"More Details on the Ian Allan Website"
Swan Hunter - Glory Days
Authors: David L Williams and Richard P de Kerbrech
Publishers: Ian Allan
Contains 50 colour and 90 mono illustrations
Publication Date: 2008
Publisher's Title Information
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 & 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.
Swan & Hunter was formed in 1880. In 1903, it merged with Wigham Richardson specifically to bid for the prestigious contract to build the Mauretania on behalf of Cunard. Together they combined the forces of three powerful shipbuilding families and their bid was successful. The new company 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 the 20th of September 1906 to the cheers of huge crowds, eventually leaving service in 1935.
Sadly in November 1994, 400 years of shipbuilding tradition on the River Tyne ended when the Royal Navy frigate HMS Richmond was the last ship to be launched at the Swan Hunter shipyard. Symptomatic of the decline of the region's loss of heavy industry, the closure of the yard meant the loss of one of the greatest names in British shipbuilding history.
Continuing the well-respected style of the 'Glory Days' series, this cracking new book beautifully explores the turbulent history of Swan Hunter through the 20th century. With over 125 stunning photographs in both mono and colour, this book will be greatly sought after by historians and maritime modellers of all abilities. It is a truly remarkable tribute to the country's best-known shipbuilder.
This book does not celebrate a particular ship, rather it celebrates a Ship Builder. I recall having to travel north on a special train to join a ship for the first time at Swan Hunter. This was HMS Lion, who's photograph appears in the chapter called 'Post-War Optimism'. As the caption states, she was one of the last purpose-built cruisers and the photograph shows her at Wallsend. http://www.rjerrard.co.uk/royalnavy/lionrn/lionrn.htm
During this period they also built HMS Albion, HMS London, HMS Bristol, HMS Glasgow, HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal: all post-war. The last to be built at the Neptune Yard was HMS Chatham. The very last warships were Largs Bay and Lyme Bay in 2006.
By June 2007 Swan Hunter was no more, only memories and photographs remain of those ships they built during the years they were 'proudly serving the nations cause' in both world wars - with the building of such ships as, inter alia, Coventry, Shark, Roberts, Belfast, Anson, Barfleur, Vengeance and one correctly described as 'the incomplete Aircraft Carrier Leviathan', which for many years was laid up at Portsmouth. During my qualifying as a Free Diver I examined her hull. She was in dock, filled with water, near the small ship's canteen as I recall around 1960. She was not taken away until 1968. There is a good colour photograph of her in the book. Following on from that there are black and white photographs of Daring, Superb and Newfoundland.
This is not purely about Royal Navy ships, many ships of various types were built at this yard.
This is an excellent reference book and will jog many memories. For me Wallsend-on-Tyne as well as Lion I recall my first taste of Newcastle Brown, even if I did have great difficult understand the Barmaid.