Ayre, Sir Amos Lowrey

Ayre, Sir Amos Lowrey
SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
b. 23 July 1885 South Shields, England
d. 13 January 1952 London, England
English shipbuilder and pioneer of the inter-war "economy" freighters; Chairman of the Shipbuilding Conference.
Amos Ayre grew up on the Tyne with the stimulus of shipbuilding and seafaring around him. After an apprenticeship as a ship draughtsman and distinction in his studies, he held responsible posts in the shipyards of Belfast and later Dublin. His first dramatic move came in 1909 when he accepted the post of Manager of the new Employment Exchange at Govan, then just outside Glasgow. During the First World War he was in charge of fleet coaling operations on the River Forth, and later was promoted Admiralty District Director for shipyard labour in Scotland.
Before the conclusion of hostilities, with his brother Wilfrid (later Sir Wilfrid Ayre) he founded the Burntisland Shipbuilding Company in Fife. Setting up on a green field site allowed the brothers to show innovation in design, production and marketing. Such was their success that the new yard was busy throughout the Depression, building standard ships which incorporated low operating costs with simplicity of construction.
Through public service culminating in the 1929 Safety of Life at Sea Conference, Amos Ayre became recognized not only as an eminent naval architect, but also as a skilled negotiator. In 1936 he was invited to become Chairman of the Shipbuilding Conference and thereby virtual leader of the industry. As war approached he planned with meticulous care the rearrangement of national shipbuilding capacity, enabling Britain to produce standard hulls ranging from the legendary TID tugs to the standard freighters built in Sunderland or Port Glasgow. In 1939 he became Director of Merchant Shipbuilding, a position he held until 1944, when with typical foresight he asked to be released to plan for shipbuilding's return to normality.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1937. KBE 1943. Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau.
1919, "The theory and design of British shipbuilding", The Syren and Shipping, London.
Further Reading
Wilfrid Ayre, 1968, A Shipbuilders Yesterdays, Fife (published privately). James Reid, 1964, James Lithgow, Master of Work, London.
Maurice E.Denny, 1955, "The man and his work" (First Amos Ayre Lecture), Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects vol. 97.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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