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There have also been other naval disasters in Medway other than the Raid on the Medway.On 25 November 1914 the battleship HMS Bulwark was moored at buoy number 17 at Kethole Reach on the River Medway.
The dockyard was closed in 1984, with the loss of eight thousand jobs at the dockyard itself and many more in local supply industries, contributing to a mid-1980s Medway unemployment rate of twenty percent.
The Medway area has a long and varied history dominated originally by the city of Rochester and later by the naval and military establishments principally in Chatham and Gillingham.
Rochester was established on an Iron Age site by the Romans, who called it Durobrivae (meaning "stronghold by the bridge"), to control the point where Watling Street (now the A2) crossed the River Medway.
Another warship built at Chatham that still exists is HMS Unicorn (a 46-gun "Leda" class frigate) laid down in February 1822, and launched 30 March 1824.
She never saw active service and has been restored and is (as of 2005) preserved afloat in Dundee, Scotland.
The Chatham Division was based in Chatham until the closure of the Chatham Dockyard.
A small museum dedicated to the Royal Marines can be found at the dockyard.
It was here that HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, was built and launched in 1765.
Sir Francis Drake learned his seamanship on the Medway; Sir John Hawkins founded a hospital in Chatham for seamen, and Nelson began his Navy service at Chatham at the age of 12.
Less than six months later there was a second explosion. She was a 1,500-passenger liner built at Dumbarton in 1914 for Canadian Pacific.
Before she could leave Britain she was commandeered for war service and became HMS Princess Irene, and was used as a minelayer.
Rochester later became a walled town and, under later Saxon influence, a mint was established here.