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Sir John Brown


1901 - 2000

Shipbuilder and naval architect. Born in Glasgow, Brown was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School and the University of Glasgow, where he studied naval architecture. In 1919, in tandem with his university degree, he started an apprenticeship at the John Brown & Co. shipyard in Clydebank (although he was no relation to the John Brown after whom the yard was named). He joined the yard at the time when the famous HMS Hood was being laid down, the biggest warship in the world, which met a sudden end in battle with the Bismarck in 1941. However, Brown was soon asked to take responsibility for the design of the RMS Queen Mary, the biggest luxury liner the world had ever seen. He was also deeply involved in the construction of the other great Cunard liners, the RMS Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth II. Brown was also responsible for capital ships for the British navy in the years leading up to, and during, the Second World War and for the Royal Yacht Britannia, launched in 1953. He was appointed Managing Director of John Brown & Co. in 1959 and later became Deputy Chairman. After a long retirement, Brown was knighted at the age of 98 by the Princess Royal in a ceremony held in Glasgow City Chambers in 2000. He died at his home in Broomhill (Glasgow).


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