glory she was, in 1994, passed onto the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust where she is now on display.





At each side of the choir are the two most famous tombs in the Cathedral. The first is of Queen Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, who died in nearby Kimbolton Castle in January 1536. The flag of Aragon flies over her tomb and many Spanish pilgrims make their way to Peterborough to see where the Spanish Queen of England is buried.

The second tomb is no longer occupied. It was the tomb of Queen Mary of Scotland, who was executed at Fotheringhay Castle in 1581, having been found guilty of treason against the English monarch, Elizabeth I by being involved in plots to overthrow the English Monarchy. She was buried in Peterborough, but when in 1612, Mary’s son, James succeeded Elizabeth to the English throne, he had his Mother’s remains brought to London and reburied in Westminster Abbey.


Another interesting monument is that to the Orme family. When Parliamentary soldiers used the Cathedral as a stables during the civil war, they also passed their time by defacing the monuments. Following the restoration of the monarchy, the cathedral authorities sought to restore the damaged monuments. However, the Orme family asked that this monument be left as a reminder of what had happened.







HMS Cavalier 

Built at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, HMS Cavalier was launched in March 1943. She served in the Home Fleet during World war II, mostly on Russian and Scandinavian bound conveys and post-war in India and the Far East until she was decommissioned in 1972.

She is the last surviving example of a British WWII destroyer and as such was an important heritage vessel. She was purchased by the Cavalier Trust. As a privately owned vessel, she holds a naval warrant to retain the ‘HMS’ title and to fly the white ensign of the Royal Navy. She was originally docked at Southampton, then in 1983 moved to Brighton and four years later to the River Tyne. Following a period of restoration, she was purchased by Chatham Historic Dockyard and arrived on site in May 1998. She was housed in No 2 dry-dock, the same dock where Nelson’s HMS Victory was built.


In 2007 HMS Cavalier was officially designated as a war memorial to the destroyers sunk during WWII (142) and the men who lost their lives serving on them (around 11000).











Our tour brings us to the Museum which contains items associated with the history of Charterhouse

19th-century property mark taken from a building owned by Charterhouse.

Matthew Bible (1549). One of the first English translations

A 17th-century chest used for storing valuables – Found at Charterhouse

15th-century-floor tiles from the monastery

Having finished our tour we emerge into the memorial garden.

The Memorial garden

The tomb of Sir William Manny, who built the first chapel on the site in 1349. In 1371 this chapel would become part of the Charterhouse monastery.

Memorial to the Carthusian monks from Charterhouse who were executed or died during the dissolution of the monastery

The Nave from the west end

The Font

13th-century wooden ceiling

The Pulpit

The Nave looking towards the west door

Side aisle

Chapel of Remembrance