The R.M.S. Empress of Ireland Community

Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company was known to build naval warships for the Royal Navy and navies from other countries through the 1st and 2nd world war, builders of transatlantic liners including the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, the R.M.S. Empress of Britain and her sister ship the R.M.S. Empress of Ireland and many other liners of the day.

 

But what did Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company looked like during the early 1900's. When you look through these pictures you will see a huge difference in there approach towards safety. No personal safety equipement such as work boots, hard hats, protective fire proof gloves or other garments, safety glasses and very poor ventilation within the Fairfield Shops. But this would change slowly as the decades past.

The work of the drawing office that most important department where, previous to the actual building work, the qualities of a ship are decided upon, and every part of the design is measured on paper. The manufacture and mechanical qualities of mild steel are also dealt with at some length, a proper knowledge of this is very important to the individuals who ordered the material into the shipyard.

Before Fairfield Shipbuilding had actual started building the Empress of Britain and then on the Empress of Ireland in 1905 to 1906 the ships had to be designed and constructed, on paper, so that each plate and bar may be measured and ordered from the steel works, and so that the various parts may be properly shaped and put together by the workmen. The dimensions, displacement, and general features of the Empresses are, of course, determined before any plans are drawn; and this preliminary work is exceedingly important, for upon it depends upon the capabilities of the ship for the work required of her. The Empress of Ireland had been built in 14 months. The enormous steam engines, boilers, furnishings and interior decorations were made at the shipyard by the 7,000 people who worked there. Thousands of planks of teak covered the various decks, and about 1.1 million rivets were used to attach the steel plates of the hull.

The responsibility of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. in producing a successful ships like the Empresses, varied according to the data supplied to Fairfield. Depending on the customer sometimes little would be left for Fairfield Shipbuilding to make a judgment on how to build a vessel, the dimensions and every other particular being specified; in others the design may be left entirely to Fairfield Shipbuilding, the customer may have asked to build a ship of a certain type, capable of carrying so much cargo measured by weight or bulk at a certain minimum speed, on a certain length of voyage. In the case of the Empress of Britain and the Empress of Ireland the designed and specifications had been prepared by Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

The responsibility of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. in producing a successful ships like the Empresses, varied according to the data supplied to Fairfield. Depending on the customer sometimes little would be left for Fairfield Shipbuilding to make a judgment on how to build a vessel, the dimensions and every other particular being specified; in others the design may be left entirely to Fairfield Shipbuilding, the customer may have asked to build a ship of a certain type, capable of carrying so much cargo measured by weight or bulk at a certain minimum speed, on a certain length of voyage. In the case of the Empress of Britain and the Empress of Ireland the designed and specifications had been prepared by Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

 

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Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company

Mechanical Room.jpg

Mechanical Room Date: Turn of the 20th century Location: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering, Govan, Scotland Credits: Glasgow City Libraries and Archives