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The Keyham steam factory was planned carefully over about five years. The plans were forwarded to a nationally renowned architect, Sir Charles Barry, for him to prepare a suitable architectural clothing. His son noted wryly that is was 'the only example of his treatment of a class of buildings which it has been common to despair of architecturally, and to surrender to the domains of plain and even ugly utilitarianism'. Keyham was omitted from Barry's obituary article in the RIBA Journal. This building was clearly considered a major work, and one on a different scale to the already over-stretched steam factories at Woolwich and Portsmouth.
1853 Dockyard opened, comprising three docks and two basins
1895 A scheme of extension was approved
1896 Sir John Jackson, the contractor, had began work on the extension, providing for three graving docks
1906 Work on the extension was completed