Sawmill, Chatham, Kent, 1820.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Drawing showing a cross-section of a sawmill at Chatham, Kent. In the 16th century Henry VIII established a dockyard and naval base at Chatham due to its sheltered location on the Medway estuary as well as its proximity to potential threats from continental Europe. Sawmills provided the timber for the construction of wooden ships. Chatham's dockyard continued to be associated with shipbuilding and the repair of Royal Navy vessels until 1984.