Cammell Laird

Cammell Laird

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.


William Laird had founded the Birkenhead Iron Works in 1824 and was joined by his son, John Laird in 1828. 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.

Johnson Cammell & Co. was founded by Charles Cammell and Henry and Thomas Johnson. The company made, amongst many other metal products, iron wheels and rails for Britain's railways.

In 1903 the businesses of Messrs. Cammell and Laird merged to create a company at the forefront of shipbuilding. 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 the 1920s.

Post 1945

The post Second World War years were turbulent for Cammell Laird.

It 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.


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, Gosport, Teesside and Tyneside shipyards were subsequently acquired by the A&P Shiprepair Group during 2001. [ [ Office of Fair Trading] ] A&P has since sold the 140-acre Birkenhead site to Northwestern Shiprepairers in 2003, but continue to operate the other three yards as an integral part of their ship repair and conversion operations. The Cammell Laird brand continues to survive today through the Royal Dockyard facility in Gibraltar, which was acquired through a management buy-out in 2001.


Peel Holdings purchased the Cammell Laird shipyard, in January 2007, to facilitate the proposed Wirral Waters development. [ [ "Wirral Waters scheme"] , Planning (UK), 12 January 2007]

In 2007, it was announced that the current occupiers of Cammell Laird Dock, Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders has acquired the rights to the name [ [ "Liverpool Daily Post" article] ] .

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". [ [ "BBC Website"] ] .


ee also

*Metro Cammell
*Cammell Laird Gibraltar
*Grayson Rollo and Clover Docks

External links

* [ Cammell Laird: Shipbuilders to the World (1824 - 1993)]
* [ Wirral Archives: Cammell Laird]
* [ Cammell Laird Football Club]
* [ Map of Cammell Laird Docks]

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