HQS Wellington
HMS Wellington (launched Devonport, 1934) is a Grimsby-class sloop, formerly of the Royal Navy. During the Second World War, she served as a convoy escort ship in the North Atlantic. She is now moored alongside the Victoria Embankment, at Temple Pier, on the River Thames in London as the headquarters ship of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners where she is known as HQS Wellington. It was always the ambition of the founding members of the company to have a livery hall. Up to the outbreak of war in 1939, various proposals were examined, including the purchase of a sailing ship, the Archibald Russell. After the war, it became apparent that the possibility of building a hall in the City of London had been rendered very remote. In 1947, the Grimsby-class sloop Wellington was made available by the Admiralty. The company decided to buy her with money subscribed by the members and convert her to a floating livery hall - an appropriate home for a company of seafarers. Before the Second World War HMS Wellington served in the Pacific mainly on station in New Zealand and China. As built, Wellington mounted two 4.7 inch guns and one 3-inch gun. Additionally, anti-aircraft guns were fitted for self-defence. Depth charges for use against submarines were carried. Wellington served primarily in the North Atlantic on convoy escort duties. She shared in the destruction of one enemy U-boat and was involved in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk. A fuller account of Wellington’s war service has been written by Captain A. D. Munro in his book HMS/HQS Wellington. During 1943 she was briefly commanded by Captain John Treasure Jones, at that time a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy Reserve, who would later be the last captain of RMS Queen Mary. The Grimsby-class anti-submarine sloops of 1933-36, which included HMS Wellington, were the predecessors of the famous Black Swan sloops of 1939, including HMS Starling which sank 14 U-boats, and HMS Amethyst, the hero of the 1949 Yangste Incident. These wartime sloops further evolved during the Battle of the Atlantic into the River and Loch-class ASW frigate types. HMS President is moored near Wellington on the Embankment. This ship, built as HMS Saxifrage in 1918, was a Flower-class anti- submarine Q-Ship, and is one of the last three surviving warships of the Royal Navy built during the First World War. President was one of the first types of warship built specifically for anti-submarine warfare. Wellington and President together represent the first and second generation ancestors of modern frigates, which are the most numerous type of front-line warship in today's navy. In naval fiction. After the War, she was converted from being His Majesty’s Ship Wellington to "Head Quarters Ship" HQS Wellington at Chatham Dockyard. The cost of this conversion was met by an appeal to which Lloyd's, Shipping Companies, Livery Companies and many other benefactors generously contributed. It included the installation of a grand wooden staircase taken from the 1906 Isle of Man ferry SS Viper, which was being broken up at the same time. Wellington arrived at her Victoria Embankment berth in December 1948 to continue service as the floating livery hall of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. In 1991, HQS Wellington was dry-docked at Sheerness for three months during which, apart from extensive steelwork repairs and complete external painting, she received a major refurbishment which included the refitting of all toilet facilities, offices and accommodation areas. For the first time, Wellington was fully fitted with custom-made carpet, and displays were installed of the Company’s marine paintings and artefacts, gold and silver plate, ship models and newly discovered very early 18th century charts.
HQS Wellington as she is today
Post-war
HMS Wellington in April 1942
Naval Service
The Wellington Trust
On the 1st of July 2005 ownership of the Wellington was transferred from the Honourable Company to the Wellington Trust, a charitable trust established to ensure the preservation of this historic ship. Moored opposite Temple Underground Station, HQS Wellington is centrally located straddling the boundary between The City and Westminster. It is very popular for lunches, dinners, and conferences for parties up to 250 people. Wellington is a unique London venue for any functions which benefit from the backdrop of its wonderful collection of marine antiques, including priceless paintings and model ships. Flexibility is key to the attraction of this venue with a range of rooms available, from small meetings in a boardroom to a whole ship event. The ship is also a licensed venue for holding weddings. The library onboard the Wellington contains numerous publications on a variety of maritime subjects, ranging from the complete works of Joseph Conrad to Lloyd’s Register of ships. In addition, there are many ship’s log books, first hand accounts of seafaring and empirical research papers. The library also contains a large collection of sextants, chronometers and other maritime instruments and artefacts. Of particular importance is a rare Listor & Martins Berlin circular sextant made in Germany in the mid 19th Century and a French Chronometer built by Berthoud and dating from the 1850s. The Wellington houses a wide range of beautiful and historic artefacts and treasures onboard, including a large collection of ship models, which include a large model of HMS Victory, an exquisitely detailed model of the Cutty Sark and a model of a whaler made from whale bone. In 2005, the Honourable Company lent a number of artefacts to the Museum of Garden History for an exhibition on Captain (later Vice Admiral) Bligh’s epic voyage 3618 mile voyage, following the mutiny onboard the HMAV Bounty Medals won by a number of Company members are also displayed. These include two George Cross’ won by Captains GP Stronach and DM Mason and one Victoria Cross won by Captain RB Stanard RN. The ship is open to visitors on occasions throughout the year and group tours can also be arranged at a nominal cost, to include refreshments. The ship is located just across the road from Temple tube station (on the District / Circle Lines), a 10 minute walk from either Charing Cross or Blackfriars mainline stations, or 15-20 minutes across the Thames from Waterloo. As HQS Wellington is a working environment, it is not open to the public except on specified days, but students of maritime history and those interested in the sea are most welcome to visit us by appointment; For further information visit: http://www.thewellingtontrust.com
SS Shieldhall
The SS Shieldhall was laid down in October 1954, launched on 7th July 1955 and entered service in October of that year. Built by Lobnitz & Co., of Renfrew on the River Clyde to a specification determined by the Glasgow Corporation, she was required to carry her “cargo” as well as passengers housed in a spacious saloon in her daily trips “doon the watter”. Shieldhall was operated by Glasgow Corporation to transport treated sewage sludge down the river Clyde to be dumped at sea. She continued a tradition, dating back to the First World War, that Glasgow's sludge vessels carried organised parties of passengers when operating during the summer months. Thus Shieldhall was built with accommodation for 80 passengers. In 1976, after 21 years of faithful service on the Clyde, Shieldhall was laid up. Shieldhall was purchased by the Southern Water Authority in 1977. For five years, from 1980, she carried sludge from Marchwood, Millbrook and Woolston in Southampton to an area south of the Isle of Wight. It was when she was suddenly withdrawn from service in July 1985, due to rising fuel prices, that active preservation began. As a result of an initiative by the Southampton City's Museum Services, a preservation society was formed and "Shieldhall" was purchased from Southern Water in 1988, for £20,000. The Society is registered as an Industrial and Provident Society as The Solent Steam Packet Limited and operates as a charity. All work associated with the Society and "Shieldhall" is carried out by unpaid volunteers. Much work has been done on the ship by these volunteers in order to keep her in sea-going condition. The saloon has been restored and the galley brought up-to-date. Crewed by volunteers, "Shieldhall" is a frequent sight around the Solent running excursions and such like. She has been to Holland for the Dordrecht Steam Festival and she has been an attendee at each of the International Festivals of the Sea at Bristol and Portsmouth. During the summer months, various excursions are run in the Solent area and during the course of these voyages, passengers are encouraged to visit the Bridge and machinery spaces. “Shieldhall” is unique as a time capsule providing a working example of steamship machinery both above and below deck, typical of the cargo and passenger ships that plied the oceans of the world from the 1870s until the mid 1960s, by which time they were all but extinct. The ship is of special interest as she is built on the classical lines of a 1920s steamer with a traditional wheelhouse; the hull is of riveted and welded construction and this unusual feature is representative of the transitional phase in British shipbuilding when welding took over from riveted practice. The hull has a slightly raked bow and cruiser stern. The teak decks and emergency steering position aft add to the classic effect. Shieldhall was effectively obsolete mechanically at the time of her launch having steam machinery representative of the late 19th century at a time when the diesel engine was coming into its own. She is now believed to be the largest working steam ship in Northern Europe. For further information visit: http://www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk
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Its eye-catching boathouses and distinctive blue-and-orange vessels are part of the landscape of the British seaside — a reassuring backdrop to many a summer holiday.  Yet, while the RNLI is almost certainly one of Britain’s best-loved charities, it’s probably fair to say that few of us actually appreciate  the organisation’s scope. It operates 500 boats from 237 lifeboat stations dotted around Britain’s rocky coastline.  It designs, builds and maintains its own vessels and, while its crews are largely made up of volunteers, it employs a host of engineers and naval architects charged with maintaining and updating a fleet that has to cope with some  of the toughest conditions in the ocean. With recent weather providing a timely reminder of just how tough these conditions can be, the RNLI is going through a particularly exciting phase - the production and roll-out of the Shannon, its most advanced ever all-weather lifeboat. Designed to replace the Mersey-class lifeboat, the Shannon is arguably one of the charity’s most ambitious projects.  Many aspects of its design represent a radical step forward, and the production of 50 vessels is the largest single  run in the RNLI’s history.  A prototype began sea trials around 18 months ago and the first vessel will be delivered to Dungeness lifeboat station in February.  Six other boats are currently at various stages of construction at the Berthon Boatyard and the RNLI-owned company SAR Composites, both of which are based in Lymington on the UK’s south coast. Steve Austen, the RNLI’s head of engineering support, explained that the vessel has been designed to meet a number of demanding operational requirements.  It has to be capable of 25kts; it must be able to right itself if it capsizes; it must be able to operate for up  to 10 hours in the worst conditions the sea can throw at it and it has got to last for 50 years.  “Everything  we do — from the design of the hull through to the seating and even down to how the windscreen wipers  are attached — is on the assumption that it’ll go out into that 16m sea and will come back,” said Austen.  It has also been designed with the limitations of a volunteer crew in mind.  “Fewer than 10 per cent have any kind of maritime background,” he added. “You have to make sure you take that into account so that the  boat is as intuitive as possible to use.” In technology terms, perhaps the most original feature is the use of twin water jets to power the boat.  Chosen because of the need to operate the boat in shallower water, the jets also make the boat faster and more manoeuvrable than propeller-powered vessels.  Peter Eyre, senior engineer on the Shannon project, explained that the improved performance stems from the moveable ‘buckets’ that alter the direction of each of the water jets and thus change the direction of the boat.  The advantage over conventional propulsion systems is that the boat can be held in a neutral position regardless of the throttle settings.  By changing the positions of the buckets and, therefore, the direction of the water jets, it can perform a range of manoeuvres that would put impossible strain on conventional systems.  “You can turn the boat on the spot, move it sideways, or stop instantaneously from flat out,” said Eyre. “You’ve got ultimate control.” Another reason for choosing the water jets is that, like the boat it’s designed to replace, the Shannon will be launched from a carriage and the profile of the jets is ideal for this approach.  As previously reported,  Austen’s team has worked alongside engineers from Devon engineering company Supacat on the development of an advanced submersible tractor-borne carriage system that enables the boat to be  launched more quickly than its carriage-launched forbears.  The Shannon’s innovative launch and recovery system was designed by Devon firm Supacat.  Another key technology is the Systems and Information Management System (SIMS) used to control the boat.  Originally developed for the Tamar class all-weather lifeboat (which was launched in 2006) this system enables the crew to monitor, control and operate many of the boat’s key systems without leaving their seats.  The seats themselves have also been specially designed, and equipped with a suspension system that helps the crew deal with the huge vertical slamming forces experienced in heavy seas. While all of these innovations make important contributions to the boat’s safety and performance, the Shannon’s bespoke hull shape is arguably its most decisive feature.  After ruling out an off-the-shelf hull early in the project, Peter Eyre, the engineer responsible for the hull, set about developing a design that was carefully optimised to reduce the risk of both vertical and sideways slamming forces.  It was, he explained, a difficult balancing act.  Features such as a steeply angled bow that helps reduce vertical slamming can affect the stability and increase the risk of rolling and sideways slamming forces.  While this is a problem on all boats, it was compounded on the Shannon due to its unconventional propulsion system and lower displacement.  The resulting hull features a narrow bow designed to cut through the water which is counteracted by very wide aft sections that help keep the boat steady and  upright. Severe slamming is further limited by steeper hull sections midway between the bow and the stern. Eyre’s design was settled on following testing of a 1/8-scale model in Chichester harbour.  At this stage, a number of other existing designs were still in the running, “but the results,” said Eyre, “were surprising and persuasive:  The new hull cut through the waves beautifully while remaining stable in rough conditions” he added.  “When the results came out I thought bloody hell — we’ve seen a dramatic improvement.” Back on dry land, there’s been considerable innovation in the design and manufacturing processes, with an emphasis on upfront detailed design helping to shorten the project’s timescale.  “Historically we’ve gone from concept design to prototype and then prototype to pre-production model,” said Austen, “but with this one we tried to put a lot more emphasis on detailed design so that the prototype was much closer  to the production standard — we’ve effectively missed out a whole stage by doing that.” Production itself follows a lean process, with two-month tack times and a series of six separate slots for different build states.  A number of key innovations have helped to streamline this process, explained Austen.  For instance, the wheelhouse and hull are kept separate for as long as possible, enabling more engineers to work on the boat.  The team has also figured out an improved way of eventually joining these two sections together, using a bonded joint rather than lots of over-laminating.  The design and production strategy has been heavily influenced by the scale of the job.  “With 50 boats being built in one go, this is the RNLI’s biggest ever production run and there has,” said Austen, “been great investment and attention to detail.  All the time the guys have had in mind that 50-boat production run so have taken time to invest in jigs, tooling and production methods from the word go rather than thinking about it in small batches.  The fact that the RNLI is its own customer has also had a huge bearing on the process. There’s simply no point trying to cut corners,” said Austen. “If you can see the 50-year  through-life cost it puts you in a much better position to say it might cost me an extra £10,000 to build  but I’m going to save £100,000 over the next five years by doing this.  It really does give you the design freedom to make those changes and get the benefit.” Source : The Engineer Inside the RNLI's latest lifeboat RNLI's Fastest Lifeboat
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