Home Up Pre-History The District The Streets City Industry The Tenement Family Names North East Art

The Doric Columns


John Lewis Shipyard

John Lewis, & Sons Ltd, Torry, Aberdeen, - mercantile, plus "War" coasters
Shipbuilders 1907 – 1976

1886 The company was started as a coal importer and trawler manager based at Albert Quay on the south side of Aberdeen Harbour. John had been a wooden boat builder in Cove. He then built up a marine engine production and repair business in Aberdeen.
1907 John Lewis died and his son Andrew took over. Soon after, the demand for vessels in World War I meant that the yard could afford to expand to 4 berths.  WWI The yard began filling orders for war time builds, and this included 11 standard steam coasters along with larger colliers which were the mainstay of the yard throughout the 1920s.
1930s The yard made a number of steamships for various Australian companies along with steam trawlers for the Aberdeen fishing fleet. Trawlers, tugs and coasters kept the yard in business during the Depression along with motor coasters.  WWII The yard made a number of Admiralty trawlers and small warships along with the continuing line of commercial trawlers. Dry cargo coaster building continued until 1969.

 

1950s/60s The yard made a large number of trawlers and tugs until 1969 when it only built trawlers.

1970s The yard was taken over by the John Wood Group of Aberdeen in Summer 1972 who ended trawler building in 1976. However, the yard continued to be used by the company for their transport machinery and metal products interests.

In 1976 a new 1600 ton slipway was constructed by the Wood Group, suitable for the repair of offshore supply vessels. The yard then began to concentrate on such repair work, although it continued to build occasional vessels until the 1980s. 

The shipbuilding firm of John Lewis & Sons Ltd. specialised in cargo and fishing vessels.  John Lewis & Sons Ltd was established in 1907 by Andrew Lewis. His father John had been a wooden boat builder in Cove. He then built up a marine engine production and repair business in Aberdeen.   

The firm did not build any ships until 1917, when the 1st World War created a demand for new shipping. Lewis constructed coasters and drifters but later concentrated on cargo vessels.  During the 2nd World War, Lewis built more than 30 vessels, including minesweeper trawlers and patrol vessels. The company continued to specialise in steam and diesel trawlers after the war.

They also built the sail training vessel Malcolm Miller in 1968.
  
She was sold out of service in 2001 and renamed Helena C as a private yacht. Following a fire in 2008, she has been laid up.

The family of Sir James Miller, the former Lord Mayer of London and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, donated half of the cost of this second schooner to the sister ship Sir Winston Churchill. She was named after Sir James' son who was tragically killed in a car accident at a young age. Her keel was laid in on the 23rd of March 1967 at the Aberdeen yard of John Lewis & Sons. She was launched on the 5th October 1967 and commissioned on the 10th of March 1968. Almost identical to her elder sister, she differed mainly in having slightly larger crew accommodation and square topped doors while the Churchill had round topped doors."

One of their most famous Trawlers was Fairtry, the first purpose-built factory stern trawler.

The trawler Fairtry was completed in 1954. This vessel was equipped for filleting and freezing its catch at sea. Fish meal and oil could also be produced. The blocks of filleted fish produced aboard Fairtry were used by Birdseye and Ross to make fish fingers.  In 1972, John Lewis & Sons Ltd. was taken over by the Wood Group. The Group had a number of fishing industry interests, including vessel ownership and fish processing. However, by this date, it was expanding into services for the oil industry.  In 1976 a new 1600 ton slipway was constructed by the Wood Group, suitable for the repair of offshore supply vessels.  The yard then began to concentrate on such repair work, although it continued to build occasional vessels until the 1980s.

John Lewis Ltd. (Torry Coaling Co.), Coal Merchants, 186 Albert Quay.

Never Knowingly Undersold!


Send mail to jazzmaster@jazzeddie.f2s.com with questions or comments about the design of this web site.
Last modified: 01/09/2013