Travelogue de Mode: Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Medway Festival of Steam & Transport
Created by wilhelminaframe on 4/29/2013 10:54:28 PM

Editrix de Mode Wilhelmina Frame details her visit to the Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Medway Festival of Steam & Transport.

HMS Gannett by Wilhelmina FrameThe last day of my trip to England happened to fall on Easter. I spent the holiday in Kent at the Chatham Historic Dockyard, host to the Medway Festival of Steam and Transport. SPC readers may remember UK Correspondent L.C. Longo’s coverage of last year's event and also her historical information on the dockyard itself, including its famous ship, the HMS Gannett (1878).

The 2013 Medway Festival was themed around the BBC hit Call the Midwife and its 1950s setting. Visitors had the opportunity to visit specific sets and locations for the television show while volunteers tooled around the dockyard on bicycles, dressed in the show’s nurses’ uniforms.

This year’s Steampunk Central was overseen by good folk of Great Kentspectations, “the group for Steampunks in the garden of England”.  Steampunk Central featured displays of gadgets and weaponry by makers Arty Piston Broke and Swift & Sinister and stalls selling all manner of steampunk accouterments. A Steampunk themed puppet show was performed to delight the coglings and a fashion show was presented as well.

Dancing to stave off the chill (it was England’s coldest Easter on record), Steampunk Morris (it’s a kind of folk dancing) delighted and entertained.  Across the way from Steampunk Central, Mr Phoebus, The Original Penny Farthing Experience, gave visitors a chance to have a go at riding a new fangled Penny Farthing. I must admit, though I was tempted to try, Penny Farthings kind of scare the bejebus out of me. My feet are too far from the ground, you see. Still, I did enter the raffle to win one of the infernal modes of transport.

Had I not been so frozen, I might have had a pint of beer from Nelson Brewing Company. The beers are made from local hops and are brewed right behind the home of Steampunk Central. The brewery invokes the famous naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson, whose flagship “The Victory” was built at Chatham Dockyard.

Although I was there predominantly for steam, I must admit that the highlight of my time at the festival had nothing to do with Steampunk. I was able to hold and snuggle Snickers the Owl, a lovely guy cared for by Many Hoots, Centre for Disabled Birds of Prey. Snickers is a soft, friendly and photogenic creature who had been a misguided choice of house pet. Many Hoots appear often at festivals, educating people about birds of prey. You can see Snickers and I in the slideshow!

All images and video 2013 by Wilhelmina Frame.


Editrix de Mode and Part Time Lion Tamer, Wilhelmina Frame travels the globe in pursuit of adventure and style. When not in the circus ring with Rajah, her tiger and the rest of her “Kitten Kabal” (seven lions, three cheetahs and a rather droll panther), Ms. Frame can be seen at the most fabulous parties, in the latest fashions, sparkling with wit in conversation. Ms. Frame is the founder and Tiffin Master of The American Tea Duelling Society. Ms. Frame's alter-ego, Gretchen Jacobsen, is a freelance producer, award-winning costumer, prolific crafter and frequent convention panelist. She sings quite well also. Visit the home of The American Tea Duelling Society on Facebook, follow Ms. Frame on Pinterest or @ptliontamer on Twitter. 



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