Chemical Department

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Chemical Department
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Department overview
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom Government of the United Kingdom
Department executive
Parent DepartmentDepartment of Admiralty

The Chemical Department it replaced the Office of the Admiralty Chemist was the Admiralty research department that was responsible for the testing and trials of lubricants, metals and paints for the Royal Navy it was based at Portsmouth, England from 1870 to 1956 when it merged with parts of the Central Metallurgical Laboratory and was replaced by the Central Dockyard Laboratory.


The Admiralty Chemical Department, Portsmouth, originated in the appointment of an Admiralty Chemist in 1867. In 1870 as the work of the admiralty chemist was expanding led to the creation of a chemical department with supporting researchers and clerical staff being established. In 1956 specific functions of the Central Metallurgical Laboratory transferred to the department when it was replaced by the Central Dockyard Laboratory. It provided Support Services for fleet and shore establishments, including metallurgy, chemistry, biology, paint technology and reactor chemistry research.

Head of Department

Admiralty Chemist

  1. Dr W.J. Hay, Esq., F.C.S, 1870-1874
  2. Dr N. Weston, Esq., F.C.S, 1874-1904
  3. Dr Arnold Philip, Esq., F.C.S, 1914-1918
  4. Dr F.G. Edmed Esq. FIC. 1926-1940


  • Board of Admiralty, Office of the Admiralty Chemist, (1867-1870)
  • Board of Admiralty, Chemical Department, (1870-1956)
  • Board of Admiralty, Central Dockyard Laboratory, (1956-1977)
  • Ministry of Defence, Admiralty Marine Technology Establishment (AMTE), (1977-1984)
  • Ministry of Defence, Admiralty Research Establishment (ARE), (1984-1991)
  • Ministry of Defence, Defence Research Agency, (1991-1995)