Swan Hunter

Swan Hunter

Swan Hunter, formerly known as "Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson", was one of the best known shipbuilding companies in the United Kingdom. Based in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, the company was responsible for some of the greatest ships of the early 20th century — most famously, the RMS "Mauretania" which held the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic, and the RMS "Carpathia" which rescued the survivors from the RMS "Titanic".

As the name suggests, the company represented the combined forces of three powerful shipbuilding families: Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson.

The company has effectively ended all shipbuilding and is now concentrating on ship design with just under 200 people employed.


Swan & Hunter was formed in 1880. In 1903, it merged with Wigham Richardson (founded by John Wigham Richardson as Neptune Works in 1860), specifically to bid for the prestigious contract to build the Mauretania on behalf of Cunard. Their bid was successful, and the new company, Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd, went on to build what was to become, in its day, the most famous ocean going liner in the world. RMS Mauretania was launched from Wallsend on Tyne on 20 September 1906 to the cheers of huge crowds. She left service in 1935.

Swan Hunter once owned the Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Company, which built the engines for some of its greatest ships. The company was an early manufacturer of Parsons turbine engines, which enabled the "Mauretania" to achieve its great speed.

The current flagship of the Royal Navy, HMS "Ark Royal" was built at Swan Hunter, entering service in 1985.

The shipyard had to be bought out from receivership by Jaap Kroese, then trading as "Swan Hunter", after it was forced to call in the receivers when the UK government awarded the contract for HMS "Ocean" to Kværner in Govan in 1993. The yard subsequently undertook several ad-hoc ship repair and conversion projects for private-sector customers.

In 2000, however, Swan Hunter was awarded the contract to design and build 2 (Auxiliary) Landing Ship Dock ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary with 2 other ships being built by BAE Systems Naval Ships. The cost of the 2 Swan Hunter ships was to be £210 million including £62 million for lead yard services, with an inservice date of 2004. By July 2006, the costs had risen to £309 million and only one ship had been delivered. As result of this, the second ship RFA "Lyme Bay" was transferred to BAE Govan for completion.

Present & future

In November 2006, after the failure to complete RFA Lyme Bay within budget and effective exclusion from other Royal Navy shipbuilding projects, Jaap Kroese announced that the business was effectively finished and sold the Wallsend Yard's iconic cranes, and was actively looking for a buyer to dispose of the land. In April 2007, Swan Hunter was acquired by Bharati Shipyards, India's second largest private sector shipbuilder. The entire plant machinery and equipment from Swan Hunter will be dismantled and brought to India over six months to be re-built at Bharati Shipyards.

ee also

hips built by Swan Hunter

"This is a partial list"

Naval vessels

* Aircraft carriers
** HMS "Albion"
** HMS "Ark Royal"
** HMS "Illustrious" (R06)
** HMS "Vengeance"
* "King George V" class battleship
** HMS "Anson" (1942)
* Town class light cruiser
** HMS "Edinburgh" (1938)
* Crown Colony class cruisers
** HMS "Gambia" (1940)
** HMS "Mauritius" (1941)
* Destroyers
** HMS "Barfleur"
** HMS "Bolebroke"
** HMS "Border"
** HMS "Brilliant"
** HMS "Bristol"
** HMS "Bulldog"
** HMS "Burton"
** HMS "Calpe"
** HMS "Codrington"
** HMS "Corrunna"
** HMS "Daring"
** HMS "Eridge"
** HMS "Esk"
** HMS "Exeter"
** HMS "Exmoor"
** HMS "Express"
** HMS "Farndale"
** HMS "Gabbard"
** HMS "Glasgow"
** HMS "Grenville"
** HMS "Grove"
** HMS "Hambledon"
** HMS "Heythrop"
** HMS "Holderness"
** HMS "Hope"
** HMS "Hunter"
** HMS "Hursley"
** HMS "Hyperion"
** HMS "Janus"
** HMS "Khartoum"
** HMS "Somali"
* Type 42 destroyers
**HMS "Newcastle"
**HMS "Glasgow"
**HMS "Exeter"
**HMS "York"
* Type 23 frigates
** HMS "Marlborough"
** HMS "Westminster"
** HMS "Northumberland"
** HMS "Richmond"
* Type 14 (or "Blackwood" class) anti submarine frigates
** HMS "Russell"
** HMS "Pellew"
* HMS "Scarborough" World War Two era sloop
* RFA "Fort George"
* HMCS Cartier (Later Renamed HMCS "Charny")

Research Vessels

* CSS "Acadia" (1913)

Commercial vessels

*Atlantic Causeway (1969)
*Atlantic Conveyor (1970)
*Augustina (1927)
*Aurania (1916)
*Ascania (1911)
*RMS "Carpathia" (1902)
*MV "Derbyshire" (1976)
*Esso Northumbria (1969)
*Esso Hibernia (1970)
*Everett F. Wells (1976)
*Franconia (1910)
*Helcion (1954)
*Heldia (1955)
*Helisoma (1956)
*Helix (1953)
*Imbricaria (1935)
*Ivernia (1899)
*Kossmatella (1953)
*RMS "Laconia" (1911)
*RMS "Laconia" (1921)
*Lida (1938)
*Llanishen 32,000 ton oil tanker (1957)
*London Lion (1972)
*RMS "Mauretania (1906)
*Mitra (1912)
*Mytilus (1916)
*Nacella (1968)
*Narica (1967)
*Neverita (1944)
*Port Fairy (1928)
*Shell Supplier (1946)
*Solen (1961)
*Texaco Great Britain (1971)
*Tyne Pride (1975)
*Varicella (1959)
*Velletia (1952)
*SS Volo (1938)
*Velutina (1950)
*Volvula (1956)
*Windsor Lion (1974)
*World Unicorn (1973)
*Zaphon (1957)

Cable ships

*All America
*Edward Wilshaw
*Emile Baudot
*John W. Mackay
*Lord Kelvin
*Marie Louise Mackay
*St. Margarets
*Stanley Angwin


*http://www.swanhunter.com/index.html - company website
*http://atlantic-cable.com/Cableships/SwanHunter/index.htm - cable history website
*http://www.bbc.co.uk/tees/360/swannindex.shtml - BBC Website about the yard
*http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/content/articles/2006/11/23/swan_hunter_23112006_feature.shtml - Demise of Swan Hunter
*http://www.business-standard.com/compindustry/storypage.php?tab=r&autono=280577&subLeft=1&leftnm=1 - Purchase by Bharati Shipyards

External links

* [http://www.swanhunter.com Official Website]
* [http://www.tyneandweararchives.org.uk Tyne and Wear Archives Service]

ee also

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