Saturday, 17 July 2010
This summer sees the launch of the No. 1 Smithery building at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.
A partnership between the Historic Dockyard Trust, the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum, this sympathetically restored building now houses a stunning collection of maritime models and art while providing a cultural exhibition space and hands-on educational entertainment for families.
Inside the original shell of No. 1 Smithery, there are a series of climate-controlled storage cubes housing the model collection, the restored Pipe Bending Floor, a static exhibition, National Museums Maritime Treasures and an art gallery for travelling exhibitions, kicking off on July 24th with 'Resonance and Renewal, Stanley Spencer, Shipbuilding on the Clyde'. There is also The Courtyard a large open space for family activities, school programmes and performance art.
The static maritime display of art and models in the heart of the building is a beautiful snapshot of the long heritage of model making and maritime art that this country holds. From an exquisitely worked Napoleonic prisoner of war model ship to a replica of the dockyard built to impress King George III, there has been careful thought to make the exhibition relevant to the Historic Dockyard itself and its rich history.
This is supported fully by an exhibition in The Gallery of Sir Stanley Spencer's series of paintings depicting shipbuilding at Port Glasgow during the second world war. These eight extraordinary, recently restored canvases capture the physically demanding life of a shipyard, illustrating vividly the day-to-day exertion and tight-knit communal life of the shipbuilders. Included with the canvases are Spencer's drawings and a direct comparison of just how revolutionary his art was at the time, placing the viewer directly amongst the action of the scene rather than from a remote vantage point. This opening exhibition will run until December 2010. The No 1 Smithery will open from 24th July 2010 to the public, full details of opening times, cost and all the other fantastic buildings to be found at The Historic Dockyard Chatham are on the website.
Hands on fun for everyone on the Pipe Bending Floor.