§ 27. Mr. P. A. HARRIS
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will ascertain if sea-going barges of reinforced concrete, schooner rigged, were in regular use for commercial purposes in Italy ten years ago; whether he is aware that a 150-ton barge, the "Liguria," was launched as far back as 1905 and has now been in regular commercial use for twelve years, and that the Italian Government concrete sea-going barges of 100 tons have now been in regular employment for a number of years; and whether, having regard to the apparent lack of information as to concrete ships constructed in Italy, he will cause particulars to be collected of concrete ships, barges, and pontoons employed in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, and the Italian rivers and ports, with a view of obtaining information as to the experience in this Allied country and making the same known to naval architects, reinforced concrete contractors, and shipbuilders in England?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Yes, Sir. It is the fact that sea-going concrete barges of 150 tons capacity were constructed in Italy some ten years ago. I have no information, however, regarding the development of the construction of reinforced concrete craft in Italy, and so far as I am aware only a very small number is in use. We 1218 are, of course, glad of information at all times and from all sources. In recent years this industry has been widely developed in Scandinavia, and full reports as to the methods of construction, etc., adopted in that country have been obtained.
§ 28. Mr. HARRIS
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if the large reinforced concrete ships recently launched or on the stocks on the Pacific coast of America have been inspected by any British engineers or shipbuilders; whether any independent reports on their design and construction have been obtained; and if such reports could be circulated for the benefit of the British industries interested so that the lessons learned might be applied in our shipyards without an undue time having to elapse in the experimental construction of smaller tonnage?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The large concrete ships recently launched in America have been inspected by a British engineer, and his report is in the possession of the Department concerned, which also possesses independent reports on these ships, while further reports are now awaited. When the information obtained—which would of course include a sea-going test—is comprehensive enough for the purpose, a report can be drawn up for the benefit of the British industries interested.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Is the right hon. Gentle man aware that photographs of these ships were shown in the House of Commons?