A threatened global legacy: Naval dockyard cities' heritage

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Developed and developing countries alike face the burden of protecting their historic buildings and sites. Royal naval dockyard cities, in particular, possess an immense stock of redundant historic buildings which, because of their scale and listed status, means that conservation or conversion is expensive. Although many profitable and attractive, waterfronts have been created through dockyard regeneration projects, there are diverse challenges in designing and financing such schemes. Ironically, the current economic downturn could protect these sites for future sympathetic regeneration, but this carries the risk of further structural deterioration. Many dockyards are closed or privatised and the heritage is 'behind the wall'; their surrounding communities unaware often of what exists, unseen. In addition, when 'dockyard' equals 'colonial' or 'imperial' hegemony, cultural pressures can add challenging difficulties. This paper presents a brief examination of the historic development of dockyards and case studies from Sheerness, Bermuda and Gibraltar which illustrate the issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Municipal Engineer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • Ports, docks and harbours
  • Social impart
  • Urban regeneration


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