Chatham Travel Guide

Browse 2 travel reviews, travel blogs and 5 travel photos from real travelers to Chatham.

Chatham Locals

John jason Lorna claire Rachel James lynsey

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Chatham Overview

Originally where the term ‘Chav’ derives from Chatham is one of the larger towns which make up part of the Medway. It was initially developed around an important naval dockyard on the east bank of the River Medway to the southeast of London in Kent.

Charles Dickens lived in the town as a boy, both in 'The Brook, Chatham' and in Ordnance Terrace before Chatham railway station was built just opposite. He subsequently described it as the happiest period of his childhood, and eventually returned to the area in adulthood when he bought a house in nearby Gad's Hill. Medway features in his novels.

Chatham was first recorded as Cetham in 880, its name coming from the British root ceto and the Old English ham thus meaning a forest settlement. The origin of the word 'Chatham' may have come from the same root as Catti or 'Chatti' that migrated into Britain.

Chatham Dockyard was established by Elizabeth I in 1568 and the small village of Chatham grew to service it. At one point thousands of men were employed at the dockyard, and many hundreds of vessels were launched there, including HMS Victory which was built there in the 1760s. After World War One many submarines were also built in Chatham Dockyard. The dockyard was shut as an operational site in 1984 by the Margaret Thatcher, and the Conservative Government; a large part of it became a historic site and the rest has been developed for housing, industrial sites and as a commercial marina.

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