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Shirley Goodhew awarded BEM in King's Birthday Honours List

We are delighted to announce this award to our past Chairman and President.  This is an extract from the London Gazette dated 15th June 2024

British Empire Medal
Civil Division
Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
St. James’s Palace, London SW1

15 June 2024

THE KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of His Majesty’s Birthday, to approve the award of the British Empire Medal (Civil Division) to the undermentioned:


Shirley Ellen GOODHEW
former Chair and President, Chatham Dockyard Historical Society

For services to Heritage and to the community in Kent.


Artefact Store and Photographic Studio Relocated

The Society had been based for many years in the Fitted Rigging House where we had our lounge, workshop, stores and Photographic Studio and Artefact Collection located over two floors.  In 2022, the Trust offered the CDHS a new location on the first floor of the Ropery Building and use of the new Volunteers Lounge.

Working in close partnership with key Trust staff we ensure that our relocation went as smoothly as possible. Whilst society members were not actively involved with moving our large very heavy and varied collection of artefacts, stores and tools etc. the Trust employed a very experienced and professional moving team.  We had a small group of around twelve members who were involved in wrapping and packing our entire collection, many giving up valuable time for a period of around eight weeks. 

Located on the first floor of the Ropery building is where we have three new, secure storage pods. One pod is where we can conserve, preserve and store our collection of Royal Navy Uniforms along with our large collection of RN flags and textiles, whilst another pod is being used as our Photographic/Video Studio and our small item Artefact and Document store. The final pod will be used to store our books and organic items. We also have a large open storage area for general items and artefacts. We also have a workshop and a small mess room.  

Moving artefacts into the Ropery Storage area Moving artefacts into the Ropery Storage area

Crawshaw's "History of Chatham Dockyard"

CDHS has always known of James Crawshaw's passion for the subject and have been aware of his unpublished notes, keeping in touch with his wife, Grace Crawshaw in her retirement and subsequently Isabel Garford, his daughter.

Many of our Society members were taught by James D Crawshaw MBE, MSc, Dip Ed and a Head of Department at the Dockyard Technical School, and have a great respect for his talents.  We knew that he had produced excellent books on St. Mary's Church and the Dockyard School, but we were also aware that his Magnum Opus was only published in a limited print run of 50 or so bound copies in 1999.

We are exceedingly glad that Grace and Isabel completed Crawshaw's History of Chatham Dockyard, it surpasses all our expectations, and students of this country's maritime history will forever be grateful.  It will become the definitive work on the subject and a fitting tribute to this fascinating Historic Dockyard.  Acknowledgements to these key people who were instrumental in permitting the book to be republished:- Mrs Isabel Garford (Jim Crawshaws' daughter); Richard Boorman whose original idea it was, Andy Boorman (Richard Boorman's son) and Len Boorman (Richard Boorman's brother), and CDHS for urging the project forward.

The book is available to access as searchable PDF documents via the three Section links below.

(NOTE:- While the hard copy book was published in two volumes, for ease of reading it is split into three Sections. Readers will find Volume 1 Contents List on page 3 of 502 and Volume 2 Contents List on Page  427 of 502 in download Section 1.  Indices for the whole book commence at Page 114 of 208 in download Section 3.  This is the original version and has not been updated.)

Dockyard Photograph Collection

As a result of the hard work undertaken by our Photographic Section of CDHS, we are pleased to announce that over 20,000 photographs have been digitised and are now available for viewing online at  A little work still needs to be done to tidy things up and to begin with you will be asked for a username and password.  You should use "user" for the user name and "password" for the password.  This requirement will be removed in the near future.

2024 marks 40 years since the closure of Chatham Dockyard on 31 March 1984