Born and bred in Leith, I served my apprenticeship as a Ship Loftsman, in the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Forced to make my way in the world with the closure of the Henry Robb Shipyard at Leith in 1984, I then worked and lived around the world in many countries being exposed to a great many cultures from one side of the world to another, always retaining my love for ships and the sea. While never forgetting where I came from.
My shipbuilding experience includes working on more than 40 new build vessels, ranging from a 58 foot aluminium fishing boat to 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers.
Along with experience of salvage tug’s, survey vessels, oil support ships, heavy lift barges, firefighting tug’s, LNG carriers, ro-ro ferries, ships for the Ministry of Defence (Royal Navy), including oceanographic survey vessels and boom defence vessels, Canadian Coast Guard vessels, steel hulls with aluminium superstructures.
I have worked on various ship conversions and repairs/private and commercial work within shipyards/boatyards, including working on the Hound Point Oil Terminal in the River Forth.
I have also worked in other design fields both manual and CAD for over 20 years in industries as diverse as automotive, aircraft and experimental nuclear fusion reactors worldwide.
I have always retained my passion for shipbuilding and now run my own website on the history of the ships built at the Leith shipyards, along with the writing of a number of books on the subject, which is still in progress.
I have contributed articles to maritime magazines worldwide, along with presenting papers at the RINA institute in London.
Through my website I run a shipbuilding consultancy and lofting service.
While overseas I also opened up and managed a small shipbuilding shop to train people in the traditional art of lofting and worked on repairing and building small craft in wood and GRP.
I enjoy trying to pass on some of the knowledge that I have gained over the years as knowledge not passed on is lost forever.
I began my project on the ships built at Leith around 2007 first with a Blog then a website to collect and collate information to form the beginning of my book writing.
I started with this first book Volume I, around five years ago. I made the decision to concentrate on the shipyards from circa 1850 onwards that would eventually morph into the one where I spent my formative shipbuilding years. Going on to further volumes to bring the history of Leith shipbuilding up to the time when the yard closed in 1984.
I have written two novels in a series of three as yet unpublished with a shipyard background set in Leith. I continue, to be an active shipbuilder.