When Ratty and Mole met the Home Fleet

Looking north from the Surrey bank. Launches at Thorneycrofts were occasions for local celebrations.

The Clyde and the Tyne are famous as shipbuilding rivers for the Royal Navy; the Thames at Chiswick and Hampton less so. But in the heyday of the British Empire a great shipbuilding name — Thorneycrofts — arose with the unlikely address of Church Wharf, Chiswick Mall, where it made torpedo gunboats before moving operations to Southampton in 1904. To fit under London’s bridges, masts and funnels had to be removed and replaced downriver and Greenhithe, near Dartford.  The picture above shows the launch of HMS Speedy in May, 1893. More on the history of Thorneycrofts here and also to follow on this page.

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