Agency to help council celebrate 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway

Council bosses in Kent have appointed Four Colman Getty to help promote the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway, when a daring raid by the Dutch Navy inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Royal Navy.

Upnor Castle: The fort used to protect Chatham Dockyard and ships of the Royal Navy anchored in the Medway (Pic credit: Medway Council)
Upnor Castle: The fort used to protect Chatham Dockyard and ships of the Royal Navy anchored in the Medway (Pic credit: Medway Council)
During the Anglo-Dutch war, in June 1667, Dutch naval forces sailed up the River Medway and mounted a surprise attack against the English fleet at Chatham. 

The Dutch fleet managed to destroy a number of ships by setting fire to them, in what was a decisive victory against the English. 

Although around 30 Royal Navy ships were deliberately sunk to stop the Dutch from stealing them, the English were unable to stop the Dutch from towing away the Royal Charles, England’s flagship.

Medway Council has handed Four Colman Getty a three-month contract worth £22,000 to run a national media campaign to promote a series of events marking the 350th anniversary of the battle. 

Staring on 8 June, the commemoration includes family events, cultural festivals, sporting activities, and a new exhibition at Chatham Historic Dockyard. 

The 10-day programme will culminate in a major event on the river, called Medway in Flames, on 17 June.

Although the council has elected not to attempt to re-enact the battle and set ships on fire, it will transform a stretch of the Medway into an audio-visual display of the battle - with barges bearing huge screens and pyrotechnics along one bank of the river.

Four Colman Getty is targeting sector-specific media in art, history, lifestyle and travel, to drive footfall to the events. It will also coordinate a social media strategy with international partners.

The programme of events is being organised by Medway Council in partnership with The Historic Dockyard Chatham, the National Maritime Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the Royal Netherlands Navy, and the British Royal Navy.

Celia Glynn-Williams, head of communications at Medway Council, commented: "This is a huge opportunity to put Medway on the map, both for the community here and for international and UK tourists."

Dotti Irving, chief executive, Four Colman Getty, said: "We look forward to bringing all our years of experience in cultural place-making to this campaign, as well as our skills in promoting arts and culture both in the UK and internationally."

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