British Shipbuilders

British Shipbuilders

British Shipbuilders Corporation was a public corporation that owned and managed the UK shipbuilding industry from 1977 and through the 1980s.

The corporation was founded as a result of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977 which nationalised all major British shipbuilding companies. The same act nationalised the three large British aviation companies and grouped them in an analogous corporation, British Aerospace. The company secretary of British Shipbuilders was one F. Noah.

Harland & Wolff, the only shipbuilder based in Northern Ireland was a special political case and remained out of the control of the British Shipbuilders management, despite being in State ownership. British Shipbuilders was privatised in 1983 under the terms of the British Shipbuilders Act 1983. The various divisions that had survived under nationalised ownership were divested throughout the 1980s as the company wound up operations.

The British Shipbuilders Corporation continues to exist in statute [ [ DTI | Managing Government Assets and Liabilities] ] in order to be accountable for any liabilities incurred during its operational history.

Assets subsumed by British Shipbuilders

* Ailsa Shipbuilding Company, Troon (acquired in 1978, merged with Ferguson Shipbuilders to form Ferguson-Ailsa in 1981, assets transferred to Scott Lithgow)
* Austin & Pickersgill, Sunderland
* John Brown & Company, Clydebank
* Cammell Laird and Company, Birkenhead
* William Doxford and Sons, Pallion
* Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow (merged with Ailsa in 1981 to form Ferguson-Ailsa)
* Falmouth Docks Company, Falmouth
* Govan Shipbuilders, Govan
* R & H Green & Silley Weir and London Graving Dock Company, London (as River Thames Ship Repairers, later renamed Blackwall Engineering)
* Hall Russell & Company, Aberdeen
* Harland and Wolff, Belfast (nationalised but outwith the management of British Shipbuilders)
* Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Hebburn
* Northwestern Ship Repairers and Shipbuilding Limited (NSL), Merseyside
* John Readhead and Sons, South Shields
* Scott Lithgow, Greenock
* Robb Caledon Shipbuilders, Leith and Dundee
* Smiths Dock Company, Middlesbrough
* Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Limited , Wallsend (later renamed Swan Hunter)
* Vickers Limited Shipbuilding Group, Barrow in Furness (later renamed Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited - VSEL)
* Vosper Thornycroft, Woolston and Portsmouth
* Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company, Wallsend
* Yarrow Shipbuilders (YSL), Scotstoun


* Cammell Laird - 1986 - as a subsidiary of VSEL, finished shipbuilding 1993, now part of NSL
* Ferguson Ailsa - 1986 - split and sold, Ailsa to Perth Corporation as Ailsa Perth Shipbuilders and Ferguson to Appledore Shipbuilders as Appledore Ferguson
* Govan Shipbuilders - 1988 - sold to Kværner as Kværner (Govan), to GEC-Marconi 1999 as part of Marconi Marine then to BAE Systems as part of BAE Systems Marine, now BAE Systems Naval Ships
* Scott Lithgow - 1981 - individual operating companies dissolved, sold to Trafalgar House in 1984, closed 2003
* Swan Hunter - ? - to receivership 1994, bought by Jaap Kroese
* YSL - 1985 - sold to GEC-Marconi as Marconi Marine (YSL) then to BAE Systems as part of BAE Systems Marine, now BAE Systems Naval Ships
* Vosper Thornycroft - 1985 - management buyout, now known as VT Group
* VSEL - 1986 - with Cammell Laird as a subsidiary. Acquired by GEC-Marconi in 1995 as part of Marconi Marine, then to BAE Systems as part of BAE Systems Marine, now BAE Systems Submarines
* Harland and Wolff - 1989

The evolution of British Shipbuilders


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