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THE SHOW WILL GO ON! Mirvish Productions is committed to honouring its performance schedule. All performances proceed as scheduled despite weather conditions and traffic delays.

The Last Ship

If your livelihood is threatened, when the fabric that holds your community together is torn, what do you do? Find out what the people of Tyne and Wear, UK did when the shipyards there faced closure and their lives as they knew them were in jeopardy. Explore a history of these communities and their shipyards below before you set sail with THE LAST SHIP starring Sting.

First shipyard

First shipyard is established on the Tyne building Ships for Edward the 1st of England.

The Swan Hunter Yard

The Swan Hunter Yard’ established in Wallsend, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The Mauretania

"The Mauretania", a Transatlantic ocean liner is launched from Swan Hunter. The ship was 790 feet long with a beam of 88 ft and a gross tonnage of 31,938 tons. It carried 2000 passengers on its maiden voyage on 16 Nov 1907 and captured the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic, a record held for twenty-two years.

Ship by Smalllike from the Noun Project

Global Economic Downturn
1920 -1933

During global economic downturn 28 shipyards are closed in the North East.

the war effort

Many Shipyards are re-instated and nationalised to build ships for the war effort.

Projections by 59 Productions (c) Pamela Raith

Projections by 59 Productions (c) Pamela Raith

Edward Heath

The Conservative Government elected in under Edward Heath.

work in staged

The Heath government attempt to close the Upper Clyde Yard in Glasgow despite the Yard being economically viable. Led by Trade Union leader Jimmy Reid the workers occupy the yard and stage a work in. Over 18 months the workers complete several ships and in 1972 the government is forced to back down continuing the yard.

Miners strikes
1972 & 1974

Miners strikes: Two massive victories for miners as their actions nearly paralyse the country and garner huge wage increases – in 1974 directly bringing down Ted Heath's Tory government.

strike by David from the Noun Project

strike by David from the Noun Project

Britain joins European Economic Community

Britain joins European Economic Community.

hung parliament

Election ends in a 'hung parliament' with Harold Wilson as prime minister.

Ridley plan

Ridley plan - In the report MP Nicholas Ridley proposed how the next Conservative government could fight, and defeat, a major strike in a nationalised industry. Privatisation of heavy industry and the systematic weakening of the power of trade unions becomes a central objective of “Thatcherism”.

1978 - 1979

Strikes paralyse Britain during the so-called 'Winter of Discontent'. In response to government wage restraint, inflation and IMF austerity measures, a massive wave of industrial unrest spreads across Britain.

Full cast of The Last Ship (c) Pamela Raith

Full cast of The Last Ship (c) Pamela Raith

Margaret Thatcher
May 1979

Conservative Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female prime minister.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher by enrico chialastri from the Noun Project

March, June, September & November

March 1984 - 12-month 'Miners' Strike' over pit closures begins. National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) chief Arthur Scargill unites various strikes into nationwide industrial action, without a ballot.

June 1984 - The battle of Orgreave - 5,000 riot police took on 5,000 protestors. The BBC edit footage of this violent confrontation to make it appear that the miners instigated violence when in fact the police baton charged protestors.  

September 1984 - Thousands of miners and police clash once more at Malty Colliery near Rotherham. Protestors have been out of work for six months and the lack of income was starting to take its toll.

November 1984 - A growing number of miners decide to return to work as Christmas looms. Violence on the picket lines becomes more widespread.

Strike Ends
March 3, 1985

Delegates at an NUM conference decide 98 to 91 to end the strike.

December 8

Major national industries are privatised. Tens of thousands of jobs are lost in steel, coal, shipbuilding and heavy manufacturing.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
June 11, 1987

Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wins a third term.

The Neptune yard

The Neptune yard The Last Yard of the Swan Hunter Company, the last large shipyard in Newcastle is closed.

The Last Ship

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign provided the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, with a lengthy legal argument, calling on her to set up an independent public inquiry into the policing of events at Orgreave on June 18th, 1984.


Theresa May’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd announces that there will be no Orgreave inquiry.