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The Nonnatus House and the interior scenes of Call the Midwife are filmed at a studio. But many of the exterior scenes with midwives bicycling around the East End of London are filmed at the Chatham Dockyard.
Chatham Historic Dockyard is a maritime museum inhabiting a portion of the Royal Navy’s facilities that were in use for several hundred years before they were closed in 1984. The Historic Dockyard houses an extraordinary number of exhibits including three historic warships, a Victorian ropery, and a lifeboat collection.
Besides Call the Midwife, many other shows and movies have also been filmed at this historic site and the tour will cover those as well. Here are a few, with links to the description by the Kent Film Office of the locations used:
One exciting aspect of the Call the Midwife tour is that the tour price of £15 includes the entry fee for the Historic Dockyard, normally £24. That’s a real bargain!
Here’s my proposed itinerary for a Saturday day trip from London that includes the 1:30pm Call the Midwife tour.
9:27 Take the train from London St. Pancras station
10:05 Arrive at Chatham Railway station
Walk (20 to 30 minutes) or take a bus or taxi to the Historic Dockyard
Tour the newest exhibit, Command of the Oceans, mostly about the Age of Sail
Mess Deck for “a delicious menu of locally sourced meals and sandwiches,” including Fish & Chips
Tour the Steam, Steel, and Submarine exhibit
1:30 Take the Call the Midwife tour (I fully expect Rick to skip this in favor of more time with the steam engines)
Tour the HMS Gannett, an 1878 warship powered by sail and steam
Grab a sandwich at the Wagon Stop Canteen for the return trip
17:45 Walk back to Chatham Railway station
18:24 Train leaves for London St. Pancras station
I’d like to make this day trip early in our visit to London because Rick might say that one day wasn’t enough and he wants to return for a second day trip. If we return on a weekday, I want to see the rope-making demonstration at 12:30pm.
This would be a big day of travel for us, so I would want to plan easy days, like walks in a park or along the Thames, for the day before and after.
Here are all the ways, besides re-watching Call the Midwife, that I could prepare for this special day:
- Re-watch Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
- Watch That Hamilton Woman, a 1941 film about Admiral Nelson’s mistress
- Read one or more biographies of Horatio Nelson: The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson by R.J.B. Knight, Nelson: Love and Fame by Edgar Vincent, or Trafalgar: The Nelson Touch by David Howarth
- Read The Volcano Lover: A Romance by Susan Sontag, a fictionalized version of the Nelson/Hamilton affair
- Read the Kydd Sea Adventures series by Julian Stockwin about a wig-maker press-ganged into the Royal Navy (or maybe I can get Rick to read these — he’s not usually into fiction, but he read the Master and Commander series when I couldn’t get into them due to the lack of female characters)
Any other ideas?