Chatham chest

The Chatham Chest was established in 1590 by Sir John Hawkins and others to provide pensions for wounded seamen. The fund was supported by compulsory deductions of 6d a month from seamen's wages. The iron chest was ordered in 1625 to hold the money for a mutual benevolent fund for disabled seaman and was deposited with Greenwich Hospital by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty in 1845.

The iron chest has five locks: a disguised keyhole in the top, which operated an elaborate lock covering the entire interior of the lid, and four hasps for padlocks. The keyhole in the front of the chest is false.

The original key survives with this chest.

Object Details

ID: AAA3310
Type: Safe
Display location: Not on display
Date made: 1625
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Overall: 635 mm x 1060 mm x 584 mm x 251 kg

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