Director of Naval Construction

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Office of the Director of Naval Construction
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal Navy
Admiralty Department, Ministry of Defence
Member of Board of Admiralty, Admiralty Board, Navy Board
Reports to Third Sea Lord
Nominator First Sea Lord
Appointer First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for Defence
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term length Not fixed (typically 5–8 years)
Inaugural holder Isaac Watts
Formation 1860-1966

The Director of Naval Construction (DNC) [1] was a senior principal civil officer responsible to the Board of Admiralty for the design and construction of the warships of the Royal Navy. From 1883 onwards he was also head of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, the naval architects who staffed his department from 1860 to 1966. The (D.N.C.'s) modern equivalent is Director Ships in the Defence Equipment and Support organisation of the Ministry of Defence.


The post holder was originally head of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors. Members of the Corps were responsible for the designing and building warships, whether they were built in the Royal Dockyards (such as Chatham) or contracted out to private industry (such as Armstrong Whitworth). The Director was a naval architect as well as a manager.

Work in the dockyards was covered to some extent by the two posts of Director of Naval Construction and the separately held Director of Dockyards. The latter's officers were responsible for checking that work contracted out by the former was being undertaken correctly.

In designing warships the Director of Naval Construction had to work with the Department of the Engineer-in-Chief, another Admiralty post, which existed from 1847 to 1889. The Engineer-in-Chief post arose after the adoption of steam engines for propulsion.

The French Navy had a similar post, Directeur des Construction Navales.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friedman, Norman (Mar 16, 2016). British Cruisers of the Victorian Era. Seaforth Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 9781848320994. 
  2. ^ Buxton, Ian; Johnston, Ian (May 8, 2013). The Battleship Builders Constructing and Arming British Capital Ships. Seaforth Publishing. p. 103. ISBN 9781473821309. 

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