News series of exhibitions marks 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway
A new series of exhibitions this summer will tell the story, from both sides, of the Battle of Medway - the formative moment in the establishment of the modern British Navy.
A major international exhibition at the Historic Dockyard Chatham presents the story of the decisive battle which ended the second Anglo-Dutch war, whilst further exhibitions at historic venues around Medway in Kent will bring the battle to life, and reimagine events from an contemporary perspective.
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- The original manuscript of John Evelyn’s diary on loan from The British Library; a contemporary of Samuel Pepys, Evelyn provides the only eye witness account of the battle, which he witnessed from the ‘hill above Gillingham’
- ‘Holmes Bonfire’ by Willem van de Velde the Elder, on loan from the Royal Collection
- A stunning velvet briefcase from the Rijksmuseum, which belonged to the Dutch Admiral Michiel de Ruyter who led the raid
The Battle of Medway
The Battle of Medway is one of the most important battles in the UK’s history. In 1667, the Dutch launched an assault on the British upon the River Medway, destroying their fleet and stealing the HMS Royal Charles, whose stern piece is on display in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. The battle had great national and international significance, triggering a chain of events that brought the Second Anglo-Dutch War to an end.
The battle and its consequences were recorded painstakingly by one of Britain’s most famous diarists, Samuel Pepys, who worked as a naval administrator at the time. Coming after the Great Plague (1665) and the Great Fire of London (1666), the blow of the defeat led to a period of rebirth: Pepys was spurred by the Dutch victory to transform the British Navy through huge investment in new ships and dockyards.
9 June to 3 September 2017 (10am – 6pm daily)
The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Church Ln, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TE; website.
£24/£21.50/£14.00 (tickets entitle visitors to a year’s entry to all Dockyard exhibitions)
6 May to 12 November 2017 (10 am – 5pm Tuesday to Sunday)
The Guildhall Museum, High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1PY
Lily Dudle / Laura Dunnage / Heather Haythornthwaite / Xtina Lamb / Adam Newton
2 June – 26 August (10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, 10.30am – 5pm Sunday)
Rochester Art Gallery, 95 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1LX
Open to public from 1 June 2017 (10am – 6pm daily)
Upnor Castle; website.
£6.40/£4/Free for English Heritage Members
Image credits: John Evelyn’s Diary © British Library Board; Namur Gallery © The Historic Dockyard Chatham; Upnor Castle © Medway Council; The Naseby (1655); Warship; 80-86 guns © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.