Sea Breezes Shop Header



Leith Shipyards, 1918-1939

by R O Neish
Ron Neish takes us on a journey brought alive in his account of shipyard construction in a narrow but epic window of history – 1918-1939. Ron brings the long defunct shipyards back to life: the pride of a busy shipyard exudes. The myriad skills (many now lost to the UK) are revived on the page. A world of work is made palpable; a world of fettlers and furnace-men, of French polishers, fitters, frame-turners and many, many more. Ron worked in the yards as a “Loftsman”; his sharp draughtsman’s eye for detail is made evident in this account of the vibrancy of shipbuilding in Leith, on the East Coast of Scotland. Volume 2 deals with the economically difficult inter-war years. Early post WW1 optimism was to give way to economic retrenchment. A period of stop-start economic activity prevailed. The early post-war years saw the consolidation of three of Leith’s main shipyards into the Henry Robb Shipbuilders company. This was a period of mergers and acquisitions in many areas of British industry as the economy waxed and waned. The anticipation of a post-war economic boom, with abundant ship-building orders, gave way to a focus on the repairing of the many allied and German vessels damaged in the war. The text is well supported by extracts from a rich photographic archive, including some spectacular footage of vessels in heavy weather conditions. Ron Neish can be equally proud of his past service as ‘Loftsman’ at Robbs and as an author who clearly revels in taking his readers on a voyage rich in history, both in detail and alive in character! Review courtesy of Dr Mervyn Rowlinson.

Number of copies

Book Author

R O Neish


History, War