Historic Sheerness Royal Navy Dockyard
As the navy withdrew from their base at the Royal Dockyard, Sheerness, the commercial working of the port moved in and many of the historic houses for senior officers became offices or were split into flats.  Now after 50 years the importance of these buildings is being recognised and with the support and expert guidance of the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust restoration work is underway.  The Trust, backed by private finance, has been able to secure the future of Regency Close, the Superintendent’s House, The Boatswain’s House as well as the properties which formed part of the main gate complex.

The rebuilding and upgrading of the Naval Dockyard in 1816-26 was an incredible feat of architecture and engineering.  It is a rare example of a project of this size that is all of one build period.  The scale model which will hopefully one day go on display at Sheerness, covers 1,600 sq.ft. and illustrates the amazing attention to detail.  It brought together Edward Holls and George Ledwell Taylor, architects for the Navy Board and engineers John Rennie the Elder and Sir John Rennie the younger.  At the time the cost of the project exceeded £2.5 million of which £1,616,751 was spent on engineering work to provide stable foundations for the buildings.

No.6 Naval Terrace, which stands just outside the Dockyard wall, was restored using the craftsmen of the Spitalfields Trust about five years ago.  This house stands to illustrate just how beautiful these late Georgian buildings are and the quality of the materials used.  The freehold of No.6 is now on the market with a guide price of £485,000.  It was built for naval officers and included a surprising amount of built-in cupboards and furniture to take account of the frequency its occupants were likely to move.  At the rear of this 4 bedroom Grade II* house is a sheltered walled garden and converted coach house.  The restoration is inspirational and has encouraged others to start work on the rejuvenation of a  number of the houses within the Dockyard including the substantial Superintendent’s House.

The Boatswain’s House, within the Dockyard, has yet to be restored and a purchaser is being sought to take on the challenge of bringing this delightful double fronted late Georgian house back to life.  It has, for a number of years, been used as offices but planning and listed building consent have now been granted for it to be restored as a private residence.  At an asking price of £350,000 for the freehold, it provides a purchaser with a wonderful opportunity to restore part of the country’s built heritage.  An historic house of modest proportions it is nonetheless a house of quality and style, built at a time when England had naval supremacy and significant funds were spent on the defence of our shores and the Thames gateway to London in particular.