This book contains a remarkable collection of photographs taken by photographers working for John Brown & Sons, one of the main British builders of warships at the start of the Twentieth Century. Between 1906 and 1920 John Brown built five battlecruisers, starting with the Inflexible of 1906, one of Britain's first battlecruisers and ending with HMS Hood, the last British battlecruisers and for many years the biggest ship in the Royal Navy.
The pictures were taken using large-plate cameras that produced very high quality photographs. This shows here, and the pictures are incredibly crisp and sharp. For the first four ships the pictures start with the hull almost complete, while with the Hood we start a little earlier in the construction process. Some of the most interesting pictures show the hulls complete apart from the armour belts, and with recesses in the side of the hull ready to take the armour. Each chapter ends with pictures of the ships at sea undergoing early trials. In-between we see the ships take shape and get views of every major and many minor external features of each ship (there are very few interior shots).
The comparative statistics demonstrate just how rapidly these battlecruisers grew in size during the fourteen years between 1906 and 1920. Hood at 860ft long, 105ft 2.5in wide and with a deep displacement of 46,680 was 300ft longer, 27ft wider and more than twice as heavy as the Inflexible. The pictures also demonstrate just how more complex the later ships were - Inflexible looks almost simple compared to Repulse or Hood, reflecting the experience gained during the First World War.
This is a superb book combining some useful text on the ships and their construction with an amazing collection of pictures.
Ship No 374 Inflexible
Ship No 402 Australia
Ship No 418 Tiger
Ship No 443 Repulse
Ship No 460 Hood
The 'G3' Battlecruisers
1 - Comparisons
2 - Repulse and Hood: Manpower levels during Construction
3 - Construction times
4 - Shipyard Monthly Reports
5 - Tiger: Armour and Other Weights
6 - Progressive Trials, HMS Repulse
7 - Report on the Behaviour of Repulse on Passage North
8 - Programme for Steaming Hood, March 1920
9 - Report on Hood's Gun Trials
10 - Instructions for Riveting
Author: Ian Johnston