Today, the town of Falmouth is best known for its picturesque harbour and bustling maritime trade. But in centuries past, this small town on the south coast of England was one of the most important shipbuilding centres in the country. In this blog post, we’ll look at the history of the Falmouth shipyard and some of the famous ships that were built there.
The earliest record of a shipyard in Falmouth dates back to the 12th century when the town was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It is thought that ships have been built in the area since even earlier times, however. In the 14th century, a French chronicler described Falmouth as a “great port for shipping”, and by the 15th century, it had become one of England’s leading ports.
Sixteen Century Take off
The town’s shipbuilding industry really began to take off in the early 16th century. At this time, Falmouth was known for its fine oak trees, which were used to build strong and sturdy ships. One of the most famous ships to be built in Falmouth during this period was the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, which sank in 1545 and is on display at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.
Still on the Rise
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Falmouth continued to be an important shipbuilding town. Many of the ships built here were used in the slave trade, including the HMS Falmouth, which was launched in 1732. The town’s shipyards also built several warships for use in battle, such as the HMS Falmouth (1748), which saw action against the French during the Seven Years’ War.
The Boom for Falmouth Shipyard
The 19th century was a boom time for Falmouth’s shipbuilding industry. At its peak, there were over 30 shipyards operating in the town, and thousands of people were employed in the industry. Some of the most famous ships ever built were constructed in Falmouth during this period, including the Cutty Sark, HMS Beagle (the ship that took Charles Darwin on his famous voyage), and the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic. The 20th century saw a decline in Falmouth’s shipbuilding industry, as larger ships were built in other parts of the country but shipbuilding still goes on in Falmouth today.
SLR Capability and Support
SLR Marine Recruit has supported ship manufacture in Falmouth with specialised staff for many years. They understand the processes and requirements of the maritime sector, such as holding security clearance. That is why the recruitment of armed forces in the marine trades is a core focus. Providing highly skilled personnel to support the maritime sector is a vital part of what they do ensuring the best fit for jobs, like engineering, mechanics, and ship refit. If you are transitioning from the armed forces and looking for new career, SLR can support you with your next move and resettlement. With a strong maritime history and still viable shipyard plus the recent addition of superyachts to the production line in Falmouth, it is hoped that the shipbuilding heritage of this great town will continue for many years to come. SLR will always endeavour to provide the manpower needs of the Falmouth shipyards.
If you’re ever in Falmouth, be sure to look around and imagine the ships that once sailed from its shores.