Shipbuilding was an engineering company that was based in
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire,
England from 1845 to 1932.
1 Earle Brothers
Liquidation and takeover
3 Surviving Earle's ship
Chilean ironclad Blanco Encalada
Chilean ironclad Blanco Encalada (1875)
Royal Navy cruiser HMS St George (1892)
The company was started in Hull in 1845 by two brothers, Charles
and William Earle. The firm was made up of engineers and focussed on
shipbuilding and repair. Its most notable association was with the
Wilson Line, for whom the yard produced many ships. Earle's also built
vessels for many other British shipping firms, especially those
North Sea routes such as the Great Eastern Railway and
the Hull & Netherlands Steamship Co. Ltd.
In 1871, Earle's was restructured as a joint-stock company and for a
short time Sir
Edward James Reed
Edward James Reed served as its chairman and managing
Earle's built two steam yachts for Tsarevitch Alexander: the Slavanka
in 1873 and Czarevna in 1874. Also in 1874 Earle's built the
unsuccessful SS Bessemer, Sir Henry Bessemer's experimental
swinging-cabin paddle steamer, which made its maiden (and only) public
voyage in 1875. Earle's built the yacht Bosphorous for Khedive Isma'il
of Egypt and later built other yachts for wealthy clients.
Earle's was an early adopter of triple-expansion engines, for example
installing them in the liner SS Draco that the company built for
Wilson Line in 1882.
Reed had been chief constructor to the
Admiralty and helped Earle's to
win a number of naval orders including the ironclad warships Almirante
Cochrane (1874) and Blanco Encalada (1875) for the Chilean Navy
Later naval orders included two Edgar class cruisers for the Royal
Navy: HMS Endymion launched in 1891 and HMS St George launched in
1892. In 1895 the company built two Salmon-class destroyers for the
Liquidation and takeover
Earle's faced difficulties when Charles died and William was taken
ill. In the latter part of the 1890s, the firm
suffered both cash-flow problems and a labour shortage, and in 1900,
it entered voluntary liquidation. However, Charles Wilson bought
the firm for about £170,000, keeping the Earle's name, but making it
a wholly owned subsidiary of Wilson Line.
In 1904, Earle's built SS Inca for the Peruvian Corporation, a
UK-owned company that ran Peru's railways. She was built as a
"knock down" ship; that is, she was bolted together at Earle's
shipyard, then all her parts were marked with numbers, unbolted and
packed into crates, and then shipped in kit form to Peru, where they
were transported inland, reassembled with rivets, and in 1905 launched
on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. In the
1920s Inca needed a new bottom, so Earle's made one in kit form and
shipped that to
Peru as well.
In 1929, Earle's built a larger "knock down" ship for the Peruvian
Corporation, SS Ollanta, which was launched on
Lake Titicaca in
1931. By now, manufacturing in the UK was declining in the Great
Depression and after the Ollanta, Earle's built only three more
ships. The UK government sponsored a rationalisation of the
shipbuilding industry, and in 1932, the National Shipbuilders
Securities (NSS) took over Earle's. NSS sold Earle's tools and
machinery, shipping the yard's large crane and other equipment to
Kowloon in Hong Kong. The terms of Earle's closure included a
restrictive covenant on the site of the yard proscribing any
shipbuilding there for the following 60 years.
Surviving Earle's ship
At least one Earle's-built ship survives. Ollanta, now retired from
scheduled ferry service, is leased out by
PeruRail for charter tourist
cruises on Lake Titicaca.
^ a b "Earle's
Engineering Company Limited". Archives
Special Collections, Brynmor Jones Library. University of Hull. 17
September 1997. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Grace, Michael L (16 November 2009).
"The SS Ollanta". Cruising the Past. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
^ "The Lake Steamers - Post 1900". Yavari -
Lake Titicaca - Peru. The
Yavari Project. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
Retrieved 21 May