|Predecessor||Northwestern Ship Repairers and Shipbuilding |
Birkenhead, Merseyside, UK
|John Syvret |
Tony GrahamPaul Owen
Number of employees
Cammell Laird is a British shipbuilding company. The company came about following the merger of Laird Brothers of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co. of Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century. The company also built railway rolling stock until 1929, when that side of the business was separated and became part of the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company.
The Laird 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.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 also made major advances in propulsion. In 1860, John Laird was joined in the business by his three sons, renaming it John Laird, Sons & Co. The sons continued the business after their father's death in 1874 as Laird Brothers.
Johnson Cammell & Co. was 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.
In 1903 the businesses of Messrs. Cammell and Laird merged to create a company at the forefront of shipbuilding.The company also built a number of vehicles for the London Underground. An order was placed for 20 trailer cars and 20 control trailer cars in 1919, which were known as 1920 Stock, and were the first tube cars to be built with doors operated by compressed air. They ran with converted French motor cars, originally built in 1906. The doors were fitted with a sensitive edge, designed to re-open the door if someone became trapped in it, but the mechanism was too sensitive, and was removed after an initial trial period. The cars continued in operation until 1938, eight years after the motor cars were withdrawn, but following withdrawal, five cars became a mobile training school. Cammell Laird also built a number of Standard Stock vehicles for the Underground. They were one of five builders approached to build a sample car to a general specification, which were put into service in February 1923, and three of the builders subsequently built production runs. The company supplied 41 motor cars and 40 trailer cars in 1923, 25 control trailers in 1924, and a further 48 motor cars in 1925.
In 1927, they built 160 passenger coaches for use in India. To transport them, Cammell Laird asked Watsons of Gainsborough to build five dumb barges. The coaches were loaded onto the barges at Clifton, near Nottingham on the River Trent, and towed in pairs downriver by a twin-screwed tug named Motorman, built by Henry Scarr of Hessle in 1925. They were taken to Hull for export.In 1929, the railway rolling stock business of Cammell Laird was spun off and merged to become Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company Ltd.
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, CSS Alabama that was built in 1862 for the Confederate States of America, HMS Caroline that holds the record fastest build time of any significant warship (nine months from her keel being laid till her launch), the first all-welded ship, the Fullagar built in 1920, Cunard's second RMS Mauretania, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (1937) the battleship HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and the largest vessel to have been built for the Royal Navy up to that time, HMS Ark Royal (1950).
In 1898, Cammell provided the half-inch armour plate used to fabricate the four Fowler Armoured Road Trains built during the Second Anglo-Boer War. The armoured road train was the first self-propelled, free-roaming, armoured military land vehicle ever built, predating the tanks of World War One by nearly two decades.
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 Barrow-in-Furness-based Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering (VSEL). VSEL and Cammell Laird were the only British shipyards capable of producing nuclear submarines. In 1993, it completed HMS Unicorn (S43) – now HMCS Windsor. After the end of the Upholder-class submarine building programme in 1993, the owners of Cammell Laird, VSEL, announced the yard's closure. This was strongly opposed by the workforce through trade union campaigners including the GMB, led by communist firebrand official Barry Williams, a point noted in his obituary in the Liverpool Daily Post.
Part of the shipyard site was leased by the Coastline Group as a ship repair facility. Coastline eventually bought part of the shipyard and adopted the Cammell Laird name, before floating on the London stock exchange in 1997 and acquiring dockyards at Teesside, Tyneside and Gibraltar.
After experiencing financial difficulties, partly due to the late withdrawal from a £50 million refit contract for the cruise ship Costa Classica cruise ship by Costa Crociere, the company was forced to enter receivership in April 2001, and the Birkenhead, Teesside and Tyneside shipyards owned by Cammell Laird shiprepair were acquired by the A&P Shiprepair Group in 2001. Cammell Laird Gibraltar, the Royal Dockyard facility in Gibraltar, was disposed of through a local management buyout.
A&P Group sold its Birkenhead subsidiary (A&P Birkenhead) to Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders in 2005.Peel Holdings, owners of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and 50% owners of Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders, purchased the Cammell Laird shipyard site and surrounding land in January 2007, to facilitate the proposed Wirral Waters development, although Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders continue to maintain a long-term lease on the shipyard facilities, which will form an integral part of the regeneration scheme.
In 2007, it was announced that the occupiers of Cammell Laird Dock, Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders, had acquired the rights to the Cammell Laird name.On 17 November 2008, Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders officially renamed itself Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited, stating that recent economic success had made the time right, and that "Cammell Laird is an internationally recognised brand which carries tremendous goodwill when bidding for contracts."
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.
In January 2010, it was announced that Lairds had received a £44m order for the flight decks of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
In May 2012, it was announced that complete shipbuilding was set to return to the yard with the awarding of preferred bidder status for two new car ferries for Dunoon-based operator, Western Ferries. Sound of Seil (II) and MV Sound of Soay began in October 2012.Construction of MV
In April 2014, the government authorised procurement of a Royal Research Ship for the British Antarctic Survey, at an estimated cost of £200 million. Cammell Laird won the construction contract in 2015. The vessel, named RRS Sir David Attenborough is expected to enter service in 2019.
It was announced in October 2017 that Cammell Laird had struck a 'teaming agreement' with BAE Systems to bid for Ministry of Defence contracts to build the Royal Navy's Type 31e frigates.
In 2018, Red Funnel chose the shipyard to construct a £10m cargo ferry, MV Red Kestrel. Construction of the ferry began with a formal keel laying ceremony on 31 May and the vessel entered service a year later.
In October 2018 it was announced that the yard had won 'Lot 3' of an MOD contract to maintain the four new Tideclass of tankers for the RFA in a deal worth an estimated £262m. A new contract worth £357m was also announced that would see Cammell Laird continue to maintain the nine RFA ships it currently supports.
|Ships built by Cammell Laird|
Birkenhead is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England; historically, until 1974, in Cheshire. It is on the Wirral Peninsula, along the west bank of the River Mersey, opposite the city of Liverpool. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 88,818.
Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering, Ltd (VSEL) was a shipbuilding company based at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in northwest England that built warships, civilian ships, submarines and armaments. The company was historically the Naval Construction Works of Vickers Armstrongs and has a heritage of building large naval warships and armaments. Through a complicated history the company's shipbuilding division is now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions and the armaments division is now part of BAE Systems Land & Armaments.
Tranmere is a suburb of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Administratively, it is also a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside. Before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, it was part of the County Borough of Birkenhead, within the geographical county of Cheshire. At the 2001 Census, the population of Tranmere was 11,668.
The Great Float is a body of water on the Wirral Peninsula, England, formed from the natural tidal inlet, the Wallasey Pool. It is split into two large docks, East Float and West Float, both part of the Birkenhead Docks complex. The docks run approximately 2 miles (3 km) inland from the River Mersey, dividing the towns of Birkenhead and Wallasey. The Great Float consists of 110 acres of water and more than 4 miles (6 km) of quays.
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Wirral, also known as The Wirral, is a peninsula in North West England. The roughly rectangular peninsula is about 15 miles (24 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide and is bounded by the River Dee to the west that forms a boundary with Wales, the River Mersey to the east, and the Irish Sea to the north.
Birkenhead Priory is in Priory Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. It is the oldest standing building on Merseyside. The remains of the priory are recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building, and it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
John Laird was a shipbuilder and key figure in the development of the town of Birkenhead. He was the elder brother of Macgregor Laird. He was one of the first to use iron in the construction of ships.
BAE Systems Submarines, known as BAE Systems Submarine Solutions until January 2012 and then BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines until 2017, is a wholly owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, and is responsible for the development and production of submarines.
The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum is situated in Claughton, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England and houses the Wirral's art collection.
Rock Ferry is an area of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, England. Administratively it is a ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, it was part of the county of Cheshire. At the 2001 Census, the population of Rock Ferry was 13,676, increasing to 14,298 at the 2011 Census.
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The Grayson Rollo and Clover shipyard was a ship repair and dry dock facility based at Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It was situated on the River Mersey between the former Cammell Laird yard and Woodside Ferry.
William Laird was a Scottish shipbuilder and developer who was responsible for what later became the Cammell Laird shipyard, and for starting the substantial development of its adjoining town, Birkenhead, on the Wirral in England.
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A&P Group Ltd is the largest ship repair and conversion company in the UK, with three shipyards located in Hebburn, Middlesbrough and Falmouth. The Company undertakes a wide variety of maintenance and repair work on commercial and military ships with projects ranging from a two-day alongside repair period through to multimillion UK pound conversion projects lasting for a year or more.
Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders was a British shiprepair company based in Birkenhead on the River Mersey.
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Modern timeline of British shipbuilding companies, 1960–present
|Hawthorn Leslie & Company|
|Caledon Sh'b. & Eng. Co.||Robb Caledon Shipbuilding|
|Harland & Wolff||Harland & Wolff Heavy Industries|
|Ailsa Shipbuilding Company||Ferguson Ailsa||Ailsa & Perth|
|Ferguson Brothers||Ferguson Shipbuilders|
|Lithgows||Scott Lithgow||Scott Lithgow|
|Scotts Sh'b. & Eng. Co.|
|Greenock Dockyard Co.|
|Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson||Swan Hunter Group||Swan Hunter|
|Smith's Dock Co.|
|John Readhead & Sons|
|Hall Russell & Co.||Hall Russell||A&P|
|Austin & Pickersgill||North East Shipbuilders Ltd.||A&P Appledore International||A&P Group|
|William Doxford & Sons|
|Appledore Shipbuilders||DML Appledore||Babcock Marine Appledore|
|Cammell Laird & Company||VSEL||Coastline||Cammell Laird||A&P Shiprepair||NWSL||CLSS|
|Vickers-Armstrongs||Vickers Ltd. Shipbuilding||Marconi Marine (VSEL)||BAE Systems Marine||BAE Systems Submarines|
|Yarrow & Co.||Y'w. Sh'b. Ltd.||Upper Clyde Shipbuilders||YSL||Marconi Marine (YSL)||BAE Surf. Flt. Solutions||BVT Surface Fleet||BAE Systems Surface Ships|
|Fairfield Sh'b. & Eng. Co.||Govan Sh'b.||Kvaerner Govan|
|Charles Connell & Company||Scotstoun Marine|
|John Brown & Company||Marathon (Clydebank)||UiE Scotland|
|Alexander Stephen & Sons|
|W Denny & Bros|
|A. & J. Inglis|
|Simons & Lobnitz|
|JI Thornycroft & Co||Vosper Thornycroft||Vosper Thornycroft||VT Group|
|Vosper & Co|
|British Hovercraft Corporation|
|BSC= British Shipbuilders Corporation|