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The Royal Engineers at Chatham 1750-2012

Front cover for The Royal Engineers at Chatham 1750-2012

Hardback by Peter Kendall


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  • Tells the story of the Chatham Garrison in Kent, a site of major international military significance
  • Surviving physical evidence at Chatham is substantial and unique - relating directly to Britain's development as a nineteenth-century imperial power
  • Contains extensive use of previously unpublished Royal Engineer photographic archive material

Chatham, on the River Medway in Kent, is a site of international military significance. It has been vitally important for the defence of the nation for more than four centuries, ever since the Royal Navy used the river here as a safe anchorage for mooring their warships and a dockyard was built.

In this superbly illustrated book, using previously unpublished archives, Peter Kendall tells for the first time the story of the defences that protected the dockyard and the key route to London, from substantial lines of earthen ramparts and ditches to major citadels and innovative forts. Part of his narrative focuses on how the Medway area developed a major role in the storage of explosives and artillery, how the first training school for the Royal Engineers was founded at Chatham in 1812 and how the soldiers were trained in siege exercises, which were huge spectacles attracting thousands of spectators. The author gives the human side of the military training and conflicts, with his descriptions of the life endured by the new recruits and the terrible conditions in barracks that were gradually improved at Chatham and elsewhere, particularly following on from the Crimean War.


1. Early Days
2. On the Defensive
3. The First Chatham Lines
4. Barracks and Billeting, 1756-1801
5. Reinforcing the Chatham Lines
6. Napoleonic Wars and the Threat of Invasion
7. The New Fortifications
8. Firepower and Sieges
9. Barracks and Brompton
10. After the Napoleonic Wars
11. The Crimean War and Reform
12. The School of Military Engineering
13. Reforming Soldiers' Lives
14. New Fortifications and World War I
15. World War II to the present day
16. 21st-Century Royal Engineers and the Royal School of Military Engineering

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £50.00
  • Series: General History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Hardback
  • Physical Size: 276 x 219 mm
  • Pages: 192
  • Illustration: 174, Colour and b&w
  • Product Code: 51662
  • ISBN: 9781848020986


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Royal Engineers Chatham

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • The Grand Storehouse of 1719 (since demolished) on the Gunwharf
  • The brick-lined ditches of the Lower Lines
  • Replica gun carriages on the Upper Cornwallis battery at Fort Amherst
  • The Brompton barracks with the 1804-6 ranges at the top
  • The interior of No. 3 Slip at Chatham Dockyard
  • The remodelled Royal Marines barracks at Chatham
  • Aerial view of the Chattenden Magazine enclosure
  • The wardroom of the naval barracks of HMS Pembroke
  • The Chatham naval hospital in the early 20th century
  • An artist's reconstruction of the First World War AA site at Lodge Hill
  • An artist's reconstruction of the AA site Lodge Hill as it fires at a German zeppelin
  • Chatham in 1848

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