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Chatham Dockyard Covered Slipways
Chatham, Kent
associated engineer
George Baker & Sons
Col. Godfrey T. Greene
date  1836 - 1855
era  Georgian  |  category  Docks/Slipway  |  reference  TQ758695
ICE reference number  HEW 1608
Five large, covered slipways, numbered 3-7, were built at Chatham Dockyard over a 19 year period. Covered slips were a recent innovation to decrease the amount of rot suffered by ship timbers during construction.
Of the first four at Chatham, only the covering structures remain; No.7 still has its slip dock, and was in use for ship building and repair until 1966.
No.3 was built first, along the lines developed by the Surveyor to the Navy Board, Sir Robert Seppings. The roof, originally timber, is now boarded and asbestos sheeted, and supported along its 300ft length on 52 upright beams made of timber. These are socketed into cast-iron feet, and an iron framework supports a wooden floor which was later inserted halfway up the 93ft span of the structure. The overall width is 146ft, and the roof is closed at the shore end.
The slipway was completed in 1838. Nine years later Slip No.'s 4, 5 and 6 were provided with iron framed roofs, designed by George Baker & Sons. These were clad in the then new material of corrugated, galvanised iron sheeting.
Also 300ft long, the slipway roofs are supported by cast and wrought iron frames standing at every 30ft. Cast-iron columns, 29ft high, support circular, braced arches of 89ft main span, and side aisle arches of varying widths.
In 1855, G.T. Greene designed the final slipway, No.7 to imitate its neighbours but stands one frame longer. The main span, at 82ft, is slightly narrower, flanked by side aisles of 34ft span each. The height above the slip is 69ft, and the entire roof structure is of cast and wrought iron, clad in corrugated sheeting.
reference sources   LG/SJ

Chatham Dockyard Covered Slipways