It’s obvious that a ropery has to be long. But a quarter of a mile long? That’s how long it is in the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, near London. The dockyard which only closed down in 1984 was at its peak in the 17th and 18th century and is generally regarded as the most complete remaining example of a dockyard of the Age of Sail. All in all more than 400 warships were launched at Chatham, including HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship at the battle of Trafalgar. A magnificent model of the famous ship is one of the highlights in the museum on the site. Visitors can also go on an 18th century adventure exploring the dockyard in 1758 and experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of British warship building. Lying at anchor just next door are three more modern warships built in the dock: a Victorian sloop, a destroyer from the Second World War and a submarine. Of course you are free to go aboard and explore them. And if you want to find out how thick ship’s rope was made why not take a trip to the ropery. It is not only long but still in operation. You can even try your hand at making rope yourself on the machines which are up to 200 years old!