Samuda Brothers initially leased a premises on the Goodluck Hope peninsula, Leamouth, London in 1843, by the mouth of Bow Creek. However disaster struck with one of their first ships, the Gipsy Queen which exploded on its test trip in November 1844. Jacob was killed with nine of the firm's employees. There was a further explosion at their shipyard in 1845 and another three workers were killed.
The firm moved to Cubitt Town in 1852, having outgrown a site that was hemmed in by other industrial premises. By this time the company was run by Joseph, Jacob having been killed in the trial of the Gipsy Queen. The Cubitt Town yard specialised in iron and steel warships and steam packets and by 1863 was said to be producing double the output of the other London shipyards combined. Orders from Germany, Russia and Japan enabled the firm to survive the 1866 financial crisis which affected many other London yards.
In 1877 Togo Heihachiro, later a prominent Japanese admiral, came for work experience with the Samuda Brothers after completing his training at Naval Preparatory School in Portsmouth, and the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. He supervised the construction of the Fusō before returning to Japan. He led the Imperial Japanese navy to victory in the Russo-Japanese War, establishing Japan as a Great Power.
Following the death of Joseph in 1885 attempts were made to sell the firm as a going concern. This was unsuccessful, resulting in closure in the 1890s, leaving Yarrows and Thames Ironworks as the last significant London shipbuilders.
Ships built by the Samuda Brothers
- SS Carnatic, P&O, 1862
- HMS Tamar, Royal Navy, 1863
- BAP Independencia , Peruvian Navy, 1864
- "Mahroussa", Khedive of Egypt, 1865
- Bordein, Khedive of Egypt, Nile steamer c 1865
- SMS Kronprinz, Prussian Navy, 1867 
- Muin-i Zafer, Ottoman Navy, 1869
- SMS Deutschland, German Navy 1875
- Fusō , Imperial Japanese Navy, 1877
- HMS Belleisle, Royal Navy 1876 (originally to be Peyk-i Şeref for Ottoman Empire)
- HMS Orion, Royal Navy 1879 (originally to be Büruç-u Zafer for Turkish Navy)
- ARA Almirante Brown, Argentine Navy, 1880
- Riachuelo, Brazilian Navy, 1883
- HMS Sappho, Royal Navy, 1891
- PS Myleta (1891) Paddle, two cylinder single oscillating. Owner: South Eastern Railway, scrapped (1909)
- "Shipbuilding on the Isle of Dogs : The Story of the Samuda Brothers". Isle of Dogs Life. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "The explosion at the Samuda Works, Blackwall. - Historical events - Port Cities". www.portcities.org.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- 'Leamouth Road and Orchard Place: Individual wharves and sites', Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 655-685. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=46545. Date accessed: 7 November 2007.
- 'Cubitt Town: Riverside area: from Cubitt Town Pier to the Graving Docks', Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 532-539. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=46530. Date accessed: 7 November 2007.
- The Melik Society Bordein Archived 11 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Illustrated London News 18 May 1867
- A War Ship Foundered, New York Times 14 July 1892
- Clive Trebilcock,Phoenix Assurance and the Development of British Insurance, Vol II, The Era of the Insurance Giants 1870-1984, P19,Cambridge University Press