Third Prize:The Cost of Admiralty: The development and condition of Britain’s modern naval shipbuilding programme, 1832-2015

M. P. Findlay


This paper discusses the evolution of British naval shipbuilding policy from the establishment of several reforms in the nineteenth century to the current construction of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers today. The nineteenth century proved to be the period that established the Royal Navy as a modern, professional fighting force through reforms to its administration and professionalization of both the officer corps and naval architects. The nationalization of Britain’s shipbuilding capability ensured that this vital asset remained ready for the nation’s beck and call. The current system of privatization and myopic defence and expenditure planning has sidelined the Admiralty’s role as the vanguard of Britain’s defence to a mere tool in the government’s toolbox of foreign policy instruments. These current trends have all been revealed through the current construction of the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers.

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