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|HMS 'Thunderer' and the closure of the ironworks|
As a result, competition from northern yards on the Tyne and Clyde and rising costs led to fewer orders during the mid-1900s. The works only received ¬£1 million (over ¬£60 million at today's prices) out of an Admiralty budget of nearly ¬£70 million.
The final contract
This¬†photograph shows the 'scriving floor' at the Thames Ironworks during the construction of the Thunderer. On this floor and smaller ones like it, the various curves of a ship's keel were scrived, or cut, to actual size.
Long wooden¬†spleens or battens¬†were then tacked down¬†over the scrived lines and made into patterns to which¬†iron plates were shaped.
Launch of the 'Thunderer'
On 16 April 1910 the keel-plate of the Thunderer was laid down in a ceremony led by Mrs Arnold Hills. Her husband had recently¬†been affected¬†by a stroke. She is shown here with senior managers from the ironworks.
Effect of closure
Despite Hills' best efforts, the truth was that the northern shipyards, close to sources of coal and iron,¬†made the Thames-side industry uncompetitive. The Thunderer was the River Thames's¬†final contribution to the Royal Navy.
Today the shipbuilding industry survives in a very minor way: lighters, barges, workboats and pleasure craft.