On the banks of the Tyne at Elswick, a Western suburb of Newcastle, an immense space of ground is occupied by a Great iron, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, and ordnance manufacturing the establishment of Sir W. G. Armstrong Mitchell etc. These embrace three blast furnaces for the smelting of Haemanite and other superior descriptions of iron-ores, and large engineering shop, in which are manufactured hydraulic appliances used for a variety of purposes, but chiefly for raising and moving heavy weights, opening and shutting dock-gates, revolving swing bridges, unloading and training heavy ordnance, etc. here also is a foundry, and now in course the formation what will be the largest steelworks in the kingdom. Another branch of the business which has given the worldwide notoriety to Elswick is the manufacture of ordnance, from a small field gun to the monster as of 110 tons, and all that belongs to them shot and shell, cartridges, and a hydraulic arrangements for working them.
This company has two shipyards, one at Elswick and the other at Low Walker. The former has been constructed within the last four years, but has turned out a number of swift heavily armed cruisers, with rates of speeds up to 19 knots an hour; at present, besides vessels for other nations, three of being built for the British government. One of them is H.M.S Renown, and amour plated ship 340 ft. in and length, and 70 ft beam. This ship, when in sea-going trim, will have a displacement of nearly 11,000 tones, and we'll draw 27ft. 3inches. In this instance especial care had to be exercised in the stability of the building birth as the dead weight upon it before launch will be about 5000 tones. For this purpose piles were driven down from 45ft. to 55ft. to a solid base and securely braced together. Two berths for this description have been constructed, the number of piles driven being 2300, requiring 144,000 cubic feet of timber.
A director of the company, Mr Charles Mitchell, founded the Walker yard many years ago. In it many vessels have a special character have been built, two ships for ocean cable laying, the Hooper and the Faraday. The staunch gunboat was the first of her kind for coastal defense. Another notable warship built here was the Esmeralda the, pioneer of the new class of swift cruiser which carry heavy ordnance four and aft, with smaller side-guns.
Sir William Armstrong's company is also establishing, for the Italian Navy, extensive ordnance and shipbuilding works near Pozzuoli, in the bay of Naples.