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British Industrial History

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Cammell Laird (Shipbuilders and Engineers)

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Subsidiary of Cammell, Laird and Co

1961 Cammell Laird (Shipbuilders and Engineers) employed 12,000 persons. Holding company for two subsidaries engaged in steel manufacturing, shipbuilding and engineering. [1]

1961 Shipbuilders and engineers, undertaking important contracts for the British, Dominion and Foreign Governments. 12,000 employees. [2]

1965 June: Cammell Laird was split into two subsidiary companies[3]:

1969 Established a new subsidiary for sea-bed engineering; announced a wheeled sea-bed vehicle incorporating a Sperry navigator system[4]

1969 Launched HMS Conqueror, which would be the last nuclear-powered submarine built by Cammell Laird[5]

1970 The company made a major loss due to problems in shipbuilding, exacerbated by the investment in establishing the capacity to build Polaris submarines, and losses on existing contracts[6]. The situation was not helped by the diversification activities making less profit than had been expected[7]. The financial crisis was averted by quick action by the Labour Government, who took a 50 percent share in the shipbuilding company[8] which was then renamed Cammell Laird Shipbuilders. The name of Cammell Laird was changed to The Laird Group[9] which retained the other 50 percent (as well as the Shiprepairing business) but by this stage, the yard’s customers were edgy about ordering from them. The shiprepair business remained with Laird Group and there was close working relationship between the two Cammell Laird companies[10]

1971 Graham Day was appointed chief executive[11]

1970s The company offered six standard designs: two cargo liners, two bulk carrier and two tanker sizes which were known as StaT32 and StaT55. It went on to build a number of these for Norwegian, South American and Dutch companies.

On 1st July 1977 Cammell Laird Shipbuilders was nationalised and became a member of British Shipbuilders

1980s The yard moved away from building tankers and towards constructing oil rigs and warships. There was a "sit in" by workers at the yard which led to the whole of the workforce being laid off and the yard was effectively closed. There was a split in the workforce between those on strike and a group of "back to work" committee members who marched into the yard everyday. Work at the yard began building up again in the mid-80s.

1985 The ownership of the yard was merged with the Barrow yard of Vickers. It was then privatised later in the year.

1986 Vickers Barrow yard together with Cammell Laird Shipbuilders was sold to an employee led company, VSEL Consortium. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange on 31 July 1986.

1990 Vickers decided to close the yard in October 1990 and this came into effect on 30th July 1993 when the yard was then placed on a "care and maintenance" basis. The last ship to be launched at the yard was Unicorn.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises
  2. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  3. The Times, Dec 29, 1965
  4. The Times, Apr 11, 1969
  5. The Times, Aug 29, 1969
  6. The Times Feb 05, 1970
  7. The Times, May 08, 1970
  8. The Times, May 08, 1970
  9. The Times, Sep 26, 1970
  10. The Times Feb 01, 1971
  11. The Times, Aug 12, 1971