St Mary's Island History Group


The St Mary’s Island History Group wished to mark the Centenary of the start of the First World War with a specific project. We had in our first months been putting together material on the history of St Mary’s Island and felt we could bring about an exhibition by November, 2014.


There is too much history for us to cover all that has happened around where our homes now are. What we have endeavoured to do is to look at five time periods and mention significant events alongside social changes.


We are pleased to acknowledge much help from people on and off the Island and see this exhibition as achieving our aim of remembering as well as being a work in progress to keep on

collecting the Island’s history.


St Mary's Island History Group actively seeks information on source or copyright of illustrations shown and aims to give credit for them.


Where this is not shown perhaps you can help us to find this out

and we will happily link with that organisation or group etc to help

promote them too. We are a not-for-profit community group.


The St. Mary’s Island History Group wishes to acknowledge the help and support of:


Community Development Foundation: The grant obtained with local support has allowed purchase of a  computer, projector, display boards and support costs for achieving the project.


Chatham Maritime Trust


St Mary’s Island Residents’ Association


Chatham Historic Dockyard and its Collection and volunteers


River Ward Councillors of Medway Council


Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre


Royal Engineers Museum


Chatham Dockyard Historical Society

“Chatham Dockyard: The Rise and Fall of a Military Industrial Complex” by Phillip MacDougall


Former Dockyard employees and their families Many people who have taken the time and respect to put information on the Web about the Island, the Dockyard and the Royal Navy, its ships and sailors.




We need you



How we told the Island about beginning of the 1914 to 2014 Project and asked for your help in seeing it through.


One of the most remarkable periods to find out about has been from the 1950s to the 1980s that for Chatham Dockyard and St Mary's Island saw a huge leap in technology and  work pressures.


Just across the main road we have the University buildings that were once part of HMS Pembroke naval barracks with hundreds of sailors passing through on deployment, training and staying while ships were in for refit.  There were also the demands of  the Falklands War, the Icelandic 'Cod War' and the 'Cold War' was still very much around with Chatham's speciality in submarines coming to the fore.


There was a Coronation and a Silver Jubilee in that time too. Then 1984 when the Dockyard closed.


We are still and will continue to collect information on the Island and those connected with it across the centuries. We are also creating history at the same time.


We have recently helped Chatham Maritime Trust with creating walk leaflets for the Island and university areas. First guided walks were given at the recent Food and Drink Festival.