Cammell Laird

From Academic Kids

Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British ship-building 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.

Laird, Son & Co. was founded by John Laird in 1824, and became pre-eminent in the manufacture of iron ships. John's father William Laird had founded the Birkenhead Iron Works, and the company became internationally famous.

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.

The businesses of Messrs. Cammell and Laird merged to create a company at the forefront of shipbuilding. Between 1829 and 1947, more than 1,100 vessels of all kinds were launched on 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, and the first all-welded ship, the Fullagar built in the 1920s.

The post-Second World War years were turbulent for Cammell Laird, and despite the efforts of a workforce which helped create one of the UK's largest commercial ship repair, conversion and shipbuilding companies, its Birkenhead operations were suspended in 2001.

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