No.1 Smithery is a world-class centre for maritime collections at the heart of the Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Many ship models from the National Maritime Museum’s collection are on display there, and the Collections Research Area makes them available for study.

The attraction offers an all-year-round series of exhibitions, inspired by maritime history. It is the result of a unique partnership between the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the National Maritime Museum (NMM) and the Imperial War Museum (IWM), bringing together magnificent maritime models, art and other items, all within a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Visit Historic Dockyard, Chatham

The King's Dockyard gallery

The King's Dockyard examines the development of Chatham Dockyard in the late 18th century. The centrepiece is a large topographical model of the site as it appeared in 1774, originally made for King George III to stimulate his interest in naval matters.

National Maritime Museum treasures gallery

This gallery examines six unique maritime models in detail, explaining their social, cultural and historical significance.

The models on display have fascinating stories to tell. For example, Trinity House keeper George Knott's model of the fourth Eddystone Lighthouse divides at each floor level like a doll's house. The model of Nelson's Victory, built by a Napoleonic prisoner-of-war, is made entirely from materials that prisoners had to hand, including bones, offcuts of wood, straw and human hair.

Improving access to our ship models collections

More than 3,000 objects are housed in purpose-built storage at No.1 Smithery. Glass viewing walls and windows within No.1 Smithery enable visitors to see into one of the collections storerooms and the items held.

Using our collections for research

Access to the stored collections of ships models at No. 1 Smithery is by appointment only. We recommend that you search our online collection of ship models in advance.

Browse the ship models collection

Request items for study

Contact the Store Manager to request items to study and arrange a visit.

  • Email: shipmodels@rmg.co.uk
  • Tel: 020 8312 6561
  • Address: The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TE
  • Opening times: Thursday-Saturday 10.00-16.00