THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: From the News Letter of December 1930

Prospects for shipyard orders

By Darryl Armitage
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 9:04 am
Pictured in October 1989 is the chief executive of Northern Ireland Railways Roy Beattie presents first prize in the 150th Anniversary of Rail in Ulster competition, a trip to Dublin on the Enterprise, to Stephen Forsyth, 14, of Gransha Boys' High School, Bangor. Included is headmaster Bob McCullough and Stephen's mum and dad, Tracey and Roy. Picture: News Letter archives
Pictured in October 1989 is the chief executive of Northern Ireland Railways Roy Beattie presents first prize in the 150th Anniversary of Rail in Ulster competition, a trip to Dublin on the Enterprise, to Stephen Forsyth, 14, of Gransha Boys' High School, Bangor. Included is headmaster Bob McCullough and Stephen's mum and dad, Tracey and Roy. Picture: News Letter archives

At the annual dinner of the Belfast Benevolent Society of St Andrew which had been held on the night of Saturday, November 29, 1930, Mr John F Gordon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ulster Ministry of Labour, referred to the announcement that Messrs Workman, Clark, Ltd, had decided to close their shipyard for a period not exceeding two months from December 30. He spoke of the regret with which the directors had taken the decision to close the yard.

He added: “Mr Strahan (managing director) is hoping he will be able yet to cancel the news of a stoppage.”

The News Letter’s shipping correspondent wrote: “I understand that the firm expects to receive orders for further work in the near future. “A shipping concern that has extensive associations with Belfast requires new tonnage, and I am informed that the negotiations have reached an advanced stage. When Messrs Workman, Clark, Ltd, reopen their yard it may be assumed that new orders will fill empty slipways.”

Work at the Queen’s Island

slipways

At the yards of Messrs Harland and Wolff Ltd, noted the shipping correspondent, there were only two of the fourteen slipways occupied.

The order in the North Yard was a sister ship of the Britannic.

Back-breaking work for George Graham from Downpatrick in October 1989 as he helps to put the finishing touches to one of the stone walls at the Ulster Wildlife Trust's nature centre at Crossgar, Co Down. Picture: News Letter archives

“This vessel will not be ready for launching until mid-summer,” wrote the correspondent.

The other was the last of the six CGT vessels – the San Pedro which was to “take to the water” later than month.

The correspondent noted: “At the New Year, therefore, unless new work is obtained in the meantime, there will only be one vessel on the stock.”

However, it was at the “fitting-out wharves” that Harland and Wolff’s activities were “chiefly concerned”.

The News Letter’s correspondent wrote: “There are seven vessels completing, and these are providing as much work as as can possibly be handled in the time before they are due for delivery.

“The work on hand will last for some months to come, but owing to the lack of new orders there will be, unfortunately, a large pay-off as a ship is completed.”