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Report - - British Shipbuilding Efforts, 2006 - 2016 | Noteworthy Reports | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - British Shipbuilding Efforts, 2006 - 2016

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#1
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Driving along the main road through Govan, a familiar sight loomed in the distance, the vast stone facade of Fairfield Shipyard offices. I had wandered up and down the outside of that building whenever I was passing through Glasgow, hoping one day to find a popped board. To my surprise, the familiar boards were removed, and the door was open, and I was very pleased to find part of the building is now a museum. OK it wasn't an explore, but after years of waiting I finally got to see it's magnificent interior. The experience got me thinking about the other yards I have seen over the years...

I was late to the party with shipbuilding. The story is the usual one for British heavy industry: We pioneered, made fortunes, got a tad complacent, nationalized, wound up... done. There must have been so much of this stuff around in the 80's and 90's I almost drool over the thought of it. By the time I got on the case all the closures from that period were pretty much flattened, so when Swan Hunter finally wound up I made a big effort to try to see as much as I could. Short of that the portfolio is made up of flooded dry docks, a few small scale cranes with a few of my favorite part of any yard, the drawing office and administration building.

So below is a bit of a record from my wanderings around the Tyne, Tees, Clyde and Humber, with a few shots of the few remaining bits around Belfast. You have to hand it to Glasgow, they had the foresight to preserve a small number of the many cranes which lined the banks of the Clyde. If they had not, there would be even less to show you all now!


And remember.... "there will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism, there will be no bevvying because the world is watching us." ;)

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Meadowside yard, the oh so lavish offices of W M Henderson, which tragically burned to the ground this year

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Harland and Wolfe's drawing office. The RMS Titanic was drawn here, but don't worry Belfast won't let you leave the area without reminding you 100,000 times! In '07 this building was not open to the public, although I expect it is by now...

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One of the ruins of the yard round the corner from the "Titanic Quarter" Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to pull all this down and then try and use the yards as a tourist attraction!
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Duston, had closed as a shipyard a long time before my visit, the yard being used to chip scrap wood. Plenty left to see though. All since demolished I believe

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dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#2
Another of the yards on the Clyde. At the time this was sat derelict, with a few ruinous buildings. It's now being incorporated into Glasgow's "Digital Quarter"

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Swan Hunter, last of the big yards on the Tyne. Various visits while the crane was being dismantled. These are now in service in India...

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Neptune yard in the distance
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Middle Dock, Tyneside

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The remains of John Brown... Again not sure what became of this. It was being developed when I was there in 07
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Hawthorne Leslie. Once a huge yard which had largely been demolished by the time I got there which was a huge fail as loads had gone only the year before... Fantastic place before it got smashed and burned to such an extent it lost it's status as a listed building.

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Directors office
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I guess this is where you went to place an order for your ship :)
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Smallscale shipwrights and builders around the Humber

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Doxford.... Incredible place. Victorian building with epic lavish interior, covered up with equally epic 70's decor. If I'd have known back then just how amazing this place was I would have perhaps spent more time in there and tried a little harder with my photographs!!

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The Kwan

Easily Led
Regular User
#6
Really enjoyed this report, being an ex shipyard spark myself and seeing the decline in my own area for shipbuilding I can relate to a lot of the images. Fortunately we still have some ship repair here at Cammell Laird on the Wirral but only because we retained the dockside cranes otherwise it would be gone here too.
hope you dont mind but here are a few that I took of Cammell Lairds Dry docks from a church next door to the yard that was scaffed out for repairs.

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RN supply ship in for sonar dome repair
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dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#7
More of this sort of thing! Exploring like this doesn't really seem to be around much nowerdays.
I think there may be bit and pieces left in Liverpool but I'm struggling to find much left that isn't already posted above...

Did anyone ever get in Swan Hunter's offices? I was t'other sidesign of the river last week and despite the news it's now an "enterprise centre" it looked very derelict from that distance!
 

dave

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#9
Great work there over the years, very important to record our industrial past i reckon. Must admit ive spent countless hours exploring the ship yards of the north east over the years that said i could have and should have made more of an effort to get to other places seen in your report above. Not too sure about the state of play at Swans will have to look into it. anyway thanks for posting it brought back some very happy memories for me may have a look at some of my old stuff.
 

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#10
Not too sure about the state of play at Swans will have to look into it. anyway thanks for posting it brought back some very happy memories for me may have a look at some of my old stuff.
Yes post your stuff up! And if I'm missing anything here that's still standing please let me know!
 

Gone

Regular User
#11
It's refreshing to read this thread Dweeb, there is only so many Camelot and Alder Hey reports I can read.

I can only comment on Liverpool really, I remember coming past the pleasure island site as a kid and seeing those huge sheds across the water, always thinking they were bloody big car garages!

Nice photos of CL by the way Kwan, they were re-fitting two RFA's when I visited the site, for the life of me I cant remember the bigger ship on the left. We tried to get up close and personal with the Fort Austin but it didn't work out.

I'm not sure if they're still there but I enjoyed climbing on those NEI Cranes too.

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Excuse the panos, they aren't fantastically stitched. Hope you don't mind the photos on ya thread!
 

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The Kwan

Easily Led
Regular User
#14
Last edited:

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#15
Whoa... 130 T on a beam crane, that's a bloody big beam crane!! What's the crack there then...? Are those ships destined for scrap or what?