IMarEST - British Warship Building 1850-2020: An Analysis

21st January 2021 5:00 pm

Warships have formed around one third of the British shipbuilding industry’s output for a century and a half. They have also been at the forefront of many technological developments, e.g. steam turbines. The evolution of warships is summarised by decade from 1850 to 2010, illustrating particular types, to provide a background to the statistical analysis. The British Shipbuilding Database includes 81,000 ships built from the mid 19th century to date. Its 100+ fields allow analysis of shipbuilding output by ship type, region, size, propulsion etc in a way never hitherto possible. Many previous analyses of British shipbuilding output underestimate the importance of warship building, partly through not making full allowance for the different measures of tonnage, partly through excluding the Royal Dockyards. A series of graphs illustrate the development by warship type, size and machinery across the decades.

About the speaker

Dr Ian Buxton graduated in naval architecture from Glasgow University, concurrently serving his apprenticeship with Clyde shipbuilders Denny of Dumbarton. Following early work on computer applications in shipbuilding, he moved in 1965 to the British Ship Research Association in London and Wallsend. He held the position of Reader in Marine Transport in the Department of Marine Technology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne from 1974-2002. He is currently a Vice President of the World Ship Society, taking a great interest in maritime history and writing on ships, shipbuilding and shipbreaking. He manages the Marine Technology Special Collection at Newcastle University, an archive of shipbuilding and related material and its associated British Shipbuilding Database of 81000 British built ships.

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