Heritage, history and growth: a lifetime of naval architecture design

Heritage, history and growth: a lifetime of naval architecture design

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    Hythe Engineering is the leading turnkey provider of design, engineering and repair services to the marine, civil engineering and waste management sectors.

    This family-run business is known predominantly for its delivery of quality engineering and fabrication work, combined with its ability to seemingly drop everything to complete what others might refer to as “mission impossible” projects.

    What many people don’t realise however is that there is a hidden gem within this modest business. In-house Hythe retains an experienced team of shipbuilding engineers and designers, with full SC clearance, and a vast background in commercial and MOD projects. Design talent that dates right back to the 1960’s.

    The roots of Hythe Engineering’s relationship with design, many people may know better, under the company names Mathon Engineering, and then later as Avrotech Design. Two companies with a rich historic connection to naval architecture were absorbed by Hythe a number of years ago.


    Who were Mathon Engineering and Avrotech Design?

    Mathon Engineering, was set up in May 1961 and specialised in the supply of contract designers to the government, who then set them to work on varied projects; such as the construction of Type-45 battle ships, right through to submarines and super yachts. Mathon Engineering worked closely with the MOD, as well as warship design and construction company, Vosper Thornycroft (UK) Ltd.

    Mike Cook-Yarborough, who worked for Mathon Engineering and Avrotech Design in the 60s and 70s commented, “The most impressive projects we worked on must have been the support work that we completed for the Royal Navy and BAE Systems. This included working on naval ships such as HMS Bulwark, Tyne, Severn and Mersey and some others that we can’t talk about!”

    Mathon Engineering Netherland BV opened in 1970 supporting all the major shipyards in Holland, before later being renamed as Avrotech Design.

    “Whilst working in Holland I completed many concept designs for tankers as well as a high-speed passenger catamaran car ferry, the first of its kind. The reputation that came with Mathon Engineering and Avrotech designers and engineers was outstanding, their skill at that time, was unrivalled,” Mike commented.

    Since being absorbed by Hythe a number of years ago the team have been busy working on a range of extensive design projects, from naval submarines to carrier ships and bespoke super yachts.


    Building the future of naval design talent

    Hythe Engineering has been working on submarine designs for many years in Barrow, under the request of BAE. The team are a leader in the field, through their innovative use of a lifetime of naval design pedigree and industry knowledge, partnered with the introduction of new modern technologies and applications.

    When asked about the future of naval architecture and design Josh Mathias, CEO at Hythe Engineering commented, “Our reputation for providing bespoke solutions to unique projects, by combining both modern and traditional craftsmanship, has been the best source of new projects for our team. We have secured a number of contracts around the globe through our ability to combine the skills of the past, with the talent of the future. Many people don’t realise that the roots of our business came from naval architecture and design. Simply put, it’s in our blood.

    It is however imperative that our team retain and develop the skills brought on-board from Mathon and Avrotech to take us forward into the future. This is why apprentices make up 10% of our workforce. We are making great strides toward shaping the talented designers and engineers of the future, something myself and the team are incredibly proud of.”


    Firm Foundations

    Hythe Engineering have a strong presence in Southampton, Portsmouth’s naval base, Trafalgar Wharf in Porchester as well as Plymouth, Rosyth and Barrow-in-Furness. The team are deployable 24/7 around the world and is continuously working to create a one-stop-shop of dependable, innovative in-house capabilities, from one-off bespoke projects through to full refit projects and management packages.

    Speak with any member of this close-knit team and you will quickly realise that their emphasis on continually inspiring their workforce and instilling rigorous quality standards, is an ethos adopted by everyone.

    A lifetime of pedigree, mixed with Josh’s vision for technological advancement and personnel development, seems to be a winning formula for the crew at Hythe Engineering and personally we can’t wait to see what the next fifty years bring.


    Looking to find out a bit more?