Friday, 30 September 2016

The Ship's Builder

The Ship's Builder

Vickers Armstrongs holds a most prestigious position in the annals of British shipbuilding and was one of the world’s most well known shipbuilders. It’s foundation as a shipyard was conceived by a James Ramsden, a former Railway Superintendant and then Mayor of Barrow-in-Furness, in the north eastern English county of Cumbria. He established the company in 1871 as the Iron Shipbuilding Company, a name soon changed to Barrow Shipbuilding Company. In 1897 it was purchased by Vickers & Sons and in 1927 merged with Armstrong Whitworth to become Vickers Armstrongs Ltd. In the early 1900’s it became the Naval Construction Yard.

Vickers Ltd Advertisement in 1914 Edition of “Jane’s Fighting Ships”
Since then the company has gone through an almost bewildering change in names, ownership, company structures and diversity into other engineering activities, notably the design and manufacture of the celebrated Spitfire fighter aircraft of World War 2 fame.
HMS Ajax
Believed to be lying off Vickers Armstrongs shipyard and almost finished building, Photo thought to be about February to March 1935
Over the years the company has built many warships of all types for the Royal Navy and many foreign navies plus a host of passenger liners, cargo ships, oil tankers etc many of which bore names that are almost household names.

The company is now known as BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, is Britain’s busiest shipyard with the largest covered ship building hall in Europe, currently constructing among other vessels seven Astute Class nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy of which the seventh will be named Ajax (Note 1).

1. ibid - “Ships Named Ajax”, Ajax 9, the “Astute” Class