Shipbuilding at Henry Robb's Yard, shown on the Leith Mural
|Headquarters||Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland|
Henry Robb, Limited, known colloquially as Robbs, was a Scottish shipbuilding company based at Leith Docks in Edinburgh. Robbs was notable for building small-to-medium sized vessels, particularly tugs and dredgers.
During World War II, Robbs built a large number of naval warships for the Royal Navy, including preparing the designs and building the prototype of the Basset-class anti-submarine / minesweeping trawler. Three Bird-class corvettes were built for the Royal New Zealand Navy. Ordered in 1939, two of these ships would famously sink the Japanese submarine I-1 in January 1943, while the third ship helped sink Japanese submarine I-17 seven months later.
In 1968 Robbs merged with the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company of Dundee, forming Robb Caledon Shipbuilding, and in 1969 the new company took over the Burntisland Shipbuilding Company in Fife. In 1977, under the provisions of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977, Robb Caledon was nationalised as part of British Shipbuilders. The Caledon yard in Dundee closed in 1981. Robb's yard in Leith survived two more years, closing in 1983.
The site of Robb's shipyard is now the Ocean Terminal shopping centre, where the Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed. An early 20th-century pitched roof paint shed that once belonged to the yard, built from rivetted iron plates, survives and was a Category B listed building before being relocated.
The yard features in the video to the song "Letter From America" (1987) by The Proclaimers, whose father worked in the yard. The overall sentiment of the song stresses the loss of Scotland's traditional industries and the mass emigration of Scots to North America due to circumstances such as the Highland Clearances.
Ships built by Robbs
- HMS Derg
- HMS Ness
- HMS Nith
- HMS Strule (ex- HMS Glenarm)
- HMS Windrush
- HMS Wye
- HMS Naver – cancelled and re-ordered as HMS Loch Achanalt.
- HMS Loch Achanalt – to Royal Canadian Navy on completion.
- HMS Loch Insh – to Royal Malaysian Navy in 1964 as Hang Tuah.
- HMS Loch Katrine – to Royal New Zealand Navy in 1949 as Rotoiti.
- three further ships of this class – Loch Kishorn, Loch Nell and Loch Odairn – were cancelled.
- HMS Cardigan Bay (ex- HMS Loch Laxford)
- HMS Carnarvon Bay (ex- HMS Loch Maddy)
- HMS Padstow Bay (ex- HMS Loch Coulside)
Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships
Bustler-class ocean rescue tugs
- HMRT Bustler
- HMRT Growler
- HMRT Hesperia
- HMRT Mediator
- HMRT Reward
- HMRT Samsonia
- HMRT Turmoil
- HMRT Warden
|267||South Steyne||Manly ferry||1 April 1938||Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company|
|375||MV Kaitawa||collier||1949||Union Steamship Company|
|376||MV Kaiapoi||cargo||1949||Union Steamship Company|
|377||MV Kamona||cargo||1949||Union Steamship Company|
|508||RRS Bransfield||ice-strengthened research vessel||4 September 1970||British Antarctic Survey|
|515||MV Pioneer||ferry||4 January 1974||Caledonian MacBrayne|
|516||S.A. Wolraad Woltemade||salvage tug||15 May 1975||South African Marine Corporation|
|521||MV Borthwick||LPG Tanker||1977||Geo. Gibson & Co.|
|522||Claymore||ferry||31 August 1978||Caledonian MacBrayne|
|530||THV Patricia||lighthouse tender||1982||Trinity House|
|534||MV St Catherine||ferry||1983||Sealink/Wightlink|
|535||MV St Helen||ferry||1983||Sealink/Wightlink|
- "Henry Robb". Grace's Guide: The Best of British Engineering 1750–1960s. 10 April 2014.
- "Hawthorn Shipbuilders". Edin Photo.
- Todd, Daniel (1985). The World Shipbuilding Industry. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 117. ISBN 0312892519.
- Waters, Sydney David (1956) The Royal New Zealand Navy, Page 307-309, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington.
- Waters, Sydney David (1956) The Royal New Zealand Navy, Page 327-328, Official History, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington.
- "Features – Notable Dates in History". Timeline of Scottish History. Scots Independent. Archived from the original on 23 May 2014.
- "Masts from the past". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 1 September 2007.
- "Steering its own course". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 12 June 2007.
- Historic Environment Scotland. "Leith Docks, Paint Shed at Shipbuilding Yard (Category B (removed)) (LB27071)". Retrieved 28 March 2019.
- "Geo. Gibson & Co". British Coastal Shipping Companies. Retrieved 3 July 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "Ship No 36 to Ship No 40". Leith Built Ships. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
- "Patricia". ShipPhotos.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
- The Ships of Henry Robb
- The Loftsman, history of the ships built at Leith
- Photos of the closed Robbs yard at edinphoto.org.uk
- Photos of Robb Caledon built ships at shipphotos.co.uk
- History of the Free French frigate La Découverte, ex-HMS Windrush
- Blog about the history of Robb's yard and workers by Henry Robb's great-granddaughter