Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Life In the Plate Shop

On the photograph below, the Plate Shop is the large grey (gray) building in the distant left below the jib of the crane.

On the ground floor were the machines machinists and welders that made the replacement plates for the ships in the dry docks.

On the second floor ventilation trunking for the ships was made. Also up here was the Second Year Apprentice Training Centre. The man in charge was Fred Davis, he had a very pronounced limp which earned him the nickname (behind his back) of 'Gimpy' Davis.

The Working Mast House in this drawing, was the Plate Shop during my time in the Dockyard

 Here we made brackets and small metal work 'jobs' for the shipwrights afloat. The shipwrights would make working drawings of their requirement on thick red card, which they brought to the foreman of the Plate Shop. He would determine which work came up to us apprentices.

We were in the Plate shop for six months. The second six months of our second year would be spent back in the boathouse learning how to build wooden boats.


  1. Neat to know the process. So grounded in excellence.
    Do they still school the apprenticeship students the same way John or has everything changed?

  2. The Dockyard was owned by the Admiralty (Navy Dept) and they closed it down in 1960. The whole historical area has been concreted over and priceless history lost for ever. A crime. Apprenticeships of such quality seem to have followed the same path I'm afraid to say, Julie.