The History of Leith

December 17, 2010


At the commencement of the war the Firm was instructed by the
Admiralty to proceed with the construction of a number of Flower Class Corvettes from master drawings circulated to all builders.

As the war developed the need for larger and more powerful anti-submarine vessels became apparent, with the result that the Admiralty designed the River Class Frigates. Owing to the urgent need for these vessels, and in order to expedite construction, part of the drawing office work for the new design was undertaken by this Company, in collaboration with Messrs Smith’s Dock Co., Limited, and others.

With the increasing ferocity of the submarine campaign, the Controller of the Navy realised that a still larger number of Frigates was essential, and in order to meet his requirements the Director of Naval Construction, in collaboration with shipbuilders who had previous
Frigate experience, undertook the prefabricated Frigate design. The
structural steelwork for the prefabricated Frigates was to be prepared
by constructional steel engineering firms all over the country, so that
the steel units could be mass produced and distributed to Frigate shipbuilders for erection. At the same time mass orders for machinery
auxiliaries and equipment were placed throughout the country.
As soon as the design was settled, this firm undertook to lay off
the lines in our large mould loft and to supply the builders with the
loft offsets and other information. In addition, templates were prepared
to enable constructional engineers to carry out mass production of the
steel units ; this involved the preparation of over four thousand templates.

Our loftsman visited the various structural engineers to explain
the method of application of the templates to ensure subsequent accuracy of assembly of the prefabricated steel units when they reached the slipways.

The shipbuilding and structural engineering industries closely collaborated in organising a central drawing office for the preparation
of the vast number of detailed drawings which this system necessitated
and which contributed in no small measure to the success of the whole

The accuracy with which the drawing office, mould loft, and template
work was carried out enabled these very highly specialised
vessels to be successfully prefabricated at a time when the whole war
position depended on the successful transport of munitions of war from
the United States and Great Britain.

source-Leith Built Ships on War Service

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