People, innovations, progress
The dynamic expansion of the Gdańsk Shipyard and the production of new ship structures could not have taken place without the ingenuity and determination of thousands of shipyard workers – constructors, designers, engineers, technicians and labourers alike. In just a few years, the shipyard went from the construction of simple wooden rafts for divers to the large-scale production of extremely complex, powerful ships, which were operated by hundreds of devices and where hundreds of people lived and worked.
The plant wanted to become competitive, which is why it sought to create constantly better ship structures. The Gdańsk Shipyard had its own design office which could boast many successful ship designs, including some that had no precedent in world shipbuilding. These included, for example, fully welded steel cutters, huge fishing bases the so-called herring bases (type B-62) and increasingly large and modern types of fishing bases.
Creative employee rivalry, i.e. leadership and competition in work, was promoted in the plant, although in the communist reality it was used mainly for propaganda purposes. The rationalisation movement, which brought new ideas and proposals for solutions to the shipyard and – as a result – savings, also developed. In the BHP Hall, later the place of birth of “Solidarity”, rationalisation exchanges were held, i.e. presentations of new ideas, solutions or devices. In developing their concepts and designs, many shipyard workers wanted to contribute to a faster, more efficient and cheaper shipbuilding process.
This passage about the history of the Gdańsk Shipyard comes from the book by Andrzej Trzeciak, entitled “Gdańsk Shipyard Solidarity. Industrial and Freedom Heritage of the Gdańsk Shipyard”, which is available for download below.