British Shipbuilding and the State since 1918

BookBritish Shipbuilding and the State since 1918

British Shipbuilding and the State since 1918

A Political Economy of Decline

Exeter Maritime Studies


June 2nd, 2002



Other Formats



Few industries attest to the decline of Britain’s political and economic power as does the near disappearance of British shipbuilding. On the eve of the First World War, British shipbuilding produced more than the rest of the world put together. But by the 1980s, the industry which had dominated world markets and underpinned British maritime power accounted for less than one per cent of world output. Throughout this decline, a remarkable relationship developed between the shipbuilding industry and the Government as both sought to restore the fortunes and dominance of this once great enterprise. This book is the first to provide an analysis of twentieth-century shipbuilding at the national level. It is based on the full breadth of primary and secondary sources available, blending the records of central Government with those of the Shipbuilding Employers Federation and Shipbuilding Conference, as well as making use of a range of records from individual yards, technical societies and the trade press.

... This is a book for those who are saddened by the demise of our Shipbuilding Industry... I guarantee you will be ... enlightened.
David Bailey, South West Maritime History Society

South West Maritime History Society

Author Information

Lewis Johnman is Principal Lecturer in History at the University of Westminster and Secretary of the British Commission for Maritime History; his others books include The Suez Crisis (with Anthony Gorst) (Routledge, 1997) and Down the River: Voices from Clydeside Shipbuilding (Argyll, 2001). Hugh Murphy is Senior Caird Research Fellow at the National Maritime Museum and a Researcher at the Centre for Business History in Scotland at the University of Glasgow.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
List of Tables
List of Plates
List of Abbreviations
1. Sea Change: The Impact of the Great War and Boom to Bust in the 1920s
2. The Weight of History: The 1930s
3. The Challenge of War
4. The Missed Opportunity
5. Things Begin to Slide
6. Death by Inquiry: Geddes and Jockeying for Position
7. Things Fall Apart
8. Privatised Unto Death