Hidden Heroines: The Untold Stories of Women at the Dockyard

Whether they were real-life action conquerors of the high seas, in the mould of Sir Francis Drake and Admiral Nelson, or fictional characters such Moonfleet’s John Trenchard and Captain Horatio Hornblower, we tend to think of our naval heroes as men…

Now, a new exhibition at The Historic Dockyard Chatham is poised to challenge such preconceptions and reveal the variety of fascinating roles women played on land and at sea.

 Hidden Heroines: The Untold Stories of Women at the Dockyard (29 May – 31 October 2021) uses a mixture of photographs, fascinating archive materials, extraordinary objects and soundscapes, to reveal the fascinating, behind-the–scenes stories from the Spinning Room and Sail and Colour Loft, to tales of stowaways, transvestism, and the extraordinary women whose impact leave a lasting legacy for us today.

The exhibition also explores what women did during times of war and highlights many colourful characters – including Jane Austen’s sister-in-law Fanny, and Zandra Bradley, who became the first female apprentice in 1971 – whilst not forgetting those women who currently work at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.