Jim Matthewson's Ships At Austin & Pickersgill,Sunderland February 1957 to June 1985

                     Jim Had The Rare Distinction of Having Three Presentations

Article Taken from Austin & Pickersgill Magazine


Jim Receives His Gold Watch From John Parker representing A&P Management



One from the Managemnet of Austin and Pickersgilll

A second from The Foremen

A Third from ther management of the Seaburn Hotel 

A&P Management

“One of  A&P’s 3 most senior Production Managers finally called it a day at the end of June. 

Jim Matthewson joined the company in 1957 after 13 years with Vickers Armstrong naval yard. From Foreman Shipwright he progressed to Berth Manager,Fitting Out Manager and Ship Construction Manager before being appointed Production Services Manager in December 1984. 

Always a popular figure in the company,Jim Matthewson had the rare distinction of enjoying 3 presentations to mark his retirement. From the Foreman’s Association he received an album of photographs covering  every ship built  since he joined the company, from the directors he received a gold watch -and a celebraory dinner at The Seaburn Hotel. A&P management showed their appreciation of Jim’s efforts over the years by presenting  a silver tray and a set of crystal glasses.  During the celebrations , Jim was also pleasantly suprised by the arrival of Messrs. Deter Kannenberg and Hans J. Wolf, Marine Superintendants for “Ecoflex” vessels 1431 and 1432”

Dr George Smith & Terry Carroll make the Presentation to Jim on behalf of the Management of Seaburn Hotel



                                                          Austin & Pickersgill - Foremens Association Presentation

Presentation to Mr.J.A.Matthewson Friday, 28th June 1985 

We have come here this morning to bid farewell and pay tribute to a man who has given exceptional service to A & P for the past 28 years.

Jim Matthewson started at A & P in Feb 1957 as Head Foreman Shipwright and was promoted to Building Berth Manager in Dec1965.  He then moved on to be Outfit Manager, Ship Construction Manager, finally Production services Manager, and in these past 28 years Jim Matthewson has been one of the lynchpins in A & P progress and success during this time.

Through his own expertise, knowledge and experience, he became one of the most successful  managers A & P have ever had, and equally widely known and respected throughout the merchant shipbuilding industry.

He leaves us today with a record I believe which is second to none, for during his 28 years at A & P he has been in his various capacities, responsible for the building, launching, outfitting and completion of not less than 146 ships - an average over that time of 5 ships per year .  Can anyone think of a better record?  I certainly can't, and I think it will never be equalled, let alone bettered.

                                                                                                                  Harry Hall -Welding Inspector

                                                                                                                   Presents  The Radio     

Other people have, over the years, been given a lot of credit and publicity for our past successes, but without Jim Matthcwson's  drive and determination and his ability to get the best out of managers, foremen and workforce they would have had very little success indeed.

In Jim's relationships and dealings with foremen and others, he has applied one  overriding principle - if a man played the game with him Jim played the game back, a simple philosophy but a one that has over the years paid rich for Jim, foremen and many others at A & P


Alan Hopps -Head Foreman Shipwright Presnts the Tankard

Jim has never been a man afraid to speak his mind and most of the older foremen who have worked for him have felt the weight of his tongue on more than one occasion, but it was always forgotten, and you were left to get on with your job.

One definition of a good manager is to be able to lead from the front; and this is precisely what Jim has done.  He must also be supportive of his foremen in bad times as well as good, and if along the way you can develop respect and friendship in the cut and thrust of an industry like shipbuilding, you have the qualities of a very exceptional manager and leader of men.  Few will disagree with me if I say Jim has shown all these attributes these past 28 years.

I would also say that underneath Jim's tough exterior is a very kind and understanding man and throughout all these years, Jim's door was always open to foremen, indeed to any man who had a problem.

A great number of foremen past and present and many other lads out there have much to thank Jim for.

Jim has certainly fixed it for a lot of people at A &P and has never went public about it.  To him it was part of his job, he just got on with it.

A lot more could be said about Jim and his years at A & P, and some foremen here today have known and worked for him much longer than I have.  I suppose Jim will be talked about for a long time to come and there will be many humorous stories told also  why not?  There have been more good times than bad since 1957 for Jim and a lot of others.

Finally Jim - we have come to the moment of parting.  I think you will be going from A & P in some happy anticipation for a 100% earned happy and healthy retirement for you and your good wife.

  I think will also you will  leave us with some regret, and above all with a fervant wish that the good times will return to A & P and hat we as foremen will all play our part in seeing A & P top of the shipbuilding league once again

May I thank all who have contributed and helped in organising this farewell and the little surprises that go with it.  As you can see there are not only foremen present, but a lot of other staff who have been associated with you over the years, a further testimony of your standing with so many people at A & P.

So, Jim on all our behalfs ,may I wish you and your good lady every blessing and all our best wishes for a long, happy and healthy retirement,

Thank you Jim, thank you everyone for listening.

I would now like to call upon   Alan Hopps to make one of the presentations

2nd presentation   Harry Hall

3rd presentation   Charlie Miller

Toast                    Brian Stamp

J. Young

                                                                                                  Humourous Story

During the winter the  workers on board ship would build braziers on deck to ward off the cold north east winds.  Naturally Jim felt this was counter productive and, being  a firey character, he would come on board and proceed to march down the ship  kicking over the fires as he went whilst  urging the men back to work.

On one  particularly cold night Jim came on the ship and took a mighty swing at the first brazier which didn't budge but  he did feel the pain shoot straight through his body
This brought hoots of laughter from the assembled workforce as they had welded the brazier to the deck.