Chatham Archive

The World Ship Society’s Library and Archive is on a par with those of many major institutions, and is situated in the Chatham Historic Dockyard.  Thanks to a core of volunteers, the Library and Archive is usually open from at least 11.00am to 4.00pm most days but current restriction mean that is by appointment only with Robin Neale whilst the Chatham Historic Dockyard is open from mid-February to the end of November.  However, members planning a visit are strongly advised to check opening times with Robin Neale, 07377 379 830, e-mail  Please also contact Robin if you are able to volunteer at the Library and Archive.

The library comprises a large collection of books and periodicals covering many aspects of mercantile and naval shipping.  It includes important collections of reference books, including many copies of Lloyd’s Register, Mercantile Navy List, Jane’s Fighting Ships, Lloyd’s Confidential Index and Lloyd’s Shipping Index.  It also houses a number of unique collections, for instance of Society Branch journals.  It is probably unique amongst specialist libraries in allowing members to borrow certain books.  The book collection at Chatham is well catalogued.

The Chatham facility also houses an archive in which members’ research work has been deposited so that it will be preserved and – most importantly – made available to researchers.

The facility also stores Society publications and also holds a large stock of second-hand books, journals and photographs which are for sale to visitors.

The Library and Archive is directed by a Management Committee comprising volunteers and Society officers, which oversees its day-to-day activities and staffing, and is charged with developing its collection policy.  Via its chair, a Trustee and Director of the WSS, the Committee reports directly to the Society’s Council.

Donations of books, periodicals and photographs are accepted on the strict understanding that – if copies of any material are already held – the Society is free to sell or otherwise dispose of it.  But please note that we already have most of the well-known books, including copies of most post-war journals.  Members wishing to make such donations, or who wish to leave their research work archived at Chatham, must first contact Roy Fenton, 18 Durrington Avenue, London SW20 8NT,

Address: Historic Dockyard is Main Gate Rd, Chatham ME4 4TZ.