Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.
To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.
Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was hoped for a long and successful working life.
The ABATROSS may have been the first ship built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb using the newly acquired Slipway as up to this point the previous ships had to be built in the Dry Dock at Leith. She was in fact the second ship built on one of the new acquired slipways from the old shipyard of Hawthorns & Co.
The Lightship ALBATROSS was an order from the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Dublin, and it is said that the cost of her build (Â£15,650)was paid for by the Germans as part of the war repatriation costs awarded at the end of World War one.
She was the first of such ships to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.
Her Shell was of iron construction as were her floors, she had steel framing; five watertight bulkheads; a steel mast and fixed lantern; along with a mizzen mast carrying day mark.
She was based as a lightship around the Irish Coast as a help to shipping for 45 years from her build in 1925 to de-commissioning in 1970, when she was sold to the Scout Commission and was used as a scout training centre Moored in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
ALBATROSS was owned by the Scouts for about 16 years but was not suitable in the end as a training centre. The costs to service it were climbing, she was moored as you see her and service to her was by launch. Fresh water, fuel, gas food etc. all had to be ferried out to her and the nearest slipway was Â½ mile from her. We were also dumping sewage into the harbour and the local council had spent a fortune on a new sewage works resulting in much cleaner water in the harbour, so we really had no alternative but to shut her down. We had tried to get a berth for her alongside but the whole project was going to cost serious money which the Scout Association simply did not have.(from Seamus McGloughlin)
ALBATROSS SEEN HERE IN DUBLIN (PHOTO BY SEAMUS MCGLOUGHLIN)
In 1999 Dorothy Cross discovered the decommissioned lightship in a Dublin dockyard. It was painted a luminous green for an arts festival for the project 'Ghost Ship' (International Nissan Art Project Award).
Later the hull was painted black and the lightship, along with some other small vessels, appeared as a set in the movie "Reign of Fire" in which fire breathing dragons attack London (parts of Dublin being used to represent "London").
In 2000 the lightship was bought by James Tyrell of Arklow.
The lantern was placed on the North Quay in Arklow whilst the ship was taken back to Dublin and berthed at the entrance to the Grand Canal Basin close to the East Link Bridge.
ALBATROSS has now been towed to a new berth on the River Medway, where she will be converted into a ship to take Bed & Breakfast visitors, so she will be able to continue as a useful working vessel, the oldest that has been found from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.
We await news if this conversion is indeed to happen, so if anyone out there sees her berthed in the Medway then please get in touch with the website so we can update her history.
It is interesting to note that she was a sister ship to one built a couple of years previous at the Crane & Somerville Shipyard in Leith, a yard that was soon to be taken over by Henry Robb Shipyard.
ALBATROSS has now been towed to a new berth on the River Medway, where she will be converted into a ship to take Bed & Breakfast visitors, so she will be able to continue as a usfull working vessel, the oldest that has been found from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.
ALBATROSS makes her way under the tugs to her new berth on the River Medway
(Photo taken by Simon Freeman on his phone)
We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.