|Dolphin Yard is located on Milton Creek, a tidal inlet running from Milton and Sittingboune to the Swale - the tidal channel separating the Isle of Sheppey from the mainland. The heyday of the creek began in the mid 19th century when the first of a series of paper mills, cement works and brickfields was introduced. Fleets of vessels brought in London sweepings and sand for bricks, mud and lime for cement - and took away the finished product.|
the Second World War the creek (whose yards had produced over 500 sailing
barges) had seen its best. Throughout this period of decline the yard
of Charles Burley remained. Based on Burley's 'Dolphin Brand' cement works,
the yard continued repairing barges until about 1965. By 1968 the site
was owned by Bourncrete Limited, manufacturers of concrete products. The
yard was then leased to the newly established Dolphin Sailing Barge Museum
Trust who saw it as one of the most unaltered small shipyards of its type.
Architecturally the buildings are unimpressive but have an honest appeal,
constructed on a massive scale. The forge has as its main supports sawn-up
barge tillers while in the sail-loft many of the main beams and supporting
posts have come from sailing vessels.
With the establishment of the Trust and the restoration of the yard the connection between the town of Sittingbourne and its creek has been re-established.