Harland and Wolff - Ships Nostalgia
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  #1  
Old 30th July 2019, 12:37
rogd rogd is online now
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Harland and Wolff

I see from the papers and the BBC that H and W are in danger of closing down.
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  #2  
Old 30th July 2019, 17:55
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I see from the papers and the BBC that H and W are in danger of closing down.
That should prompt a post from Tmac!
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  #3  
Old 31st July 2019, 01:29
Somerton Somerton is offline  
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That will be a very sad day for Belfast. . I was fortunate to sail on some of the ships that they built . I well remember the days when the built Bank line , King line Blue Funnel and Port line ships . Plus many Union Castle , Royal Mail and PSNC liners and cargo ships .
Alex C .
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  #4  
Old 2nd August 2019, 03:39
noelmavisk noelmavisk is offline  
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I was fortunate enough to be sent to Belfast to be 3rd engineer of the RMS Loch Loyal which was being built at Harlands. She wasn't ready to live aboard so I had to live in digs and travel to Harlands each day for a month. Got to know Belfast, Harlands, and dated the cashier at the canteen, and spent Christmas there rather than going home. New Years Eve the Loch Loyal was in Newport
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  #5  
Old 2nd August 2019, 07:54
Engine Serang Engine Serang is offline  
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I imagine many businesses will be looking for Government help in the next year. With less than 200 workers H&W probably do not have enough of a critical mass to persuade politicians. This site teaches one that nostalgia will only take you so far.
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  #6  
Old 2nd August 2019, 11:11
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Varley Varley is offline   SN Supporter
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I've been to repair there but not sailed on one of theirs. Only those already done with work can live off nostalgia and hot air. In respect of shipbuilding it has to be recognised that the excellence is elsewhere. In the case of H&W I can illustrate this. When considering a third OBO for Cast in 81/82 they were a contender and I submitted a request for an electronic shaft generator complete with inverter, 'phase shifter, directly shaft driven DC machine (like the ones the Germans had been building since the late 60s). The contemptuous answer was that I asked the impossible the alternator would be as large as the main engine itself and require xx poles to achieve the 60 Hz specified. No further enquiries were made.

Unfortunately I have lost the telex otherwise it would be framed on the wall.
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Old 2nd August 2019, 12:27
Engine Serang Engine Serang is offline  
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Truth be known I know very little about H&W other than by reading and rumour but in his book The Rise and Fall of British Shipbuilding, Anthony Burton tells of the arrogance of most British Shipbuilders in the late 40's and 50's. We know best and you will be honoured if we reserve a Slip for you the year after next.
Ship owners are smart basterds without much misplaced loyalty,they ventured East.
I well remember a welder being interviewed on BBC NI about 1964 and he was being asked about the rise of Japanese shipbuilding and his reply was that we had nothing to fear from the Japanese because they were only "Wee Chinamen". The "Wee Chinamen" shut most of the Clyde, Tyne, Weir Etc.
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  #8  
Old 2nd August 2019, 14:37
OilJiver OilJiver is offline  
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“…arrogance of most British Shipbuilders in the late 40's and 50's…” Unbelievably plain to see in some cases.

Somewhere I have a document titled, “The Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Co. Limited – A 50 years retrospect”. Printed in about 1920 to mark half a century of shipbuilding at the Yard. It includes some great sepia photographs of the premises, many showing the Yard’s manufacturing machinery, which would have been state of the art when the yard opened 50 years previously.

Sometime mid-1980s, was on a vessel in near vicinity of the Yard, which hadn’t long been dormant & so I had a look around. The facilities, sheds and machinery inside, looking almost no different at all, to how they were in 1920s (And therefore no different to 1870s).
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  #9  
Old 2nd August 2019, 18:42
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Originally Posted by duquesa View Post
That should prompt a post from Tmac!
No comment really, what is there to say?
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Old 2nd August 2019, 18:43
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Originally Posted by Varley View Post
I've been to repair there but not sailed on one of theirs. Only those already done with work can live off nostalgia and hot air. In respect of shipbuilding it has to be recognised that the excellence is elsewhere. In the case of H&W I can illustrate this. When considering a third OBO for Cast in 81/82 they were a contender and I submitted a request for an electronic shaft generator complete with inverter, 'phase shifter, directly shaft driven DC machine (like the ones the Germans had been building since the late 60s). The contemptuous answer was that I asked the impossible the alternator would be as large as the main engine itself and require xx poles to achieve the 60 Hz specified. No further enquiries were made.

Unfortunately I have lost the telex otherwise it would be framed on the wall.
HUH, you always were bloody awkward
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  #11  
Old 2nd August 2019, 19:34
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A Korean would not have needed any of the cues that H&W got chief! I on ly included them to ensure we did not get a direct but geared up or even insanely geared (Renk Conspeed) contraption. Everything hint for the plumber to judge his depth given and to know he is out of it. I cannot remember if we asked for Saab radar ullage gauges, we would probably have been told that radar was used to detect obstacles at a distance and to be happy with Whessoes and a little brass handlie thing.
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  #12  
Old 2nd August 2019, 19:44
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Harland and Wolff

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Originally Posted by Tmac1720 View Post
No comment really, what is there to say?
Indeed!
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  #13  
Old 3rd August 2019, 06:13
codad1946 codad1946 is offline  
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I worked at Swans in the late 80s and early 90s, starting at MDC (the old Pallion yard). Having come from the sea, it was staggering the amount of wastage that went on, along with unrestricted overtime because your missus wanted a new dress...
Further back to the days of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and the QE2, both P&O and Cunard swore they would never have another ship built on the Clyde or even in UK, and they stuck to their word.
I reckon that British Shipbuilders should have applied to fill in The Wash (after suitably pacifying Bill Oddie on birdlife and the Great Crested Newt or whatever), and concreting it to make a large shipyard. Appledore as most of you will know, provided the ideas for IHI in Korea to start up their yard on the same principles, but we never did... Building ships in river valleys wasn't the best way, for sure, but shipbuilders were complacent until suddenly the UK slipped off the list of the world's shipbuilding nations and Japan was building 50+% of the world's orders. It's not even on it now, and even the Philippines is next in line to the big 3 of Korea, China and Japan. I have seen more than a few photos of Japanese warships sailing under the Tyne bridges, built at Elswick Yard up river!
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  #14  
Old 4th August 2019, 21:18
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My dad, and his, were riveters in the Hartlepool yards.They began as catcher lads - I was looking into what they might have done to earn a wage, and found this: https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/...pbuilding-film

The film helps me understand the decline.
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  #15  
Old 4th August 2019, 22:42
OilJiver OilJiver is offline  
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Thanks Harry, very interesting article.

Many issues in the later years but as shown, plenty failings attributable to historical matters.

“…… British shipbuilding’s fundamental weaknesses – lack of international competitiveness, lack of investment and inherently corrosive industrial relations”.

“Dickensian working conditions and industrial relations still prevailed; …..”.
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  #16  
Old 5th August 2019, 00:05
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The initial Blue Funnel Super 'P's were ordered from British yards (1965/66). Eighteen months later, two ships were ordered from Mitsubishi HI. Blue Funnel had to pay "delay money" so that the name/class Priam could be launched first in a British yard!

There are also many, many tales on here of the lack of quality control that led to the inevitable demise of British shipbuilding: Welding rods "filling" joints with a rather perfunctory surface finish weld applied, engines filled with swarf etc. etc.etc. Our neighbour was a joiner in Lairds and a union rep. It was quite obvious from his gardening activities when there was yet another "down tools". I like the term, "corrosive industrial relations, sums it up nicely all over the UK and different major industries.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, Britain never developed beyond it's "colonial" aloofness regarding technological innovation. It is only with very rose tinted spectacles that anyone could claim, in latter years, that British was best. Sad but true. Just remember "British built" cars, what a load of REAL [email protected] they were!

BTW, I thought that H&W had gone under years ago!

Rgds.
Dave
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  #17  
Old 5th August 2019, 00:49
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Harland and Wolff...

Well, there's not to much to write about given the overwhelming bad comments in this site. Having stood by two newbuildings and a return to Belfast for scavenge fire problems, I confess not to be an engineer nor a naval architect.

Andrew Weir ( my Boss) built several series of ships from H&W from Glasgow and Belfast over the years (I forget the number but it was in scores) Cargo ships, coastal and esturial tankers and even dumb barges and being the canny Scotsman he was, I would not think that His Lordship would suffer a shoddy ship and poor workmanship over fifty years. Admittedly, the designs of the ships were uncomplicated and largely H&W designs but Owner's superintendents were instructed from Head Office to ensure that what was specified in the contract was delivered. Careful attention was paid to all details and variations in specifications were largely unallowed or only allowed with further negotiations so that there was no dispute about what changes were being approved and at what cost.

Having also been involved with drydocking in the USA and Japan, the contractors were always given a very specific contract and even company Superintendents were unable and unauthorised to make changes without proper negotiation and approval of the principal parties involved.

On balance, then, I have to admit that Bank Line's working with H&W was not perfect but a good sturdy ship was the result. I sailed on four H&W built ships (and one Workman Clark) in various roles from Apprentice to Master and was always pleased with the fact that I was serving on a substantial, if not trend-setting ship, especially in bad weather.

Looking back, when Tamano Shipyards in Japan offered to build Bank Boats at a competitive price, Weir continued to build-up their fleet solely from British shipbuilders, H&W, Swans, and Doxford and they were nearly the last British ship operator to throw in the towel after containerisation wiped everybody out. Admittedly, it was the engines that were associated with the shipbuilders, B&W, Sulzer, and Doxford respectively, that were part of the relationship, but there was no need to complicate the lives of our sea-going engineers.

Like the majority of careful thinkers on SN I mourn the passing of an age and tip my hat to those types who are now left without a great Northern Irish institution. Another great enterprise has passed away and I am sad.

Alistair Macnab,
Brooklyn NY
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  #18  
Old 6th August 2019, 19:15
harry t. harry t. is offline
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H&W - Harland&Wolff, Belfast - 1861until today

https://youtu.be/K3yhKW2hcvQ
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  #19  
Old 7th August 2019, 07:59
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I feel compelled to comment here. While with P&O, three stays underlined that the Northern Ireland workers at Harland and Wolff were second to none. Always fun, good company and more than willing to be helpful with a joke and smile.

First, there when "Chusan" was fitted for air conditioning throughout, in 1959/60 - Ask for a favour? No problem - Workmanship? I only saw the best.

Next was with "Canberra", providing the final touches, prior to the trials and handing over the ship from H&W to P&O before the 1961 Maiden Voyage. My final stay was when the "Canberra" returned to recover from the ship's fire in late 1962, limping back to Belfast from the Med. All this was before "The Troubles".

Last edited by searover; 7th August 2019 at 08:13.. Reason: Reorganised the wording
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Old 7th August 2019, 13:03
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Thanks for that Searover. I think the criticisms of corporate lethargy could have been made across the whole of our manufacturing sector but I cannot recall accusations of badly made product directed at H&W or certainly not to the extent that other yards have come under fire.
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Old 7th August 2019, 20:00
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is online now  
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How long before the cranes are for sale on E-Bay ? Would not be surprised if they end up at Cammell Lairds across there !
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Old 7th August 2019, 20:36
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How long before the cranes are for sale on E-Bay ? Would not be surprised if they end up at Cammell Lairds across there !
Doubt it Steve. Those two big gantries are way too big for Lairds,. Where would you put them? No5 dock is big, but not that big, and Lairds are building ships in the building hall these days which already is well equipped with gantry cranes. (Ginnys, we called them back in the days when there were about 60 of them in the yard.)
What Lairds need is two or three fast drydock cranes of about 20 ton SWL. I dont know if H and W has anyting like that knocking around.
regards,
Pat
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Old 7th August 2019, 21:49
harry t. harry t. is offline
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Quote:
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but I cannot recall accusations of badly made product directed at H&W or certainly not to the extent that other yards have come under fire.
agree wholeheartedly - below, a rough history of H&W, 1969 to 2019

https://youtu.be/9AlqTpZg8uk
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Last edited by harry t.; 7th August 2019 at 22:01..
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  #24  
Old 8th August 2019, 22:13
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Originally Posted by Pat Kennedy View Post
Doubt it Steve. Those two big gantries are way too big for Lairds,. Where would you put them? No5 dock is big, but not that big, and Lairds are building ships in the building hall these days which already is well equipped with gantry cranes. (Ginnys, we called them back in the days when there were about 60 of them in the yard.)
What Lairds need is two or three fast drydock cranes of about 20 ton SWL. I dont know if H and W has anyting like that knocking around.
regards,
Pat
One of the last jobs I was involved in, when I worked at Lairds was a major upgrade of the cranes in the building hall. They could even be operated by remote control, whilst standing on the floor of the building hall !


Regards
Steve
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Old 8th August 2019, 23:42
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One of the last jobs I was involved in, when I worked at Lairds was a major upgrade of the cranes in the building hall. They could even be operated by remote control, whilst standing on the floor of the building hall !


Regards
Steve
Hi Steve,
What is the SWL of those cranes in the building hsll? I was never in there, it is after my time. I remember the two 60 ton gantry cranes in
the Polaris bay, built in the 60s for the undercover construction of the nuclear submarines which were then rolled out onto the slipway under two large 60 ton Butters cranes similar to those just demolished at no 5 dock. They were very handy cranes, easy to drive and comfortable.
From what you say it sounds like the days of specialist crane drivers are on their way out, at least as far as gantry cranes are concerned.
Regards
Pat
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