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Visit Medway in June to enjoy battle commemorations

9 January 2017

Medway will be welcoming visitors from far and wide in June, as the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway is commemorated through a fortnight of events, including spectacular displays, one off exhibitions and VIP visits.

The battle, in which the Dutch launched a daring assault on the English, has great national and international significance due to its momentous consequences impacting the British economy. The battle led to huge investment in new ships and dockyard facilities, laying the foundations of British supremacy at sea for the next 200 years and contributing to Britain’s economic success and the growth of the empire. It also eventually led to the Dutch monarch becoming England’s king after the Glorious Revolution.

Three-hundred-and-fifty years on, it’s time to remember the epic events of June 1667, an often forgotten dark time in Medway’s naval history, with a two-week extravaganza from 8-17 June, full of entertainment, history, and education.

Commemoration events - 8 to 17 June

Among the events will be a new Heritage Lottery funded Battle of Medway gallery at Upnor Castle, the very epicentre of the Battle, and a one off exhibition at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham which will explore the battle through contemporary accounts and items of significance borrowed from Dutch and UK national museums. The Command of the Oceans galleries, also at the Dockyard, will highlight the major investment in new ships and Dockyard facilities as a result of the battle.

Finale event - 17 June

The grand finale event on 17 June, called Medway in Flames, will be held at the battle site on the River Medway at Chatham overlooked by Upnor Castle and The Historic Dockyard, from which the English fired at Dutch vessels in a bid to stop the onslaught of their ships.

Visitors from far and wide are invited to enjoy the fortnight of events and what is set to be a magnificent, large scale finale event, reliving the action that dramatically brought the second Anglo-Dutch war to an end. Expect water screens, projections, characters, pyrotechnics, special effects, fireworks and much more.

The events in June will not only remember what happened, but also highlight the relationship and growing connections between the Dutch and English – from fire to friendship. The Dutch too will be celebrating the anniversary of The Battle of Medway, or Tocht naar Chatham as it’s known in the Netherlands which translates as Journey to Chatham, during the week commencing 19 June.

All commemoration events in Medway have been organised by Medway Council and the Historic Dockyard, Chatham.

Council Leader Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “You do not want to miss out on the events in Medway in summer 2017. It’s important that we remember the history on our door step and we want to welcome visitors to Medway to learn, share and be enthused by a large but often forgotten part of English history. We want to share the two-week experience and our dramatic finale event with both local people and visitors from further afield.

“We’ve been very fortunate to receive Heritage Lottery Funding to help us celebrate this important anniversary with a new gallery at Upnor Castle.”

Richard Holdsworth, Preservation & Education Director at Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said: “The events of June 1667 marked a significant moment in our national story and we are delighted at this opportunity to take part in the celebrations and display extraordinary objects from the period held in Dutch and British national collections.

“Visitors will also be able to enjoy our Command of the Oceans galleries telling the complete dockyard story from the period and the role it and the people of Chatham played during this and other important events in British and world history. It’s going to be quite a year.”

Find out more

There's lots more information available on the Battle of Medway website or join the conversation on Twitter with #BoM350 #TNC350