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Thames Ironworks, site of
Leamouth, London E16, UK
Thames Ironworks, site of
associated engineer
Not known
date  1856
era  Victorian  |  category  Factory/Industrial Plant  |  reference  TQ395807
photo  National Maritime Museum, Flickr photostream
The Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding Co. had a long and illustrious history in the industrial life of Britain and is of world importance in the history of shipbuilding.
On 29th December 1860, the Admiralty launched HMS Warrior, built by Thames Ironworks and the first ironclad warship in the world. She was three-masted and powered by steam as well as sail. When steaming with sails aloft she could reach 17 and a half knots.
At the height of its output, the company was producing ironwork for a wide range of industrial uses: from engines to boatbuilding, cranes to civil and electrical engineering.
Among the undertakings that used its ironworks are the roof at Alexander Palace, sections of Westminster Bridge, Hammersmith Bridge, Menai Bridge and Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge.
The company's predecessor at Leamouth was the shipbuilding firm Ditchburn & Mare, located on the opposite bank of the River Lea and founded before 1840. The yard began to find it hard to get iron at reasonable prices. Mare wanted to set up an iron plate rolling factory but Ditchburn did not. The firm of C.J. Mare & Co. was set up on the Essex bank in 1846.
Mare's father-in-law, Peter Rolt, took control of the firm in 1856 and it became Thames Ironworks. It later took the name Thames Ironworks Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. The photo above shows the launch of the Japanese warship Shikshima in c.1898.
The company built 144 warships, if you include those built during the ten years of C.J. Mare. The last was Thunderer, a 22,500 ton battleship that took part in WWI. Between 1840 and 1911, 278 merchant ships came out of the yards.
Thames Ironworks closed in December 1912.
reference sources   LLV

Thames Ironworks, site of