Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,439 pages of information and 233,876 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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1839 John Laird of Birkenhead, advocate of iron ships, built, in secrecy and on speculation, the first iron warship, the paddle-steamer Nemesis. Laird, as owner, appointed William Hall to command her

1840 Laird sent the Nemesis as a private armed steamer to the First Opium War. Her voyage out was the longest yet by a steam-assisted vessel, and she reached China in January 1841.

1841 Nemesis was bought by the East India Co.

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