Monday 15 November 2010

Learning the Ropes...The Ropery

window sill,thick rope

When we start learning the skills we need to improve our writing you could say we're learning the ropes. But that is also the term for anyone learning about the ropes on a ship or making rope.

So to my visit to The Ropery at the Chatham Historic Dockyard...

It's very popular so you need to get your tickets for the free timed guided tour when you pay for your entry to the dockyard- it's worth every penny.

Admiral Nelson's ship Victory couldn't have run without the miles and miles of rope that were used for the rigging, the sails and even the anchor- three different sizes for the different uses.

I have to admit that I didn't take notes of the names (yes, bad girl for not writing it down I know ) as I was trying to keep hold of one of my children and I was enjoying the commentary by the lady guide who was entertaining us as we went along.
The Ropery is shown to visitors set in 1875, when mechanical spinning machines were used and women were working and had their own entrance door- so they didn't mix with the men...

Entrance to Spinning Room-Women Only

The fun began when a few of the visitors were chosen to make rope. The yarns were fixed and had to be twisted- you don't need a bad back for this- then they are combined together and with the addition of a cone shaped  device and more turning you eventually get a length of thin rope. The victims- I mean volunteers- received a section of rope they had worked hard to produce, but we could all imagine how physically exhausting the rope production was, even though we'd only seen a small piece produced.

yarns,machinery,making rope

We finally moved into the Ropewalk and looked down the length of the building, it was a long long distance and they must have been very fit...

Down the Ropewalk

Here's some of the machinery. It is still working making rope.


Well I'm just glad I don't have to go up and down the building all day.

If you get the chance to visit  you will certainly learn about history and the part  The Ropery played in  the shipping history of this country...


Helen Baggott said...

I love the first photo in particular. That's a sturdy length of rope.

Carolb said...

Thanks Helen. When I saw that piece I just had to take a photo of it. For something so practical it had an instinctive tactile appeal.

Patsy said...

Nice pictures.

A full set of rigging for Victory required 26 miles of rope. Did you know her ropes are still made at Chatham?

Carolb said...

Yes, it was mentioned during the tour,they had a rack with different types of rope- natural and synthetic which I took a picture of.
(The Cutty Sark is having work done on it at Chatham too.)

Amanda said...

Our guide was hilarious on the Ropery Tour. Great photographs, Carol.

Carolb said...

Thanks Amanda.
Yes the guide we had- the lady in the third photo- was great, she had us all laughing and smiling.