Cammell Laird: Wikis


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Cammell Laird
Type Private
Founded 1828
Headquarters Birkenhead, UK
Key people John Syvret, (Chairman)
Industry Shipbuilding
Employees Circa 650

Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, came about following the merger of Laird, Son & Co. of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co. of Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century.




Founding of the business

The Company was founded by William Laird, who had established the Birkenhead Iron Works in 1824, when he was joined by his son, John Laird in 1828: their first ship was an iron barge.[1] John realised that the techniques of making boilers could be applied to making ships. The company soon became pre-eminent in the manufacture of iron ships and made major advances in propulsion.

In 1903 the businesses of Messrs. Cammell and Laird merged to create a company at the forefront of shipbuilding.[2] Johnson Cammell & Co. had been founded by Charles Cammell and Henry and Thomas Johnson: it made, amongst many other metal products, iron wheels and rails for Britain's railways and was based in Sheffield.[2]

Between 1829 and 1947, over 1,100 vessels of all kinds were launched from the Cammell Laird slipways into the River Mersey. Among the many famous ships made by the companies were the world's first steel ship, the Ma Roberts, built in 1858 for Dr. Livingstone's Zambezi expedition, Cunard's second Mauretania of 1939, and the first all-welded ship, the Fullagar built in 1920.

Post 1945

Cammel Laird's covered warship hall building and cranes.

The Company was nationalised along with the rest of the British shipbuilding industry as British Shipbuilders in 1977. In 1986, it returned to the private sector as part of VSEL another of the nationalised companies. VSEL and Cammell Laird were the only British shipyards capable of production of nuclear submarines. In 1993, it completed HMS Unicorn (S43) – now HMCS Windsor (SSK 877) – that to this day that is the last ship completed at the yard.[1]


After experiencing financial difficulties, partly due to the failure of a £50 million cruise ship contract with Costa Crociere, the company was forced to enter receivership, and the Birkenhead, Teesside and Tyneside shipyards were subsequently acquired by the A&P Shiprepair Group during 2001.[3] A&P Group sold its Birkenhead subsidiary (A&P Birkenhead) to Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders in 2005,[4] but continue to operate the other three yards as an integral part of their ship repair and conversion operations. The Cammell Laird brand continued in use through Cammell Laird Gibraltar, the Royal Dockyard facility in Gibraltar, which was acquired through a management buy-out in 2001, before being relaunched in late 2008 when Northwestern Shiprepairers took the name.


Peel Holdings purchased the Cammell Laird shipyard, in January 2007, to facilitate the proposed Wirral Waters development.[5]

In 2007, it was announced that the current occupiers of Cammell Laird Dock, Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders had acquired the rights to the name.[6]

In February 2008 it was announced that the company had won a £28m Ministry of Defence contract to overhaul the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Fort Rosalie.[7]

On 17 November 2008 Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders officially renamed itself Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited, stating that recent economic success made the time right, and that "Cammell Laird is an internationally recognised brand which carries tremendous goodwill when bidding for contracts."[8]

Ships built by Cammell Laird

Ships built by Cammell Laird included:

Aircraft carriers





Turret ships




Greek destroyers



Oil Tankers

Merchant ships



See also

External links


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