Cammell Laird Shipbuilders

Wirral Archives holds the records for Cammell Laird Shipbuilders.

Download a list of ships built by Cammell Laird, arranged chronologically by vessel number

History of Cammell Laird

In 1824 William Laird founded the Birkenhead Iron Works (boilermaking) and was joined by his son, John Laird in 1828 (started building ships). The company soon became pre-eminent in the manufacture of iron ships and made major advances in propulsion. In 1903 the Sheffield steel firm of Charles Cammell and Co. Ltd. amalgamated with Laird Brothers Ltd. Between 1829 and 1947, over 1,100 vessels of all kinds were built.

In 1977 Cammell Laird was nationalised along with the rest of the British shipbuilding industry as British Shipbuilders. In 1986 Cammell Laird was privatized as part of VSEL. In 2001 the company was forced to enter receivership, and the shipyard was acquired by the A&P Shiprepair Group and shut down.

In 2003 A&P sold the shipyard to Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders. In 2007 the company acquired the rights to the name of Cammell Laird.

 

Cammell Laird Records

The Cammell Laird collection consists of records of the company and of individual ships. The company records include:

  • board minutes
  • accounts
  • public relations records
  • family papers of the Laird family

The ship records include:

  • contracts and specifications
  • estimates
  • patents
  • plans
  • launch brochures
  • photographs and albums

 

Cammell Laird Staff Records

The Cammell Laird collection includes some records of the salaries and pensions of office and engineering staff. We do not hold records of labourers working in the shipyard, or detailed personnel files.

Staff: Salaries / Pensions

ZCL/5/299/001-002 – Staff Pensions, A-L & M-Z (c.1861-1958)
Record Sheets giving name, position, dates of service, occasionally address, pension payment details. Alphabetical

ZCL/5/299/004 – Staff Salaries, Foremen and Assistants (c.1890-1958)
Record Sheets giving name, position, dates of starting, transfers, salary changes, date of leaving. Alphabetical

ZCL/5/301/002 – Staff Salaries, Office, Current (c.1912-1955)
Record Sheets giving name, position or department, dates of starting, salary changes (staff in 1955). Alphabetical

ZCL/5/299/003 – Staff Salaries, Engineering (c.1916-1958)
Record Sheets giving name, position or department, dates of starting, salary changes. Alphabetical

ZCL/5/301/003 – Staff Salaries, Shipbuilding (c.1918-1955)
Record Sheets giving name, position or department, dates of starting, salary changes. Alphabetical

ZCL/5/300/001-004 – Staff Salaries, Office, Left (c.1918-1957)
Record Sheets giving name, position or department, dates of starting, salary changes. Alphabetical 

ZCL/5/0178 – Monthly Salaries Ledger (1915-1919)
Lists names of salaried officials by department with addresses and monthly payments. Departments included are General; Shipbuilding; Engineering; Repairs; Submarine; Brass Foundry and Boiler.

ZCL/5/0179 – Monthly Salaries Ledger (1920-1937)
Lists names of salaried officials by department with addresses and monthly payments. Departments included are General; Shipbuilding; Engineering; Repairs; Submarine; Brass Foundry and Boiler.

ZCL/5/293/000 – Staff Index (Leavers) A-L (c.1915-966)
Staff list giving name, address, department, dates of service. Alphabetical

ZCL/5/301/001 – Staff Salaries, Apprentices/ Office Boys (1943-1946)
Record Sheets giving name, position or department, dates of starting, salary changes. Alphabetical

ZCL/5/294/000 – Payroll Record (1958-1967)
Record Sheets giving name, date of birth, dates of starting, salary payments for following Departments: Costs; Accounts; Power-Samas; Cash Office; Wages; Timekeepers; SPW; Cleaners.

ZCL/5/295/000 – Staff Index (1963)
Listing all staff in 1963 including name, position or department, cost centre. Alphabetical

Please note: staff records of living individuals are closed for 100 years, but are open to those who can prove with relevant documents that they are related

Some staff records from 1955 onwards are now held by BAE Systems. Their contact details are:

BAE Systems (VSEL PLC),
Barrow Shipbuilding Works,
Barrow-in-Furness,
Cumbria, LA14 1AF.

Tel: 01229 823366

 

House Magazines

ZCL/12/0022/000 – ‘The Camel’ (copy) (1920)

ZCL/12/0008/001 – Cammell Laird Magazine (1963-1965), incomplete

ZCL/12/0001/15 – Cammell Laird Magazine (1958-1965), incomplete

Accession 1921 – Cammell Laird Magazine (1957-1965), incomplete

Accession 1843 – Cammell Laird Magazine (1959-1965), incomplete

 

Photographs

The archive includes some photographs featuring employees; many taken or compiled for the house magazine, including sports activities and individual portraits (see Personalities file). Workers also often appear in photographs of ship construction or plant, but names are not always given.

ZCL/2/A035/000 – Apprentice Training (c.1960s)

ZCL/2/B027/000 – Cammell Laird Band (1950-1960)

ZCL/2/B033/000 – Bowls (c.1960s-1980s)

ZCL/2/D011/000 – Cammell Laird Directors (c.1930s-1980s)

ZCL/2/D013/000 – Darts (c.1960s-1980s)

ZCL/2/F013/000 – Football (1911-1960s)

ZCL/2/P020/000 – Personalities (c.1960s-1970s), many are labelled, some are earlier than given dates

ZCL/2/T032/000 – Apprentice Training Centre (c.1970s-1980s)

ZCL/W003/000 – Welding (c.1960s)