The Prime Minister and the Shipping Controller have consented to the
release from the end of the present month of the Right Hon. Lord Pirrie,
K.P., from his office as Controller-General of Merchant Shipbuilding,
to which he was appointed by the Prime Minister in March, 1918.
The Department of the Controller-General has now been completely
demobilized, and the permanent elements of the work carried out by Lord
Pirrie's Department have been handed back to the appropriate permanent
Govermment Departments. A small number of technical officers and clerks
engaged on the economical liquidation of contracts made during the war
have been merged with the staff of the Ministry of Shipping.
The position of Controller-General of Merchant Shipbuilding was
created for Lord Pirrie at a time when merchant shipbuilding in the
United Kingdom was in a very unsatisfactory state and a stimulus to
increased production was urgently needed. He went to the Admiralty
without any staff, and, as a war measure, a large number of standard
cargo steamers were built in British yards under his authority and with
his active management. The standard ships, for which the original
programme had been laid down by the Shipping Controller, were built for
account of the State and have since been sold to the shipping industry.
Lord Pirrie on his appointment gave close attention to the speedy
repairing of torpedoed ships and improved the organization.