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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK
Shipbuilding heads back to Medway
Grand Turk
The Grand Turk was used in the TV series, Hornblower
The company which built the replica 18th Century frigate, the Grand Turk, is planning to try to revive shipbuilding at Chatham's historic dockyard.

The Royal Naval dockyard closed 20 years ago with the loss of 7,000 jobs, ending a history of shipbuilding.

RJ Turk and Sons has successfully applied for planning permission to use the Number Seven Slip building, previously used as a leisure ski-slope.

The company has been building boats on the River Thames since 1710.

Managing director John Tweedle said it was a massive move forward for the Turk family and the company welcomed the opportunity to work at the dockyard.

Number Seven Slip building
Ships have not been built at the dockyard for 20 years
The last Royal Navy vessel to be built at the dockyard was the submarine HMS Ocelot.

She was launched on 5 May, 1962 and although finally sold for scrap 30 years later, was saved from the breaker's yard by the dockyard that built her, and now provides guided tours to thousands of visitors.

Bill Ferris, chief executive of the Historic Dockyard Trust, said he was delighted that the tradition of shipbuilding was to return.

He said it was the culmination of a process that had taken more than three years to finalise.

RJ Turk and Sons plan to build and restore historical vessels like the Grand Turk, which was used in the TV series, Hornblower.


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