End of shipbuilding for Vosper Thornycroft

The demise of Woolworth was bad enough (didn't they once build aircraft carriers? ;-) ) but now I read in the Pompey News that the equally iconic Vosper Thornycroft is to stop building ships after 150 years in order to concentrate on 'other areas'. They are selling their share of the BVT shipbuilding business to BAe and I'm surprised that this significant event hasn't received more attention in RN circles. Read more about the history of Vosper Thornycroft here.

I served in a couple of ships built at V-T's Woolston yard at Southampton including the world's first plastic warship, HMS Wilton. I also remember seeing corvettes, FPBs and other craft being built at V-T's yards on the Camber in Old Portsmouth and in Portchester. And who can forget all those sleek power boats and coastal forces craft built during the first half of the 20th century? 'Tis a sad day for UK maritime history.


V-T Yard at the Camber in Old Portsmouth c.1970[/align]

Any more memories?

(N.B. 'Woolworth carriers' were the emergency escort aircraft carriers mass-produced for the RN during the Second World War.)
To be honest I think the writing has been on the wall for VT ever since Big and Expensive bought Yarrow. With the build rate for surface ships dying away to almost nothing and not looking as if it will rise there is little work in the home market and little chance of export work either. Equally it was clear that with the scale of systems engineering at Big and Expensive VT were never going to get that much of a look in at design again so all that was left was some steel erecting and outfitting work. Waiting till the carrier deal was signed maximised the value as I suspect with no other new orders for a year or two now the real value of the shipbuilding assets will fall. Big and Expensive will probably hold on to the southern yards for the forseable future as an insurance against us PJs getting upity and becoming independant.
Bear in mind that the relocation to Portsmouth was under VT auspices and before the formation of BVT (even if it was on the far horizon), principally done so they could build full T45s rather than bow-sections.

Once Lord Drayson mandated the formation of BVT ("no ShipCo, no CVF contract"), sooner or later VT management were bound to get out. As BVT HQ is (I believe) in Portsmouth and the facilities there are better than Scotstoun, there should be a future for the yard there. There is an awful lot of uncertainty across the old units VT, Comsec & FSL as to who/what has a future however......

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