Our History.


Known across the globe, the company was founded by Scottish entrepreneurs William Laird and his son John and has been operating since 1828s. Since its inception, Cammell Laird has built more than 1,350 ships including many famous and innovative vessels.

Cammell Laird has been at the forefront of UK shipbuilding and ship repair for more than 120 years. As such, it has played a pivotal role in supporting the Wirral community, sustaining vital jobs and creating a lifeline for the Wirral economy.

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Cammell Laird played a key role in World War I and II by both building and repairing vessels. During World War II alone the shipyard produced nearly 200 commercial and military vessels in support of the UK war effort, including HMS Rodney, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Ark Royal.

Since then, we have completed some of the most ambitious ship building projects in modern times, through the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough and delivering Dreadnought and Type 26 on behalf of BAE.

Battle of the Atlantic

World War II to Present Day

Shipbuilding Timeline.

Robert F Stockton


Robert F. Stockton

The first screw steamer to cross the Atlantic

Dover 2



The first iron ship owned by the British Government

HMS Birkenhead


HMS Birkenhead

Famed for her tragic sinking at the Cape of Good Hope and the bravery of troops ordered to ‘stand fast’ whilst the women and children aboard were saved first

Ma Robert


Ma Robert

Built in 1858 for David Livingstone’s expedition to the Zambesi, and quoted by some sources as the first ever steel ship

CSS Alabama


CSS Alabama

The most famous and most successful Confederate warship of the American Civil War.




The first all-welded ship in the world

BURGESS SKINNER 5967 Their Majesties visit to Cammell Laird 1917


HMS Ark Royal

(28,480 tons 244m x 29m 31 knots) The first British warship to be designed and built as an aircraft carrier and the third ship to be called Ark Royal.

She was built to carry 60 aircraft, 1500 crew and was armed with 16, 4.5in guns, 32 two pounders and 32 0.5 guns. Her aircraft were responsible for two torpedo hits on German battleship Bismarck in May 1941 but she was torpedoed and sunk by German U boat U-81 14 November 1941 off Gibraltar. An official enquiry after the war concluded the ship could have been saved with proper applications of counter flooding.

HMS Ark Royal 1955


HMS Ark Royal

(53, 060 tons 220m x 34m 32 knots) the second aircraft carrier of the same name built by Cammell Laird launched by the Queen Mother. She became the Royal Navy’s first large post war aircraft carrier and saw 25 years of service eventually being sold to be broken up in 1980.


Cunard White Star

Passenger liner Mauretania, at the date of her launch in 1938, was the largest ship ever built in an English shipyard.

HMS Devonshire


HMS Devonshire

Britain’s first guided missile destroyer

Sound of soay cutout


Sound of Soay / Seil

Ro-Ro Passenger Ship built for Western Ferries



Strangford II

MV Strangford II is a passenger and car ferry servicing the Portaferry–Strangford ferry route across the mouth of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

Red kestrel cutout


Red Kestrel

Freight Ferry servicing the Southampton to East Cowes route.

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RRS Sir David Attenborough

One of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world.

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