27th December 1896

Industrialist John Brown dies

Although he was born in Sheffield, where he later started his own steel foundry, John Brown will be best remembered for the Clydebank dockyard that bears his name.

As well as an entrepreneur, Brown was an innovator, who devised a buffer system that was used by several railway companies throughout Britain, and a method for applying rolled armour plating to warships. Plating had, until then, been applied in smaller sections, and riveted in place, but Brown found a way to roll out far larger sheets, which were simultaneously up to three times the thickness of that which was then in use.

After demonstrating his innovation to the British government, he received an immediate order for ten warships to benefit from Brown’s new method of protection.

Company expands on Clydebank

At the end of the 1890s, shortly after Brown’s death, the company bought the Clydebank shipyard owned by J&G Thompson, where it continued to innovate in the field of shipbuilding, in particular for government and military use. However, its yard also built RMS Lusitania, RMS Queen Mary, RMS Queen Elizabeth, and the QE2.

The First and Second World Wars gave it a rush of business but, during the subsequent peace, it faced increased competition and ended its direct involvement in shipbuilding in the early 1970s.

The shipyard has since been regenerated, and it is now the site of offices, a college and visitor attractions.



Other events that occured in December

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