The firm of Cammell Laird originated in a boiler works in 1824 before growing and diversifying to become one of a small number of companies worldwide which could build, armour and arm the largest warships from the operations of a single company group. After World War I, it was reconstructed as a naval and mercantile shipbuilder with important financial interests in steel and rolling stock manufacture. Booming activity in World War II and continuing prosperity until the late 1950s was followed by increasing competition and deepening problems. By the 1980s the firm’s remaining steel interests had failed; in 1993 the once great Birkenhead shipyard closed. How and why did the businesses grow, then experience such problems and eventually collapse? This book tries to find answers.