Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval

From 1909 until the Spanish Civil War, naval construction in Spain was monopolized by the Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval – (SECN) also Spanish Society for Naval Construction (SECN). In this time a majority of its shares were owned by the United Kingdom firm (John Brown and Vickers-Armstrong[1]), and therefore almost all ships built by the company were developed after Royal Navy designs.

Ten years after the Spanish–American War of 1898,[2][3][4] in which Spain lost Cuba[5] and the Philippines, the Antonio Maura Government, in an attempt to restore the Spanish Navy and Spanish shipbuilding industry, hired the Spanish Society for Naval Construction,[6] whose major investors were a British-Spanish-Association[7] taking contracts In the following proportions: 40% Vickers Sons and Maxim,[8] 30% the Marquis of Comillas of the Spanish Transatlantic Company, 30% the Biscay Furnace Company,[9] all the previously state owned shipbuilding yards, workshops, foundries and dry docks at Ferrol were handed over to the technical expertise of some of finest British shipbuilder companies: John Brown, Vickers[10][8] and Armstrong[11] now in charge of building the new Spanish Fleet[12].

For a period of sixteen years, all the technicians were exclusively British, and the situation was not altered till 1925 when the management was taken over by Spanish engineers, as one of the new policies introduced by the then newly created government, including ministers both civil and military, of the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera[13] (1923–1930). The arrival of the British coincided with the construction of a local electric-powered trolley streetcar's line (1924–1961).[14]

In sight of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and because there was fear of social unrest in the naval station, the Foreign Office in London,[15][16] organized a ship to repatriate all the remaining British citizens and on 22 July 1936 HMS Witch (D89)[17] departed from Ferrol back to Britain.

Many British technical advisors continued to work in the Spanish shipbuilding yards, workshops, foundries and dry docks (on both sides) during the war.[18]

Sites of SECN Shipyards and Iron-works in Spain between 1909 and 1936/45

See also

References

  1. "SPANISH NAVY: Huge Contract in British Hands" (1909) The Manchester Guardian, 1 February 1909, Page 12: Manchester "... Vickers, Armstrong and Brown... it has been determined to put down a new shipyard at Ferrol in Spain... Mr A J Campbell... has been appointed manager of the Ferrol yard... Mr Peter Muir ... has been appointed assistant manager. A considerable number of expert shipbuilders have sign on to go to Spain... there is a reason to believe that employment will be found to some hundreds of British shipbuilders, engineers, electricians, and other tradesmen in the new Spanish yard for several years to come."
  2. "Great Activity at Ferrol" New York Times, 11 June 1898, Page 1
  3. The launch of "Cardenal Cisneros" the first "Pre-dreadnought battleship" built in Ferrol, Spain (1897) "The Ferrol and the Galician-rias commercial-role with North, South and Central America":El Correo Gallego (Spanish Newspaper) 19 March 1897 by Jose R. de Trujillo, Spanish Royal Navy Commander (in Spanish)
  4. "Welsh Newspapers Online THE WAR.'|1898-04-30|Evening Express - Welsh Newspapers Online". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  5. Peydró, Vicente; Caballero y Martínez, Ricardo (1896). España en Cuba : episodio lírico-dramática en un acto, original y en verso. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Library. Ferrol : Impr. de R. Pita.
  6. Meakin, Annette M. B. (1909). Galicia, the Switzerland of Spain. Robarts - University of Toronto. london: London, Methuen. p. 22.
  7. Meakin, Annette M. B. (1909). Galicia, the Switzerland of Spain. Robarts - University of Toronto. London, Methuen. p. 315.
  8. "Vickers, Sons and Maxim". www.gracesguide.co.uk. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  9. Glas, Eduardo Jorge (1997). Bilbao's Modern Business Elite. University of Nevada Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-87417-269-0.
  10. "Welsh Newspapers Online I BRITAIN AND SPAIN'S NAVY.I|1908-05-25|Evening Express - Welsh Newspapers Online". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  11. "SPANISH NAVY: Huge Contract in British Hands" Manchester Guardian, 1 February 1909, Page 12
  12. "Welsh Newspapers Online SPAIN'S NEW NAVYII|1909-05-26|Evening Express - Welsh Newspapers Online". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  13. Times, the New York Times Company Special Cable To the New York (20 February 1928). "SPAIN TO START WORK ON 3 NAVY BASES SOON; Ferrol, Cartagena and Mahon Will Be Fortified With Guns of the Longest Range". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  14. Vistas y curiosidades sobre la historia de El Ferrol y España Amazing Charley Inc.
  15. "British Vice-Consulate at Ferrol" General Correspondence FO 63/1041, The National Archives
  16. "British Vice-Consulate at Ferrol" General Correspondence FO 72/1689, The National Archives
  17. "British Sending Troops" New York Times, 22 July 1936, Page 3
  18. "Warships of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)" kbismarck.com
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