Decades of shipbuilding history revealed in rescued book

Ken Morrell, with a rare book on ship building he found in a skip.
Ken Morrell, with a rare book on ship building he found in a skip.
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DOCUMENTS recalling Sunderland’s industrial heritage have been revealed by a former shipyard worker.

Retired shipwright Ken Morrell, from Hylton Road, Sunderland, came across the book on his last day at Laing’s Yard, in Deptford, which closed in the 1960s.

Dating back more than 40 years, the beginning of the end for many local shipyards, the Lloyd’s Register Rules and Regulations and Classification contained key guidance on naval architecture and marine engineering.

“It was my last day and I was sat in one of the cabins waiting to go home,” he said. “The place was pretty much empty. Everything had been cleaned out but this book.

“Nobody else wanted it, so I thought it might be a nice piece of memorabilia. Something to remember my time in the shipyards.”

Lloyd’s Register, a maritime classification society and independent risk management organisation, provides assurance and certification for ships, offshore structures and shore-based installations, such as power stations and railway infrastructure.

However, it is best known for the classification and certification of ships. It inspects and approves important components and accessories, including lifesaving appliances, marine pollution prevention, fire protection, navigation, radio communication equipment, deck gear, cables and anchors.

“It looks as if it was used by the management during the building of the ships to make sure they were made to the correct standards and specifications,” said Ken.

“To be honest, I don’t understand a lot of it. There is quite a bit of technical jargon and equations.

“But I’ve managed to hold on to it all these years. It has always been close by in the house.”

Grandad Ken, 80, started his training in the shipyards in his teens, spending time at every major site on Wearside before eventually losing his job as employment opportunities dried up.

The book is for sale. For more information, call 534 7183.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho