The story of how a ship wrought from steel and many other materials, becomes a living thing.
A B.P. Film with thanks to Vickers-Armstrong Ltd. of Barrow-in-Furness. Produced by Associated British-Pathe Ltd. Written by Jack Howells, Commentary by Ian Sadler,
Music by Edward Williams, Conducted Marcus Dodds.
Pan over deserted shipyards at Barrow-in Furness. A lone man walks through the yard, he tells us he is the "Hull Inspector" but there is no hull to inspect. A large metal plate is being lowered, the modern equivalent of the old keel. Int. ship yard managers office, the Manager and Inspector look at the plans of a ship.
Ext. British Tanker Co. in London, interior man is sitting in a reception area next to a model of an Oil Tanker a receptionist leads him away. Five men sit round a boardroom table. On a wall hangs a large graphic of many oil tankers, pan down to a ships plan as a drafts man works on it. It is the "SS British Sovereign" capacity plan. Effects transition to metal being cut by blow torch. Massive metal section of a ship is being moved in ship yard. Large oil containing sections are moved by vast cranes. Men are using "electric welding" torches. Completed sections of up to 40 tons are moved around. A steam train moves among the metal parts. In the "mould loft" lines of the vessel are chalked full size onto the floor. Templates are removed and as each section is made they are added to the ship. Various angles and top shots as the ship assembles. A 26 ton screw, propeller, is having the shaft fitted. The deck plates are fitted. Lloyds insurance inspectors check oil compartments. The turbine engine is assembled.
The ship with its nameplate is now ready for launching. After 'firing the stays',the cradle is greased to ease the ships 'slipping into the water'. Ropes are hauled under the ship. Last minute welding. Wedges are removed. A launch party of VIP's stand on a platform at the bow of the ship and a lady releases the bottle. From various angles the ship slides down the slipway and into the water, CU's as the workers watch.
Tugs tow the ship to it's fitting out basin. VG shots as the ship is towed down river. Safely berthed the Chief Engineer walks across the quay. Top shot as the engine is lowered into the hull. Various parts of the ship lay around waiting to be assembled. An "army" of tradesmen and fitters join the ship. Stores, ropes and lifeboats come aboard. A man hoses a water tight door to test it. Below decks char women clean as electricians and fitters complete their work. A man enters the "Captains Cabin" and looks around. He is the future "Master" and points to features the carpenter is working on.
Down in the engine room there is a lot of activity as parts are fitted. The compasses are being prepared and tested. The Captain inspects the bridge as it is being fitted out. More preparation and cleaning goes on topside, and across the life boats we see the funnel with "BP" in big letters. The ships sides are painted and life buoys fixed. Ships officers meet each other, and the Captain walks around his new cabin. All are now in ships uniform.
Early morning across water as the ship prepares to sail. Below deck the props turn, and the propeller turns in the water. Various shots as the ship is towed from the river to the sea. The anchor is dropped as part of the trials. The ship is now underway using its own power.
A stop watch is started as it comes up to the "Measured Mile". Shots of the coast as the ship
passes, tension in the engine room and on the bridge. The bow cuts through the water. Stop watches are compared and the ship has passed the speed test. The owners, shipwrights and Officers have a celebration and toast to success. The ship sails away ready for service.