Webpage created: July 08, 2019
Webpage updated: July 08, 2019
To the south of the First Dock of the Royal Dockyard was the Ropery. This building ran from just east of the Great Storehouse for 1,056 feet to the wall of the Dockyard. In fact it could not be completed because it was necessary to go beyond the Dockyard wall for a short distance and this met with objections form the tenant of the land outside the Wall, the notorious Mr Doidge. The building was 25 feet wide and had two upper floors, the first floor being used as the Sail Loft and the second floor as the Mould Loft.
At the western end, nearest the Great Storehouse, was a large Hemp Shed with a smaller Oakum Shed attached. About a third of the way along it, and attached to it, were Yarn Houses (for White Yarn and Tarred Yard) and beyond them the Rigging House.
To the south of the Ropery was a small Mast House and a Boat House and even further south the Joiners' Mast and Smiths' Shops and a large Mast Pond.
The Ropery suffered a disastrous fire on the night of July 2nd/3rd 1761, when about 500 tons of cordage, 700 sails, and 1,00 tons of hemp were destroyed. This was quite fortuitous, however, as the Ropery was blocking expansion on to the New Ground to the south and it had been decided that it should be demolished and replaced with new buildings running from north to south so that they did not obstruct access to the new area. The Ropery was replaced by two separate buildings, the East Ropehouse and the West Ropehouse, nearer to the eastern Dockyard wall.