Shipyard Spotlight

The Shipyard Spotlight was a paper produced during the second world war by the Admiralty. It reminded shipyard workers of the importance of their efforts and glorified ship production and success at sea, although it did report losses as well. It was circulated to all shipbuilding and ship-repairing firms that desired it and in 1942 about 10,000 copies were being printed and circulated each month.

The January 1943 edition included a picture article about Stebbings. This was soon after the business had been sold by the Stebbings family, to Lloyd Shakespeare. The picture and text (see above) feature Betty Warren, Shakespeare’s partner (they married after the war). The error about the yard’s location may have been introduced deliberately. The full text is as follows,

Miss Betty Warren, stage and screen actress, who is now appearing in “Waltz Without End” in London, is a boatbuilder in her spare time.

A native of Portsmouth, she has naturally been interested in the sea all her life. Since the war, she decided she wished to play another part, but not on the stage this time. With Mr. Lloyd Shakespeare, the dance band conductor, she acquired a Thames-side [sic] boatbuilding yard. Mr. Shakespeare also has a love of the sea, for he was a keen amateur yachtsman.

Now, almost every week-end, Miss Warren can be seen in dungarees, working in her yard with the other employees, men and women, who number nearly two score. She has learned quite a lot about boatbuilding and her firm is turning out ships’ lifeboats, whalers and dinghies for the Admiralty and the Ministry for War Transport.

In the photo, Betty Warren is stood in foreground. The scene is of the yard at Chapel Road.

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