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Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
 
     
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Famous Ships

This will feature some of the many famous ships that used to be a common sight around the shores of the U.K. and further afield.
Classic ships like the QE2 and the Canberra, also some of the less well known ships like ???

With regards to famous British built ships it is hard to look past the RMS TITANIC to start with.


Titanic-Painting
So much has been written about this iconic feat of early steel shipbuilding and engineering, and also about her sinking, but we shall feature on her engineering, which for the time was a bit special

 

The Ismay Line

The Ismay Line

The Ismay Line charts the rise and fall of one of the most eminent British shipping companies - and tells the story of the family behind it. The founder of the White Star Line, T H Ismay, pioneered a revolutionary design of iron steamships, built for him by Harland & Wolff of Belfast. By the time of his death in 1899 he had become the most successful steamship owner in the world. He was succeeded by his son, Bruce Ismay, who in April 1912 was aboard his latest ship, Titanic, when it collided...


.

The next ship of interest was never seen in British waters, but plied her trade on North America's "Great Lakes" and while many ships have had songs written about them, none have a song quite so poignant.

The EDMUND FITZGERALD was just such a ship

Edmund-Fitzgerald

Seen on a nice calm day the EDMUND FITZGERALD underway in the Great Lakes

Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

Music and lyrics ©1976 by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

when the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more

than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,

that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed

when the "Gales of November" came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side

coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.

As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most

with a crew and good captain well seasoned,

concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms

when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.

And later that night when the ship's bell rang,

could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound

and a wave broke over the railing.

And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too

'twas the witch of November come stealin'.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait

when the Gales of November came slashin'.

When afternoon came it was freezin' rain

in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.

"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."

At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,

(*2010 lyric change: At 7 p.m., it grew dark, it was then he said,)

"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"

The captain wired in he had water comin' in

and the good ship and crew was in peril.

And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight

came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes

when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay

if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.

They might have split up or they might have capsized;

they may have broke deep and took water.

And all that remains is the faces and the names

of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings

in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.

Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;

the islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario

takes in what Lake Erie can send her,

And the iron boats go as the mariners all know

with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,

in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."

The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times

for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."

"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead

when the gales of November come early!"

For more on the story of the EDMUND FITZGERALD

Hear the song as sung by Gordon Lightfoot

 

No page about famous ships could not include one of the finest (and Scottish built of course)

That great Liner the QE2

QE2-in-the-Forth-1993

QE2 in the River Forth being pulled around for berthing at the Hound Point terminal (built by Henry Robb Shipbuilders) by Forth tugs.
To be continued.

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