Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Yarrow and Co

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1867. Scene at The Yarrow Yard.
1877. Steamer for the Hudson Bay Co.
1882. Seagoing torpedo boat for the Argentine Government.
1886.Stern-Wheel Steamer for the Nile.
1886. Torpedo boat for the Japanese Government.
January 1888. Stern Wheel Steamers.
April 1888. Second-class Torpedo Boat.
June 1888. Zephyr launches.
1889. Zephyr launch.
1891. Stern wheel steamer for the Congo.
1891. High speed gunboat with water tube boiler.
1893. Shallow Draught Steamer for the Zambesi.
1893. Yarrow's Works as seen from the river.
1894. Yarrow's boiler shop.
1894. Yarrow's water tube boiler.
1894. HMS Hornet.
August 1899.
1899. Shallow draught gun boat.
1899. Shallow draught gun boat.
1899. Shallow draught gun boat.
February 1901.
1901. Condenser at Poplar built by T. Ledward and Co.
1901. His Majesty's Shallow. Draught Gunboat Teal.
January 1902.
1903. Shipyard at Poplar.
1903. Works at Poplar.
1903. Yarrows and Co. Works.
1903. Yarrows and Co. Works.
1904. HM twin screw shallow-draught gunboat Wigeon.
1906. Double Ended Marine Boiler.
Destroyer 'Matto Grosso' Engines. 1909.
Destroyer 'Matto Grosso'. The Ward Room. 1909.
Destroyer 'Matto Grosso'. One Of The Crews Spaces. 1909.
Destroyer 'Matto Grosso'. One Of The Stockholds. 1909.
Destroyer 'Matto Grosso'. Engine Room. 1909.
1909. Birds-eye view of the Yarrow and Co.
February 1911.
1914. Yarrow's Improved Patent Water-Tube Boiler.

1924. HMS Tyrian.
1930. Framework and Drums of a Johnson Boiler.
1930. Johnson Boiler, Tubed Ready for Outer Casing.
1944. HMS Tanatside.
1951. M.V "Orinoco"
1959. RMS Victoria bolt Assembled on the Stocks.

Yarrow, shipbuilders and marine engineers, of Poplar, London.

of Scotstoun, Glasgow; and Canada.

The Yarrow company was one of the world's leading builders of Destroyers from its inception until after World War 2, building ships for both the Royal Navy and export customers. Yarrow was also a builder of boilers, and a type of water-tube boiler developed by the company was known as the "Yarrow type boiler".

1865/6 Alfred Yarrow established the partnership of Yarrow and Hedley at Folly Wall, Poplar on the Isle of Dogs to build steam river launches.

1870s Built torpedo boats for the Argentine and Japanese navies

1875 The Hedley partnership was dissolved; the company was then known as Yarrow and Co

1876 Stern wheel steamboat for South Africa. [1]

1888 Built four petroleum spirit steam launches. [2]

1890 Built gunboats for the Zambesi and Shire rivers. Details and illustrations in 'The Engineer'. [3]

1892 built two destroyers for the Royal Navy: Havock and Hornet.

1894 Description and illustrations of their works on the Thames. [4]

1897 Incorporated as a limited company.

1898 moved out of Folly shipyard to the nearby London Yard

1900s The yard manufactured torpedo boat destroyers for the Royal Navy.

1903 or 1904 Inverted vertical triple expansion rotative engine built at Poplar for the Metropolitan Water Board (Wanstead Station). Maintained in superb condition when photographed by George Watkins in 1954. Cylinders 20", 32" & 53", 3' 6" stroke [5]

1906–1908 The operation was moved to Scotstoun on the Clyde over a period of 2 years; the London shipyard closed in 1908.

1911 Motor yacht 'Felicitas'. [6]

1914 Listed as engineers and shipbuilders. Specialities: torpedo boats and torpedo boat destroyers, vessels of shallow draft for military and trading purposes, "Yarrow" water-tube boilers, naval craft, screw steamers with speeds ranging up to forty miles an hour, paddle and screw steamers for shallow waters with drafts as low as six inches. [7]

WWI As the First World war began, the company enjoyed an advantage in that it had already begun manufacturing ships for the military. It was able to begin mass production and at its peak the yard employed over 2,000 workers. The yard was able to make 29 destroyers, 16 gunboats, a submarine, three hospital ships and a floating workshop for the Navy.

1918 The yard began courting merchant orders and built yachts, cargo ships and coasters. River steamers were also made for Chinese use too.

1921 Due to lack of orders the yard closed.

1922 Sir Alfred Yarrow on account of his advanced age over 80, decided to retire from chairman of the company. The firm went into voluntary liquidation with Mr Harold Edgar Yarrow as liquidator and succeeding chairman. The company Yarrow and Co (1922) was formed.[8]

1922 Alfred Yarrow's son, Harold Edgar Yarrow, moved the yard towards producing land boilers. The yard was reopened with a much reduced staff of 24 to begin doing this. In the late 1920s orders began coming in again for tankers and the yards fortunes revived with more Royal Navy orders arriving for destroyers and gunboats.

1922 Public company.

1924 Advert. Mentions HMS Tyrian and the Tigris gunboat flotilla plus patent water tube boilers. [9]

1925 See Aberconway for information on shipbuilding h.p produced in 1904 and 1925

1926 Name changed.

1930s The military build up continued and more orders came in from the Royal Navy for ships to meet this demand. In the late 30s Yarrow also began operating two overseas yards in British Columbia and Yugoslavia.

WWII The yard built eighteen destroyers, eight sloops and two river gunboats.

1941 The yard was bombed and badly damaged. 47 shipyard workers were also killed.

1945 After the war, the yard returned to making merchant ships and the ten years after the war was an extremely busy time for them. The Company made shallow-draft craft for countries all around the world. These were shipped out in parts and reassembled at their destination.

1950s The Admiralty continued to be a key customer for the yard, ordering frigates and seaward defence boats.

By 1954, the workforce was up to 2,500.

1961 Marine engineers, shipbuilders and boiler makers. Extensive research carried out on nuclear propulsion units. 2,300 employees. [10]

1962 Sir Harold Yarrow died.

1965 Acquired the Blythswood yard.

1966 Yarrow (Shipbuilders) Ltd came into being in 1966, as the yard was expanded. In the 60s the yard continued with merchant orders making three survey ships and then 'Leander' class frigates.

1974 Yarrows was purchased by GEC

1977 The government passed the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act which nationalised YSL and grouped it with other major British shipyards as British Shipbuilders. They continued making Type 22 frigates, 16 of which were made between 1979 and 1994.

2003 Part of BAe Systems Marine

See Also


Sources of Information

  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978. ISBN 0-903485-65-6
  1. The Engineer of 1st September 1876 p144
  2. The Engineer of 25th May 1888 p421 & p427
  3. The Engineer of 30th May 1890. p440 and p445
  4. The Engineer of 22nd June 1894 p535-9
  5. 'Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain' Vol 9, by George Watkins, Landmark Publishing Ltd
  6. The Engineer of 27th October 1911 p431
  7. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  8. The Engineer 1922/04/07
  9. 1924 Naval Annual Advert page vii
  10. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE