Francis Thomas Maynard
By the late 1890’s Francis Thomas Maynard was running the business his father had established in 1869 and which he and his brothers had continued, following their father’s untimely death in 1886.
The author William Murray Graydon provides a vivid, contemporary account of the sights and sounds of the Chiswick waterfront:
“A little later he had threaded the quaint passage behind Chiswick Church left the sonorous hammering of Thorneycroft’s (sic) behind him, and was stepping briskly along Burlington Lane, with the high wall of the Devonshire House on his right, and on his left, far over hedges and orchards, the riverside house of Barnes. He was almost sorry when he reached Maynard’s boat-house, where he kept a couple of light and serviceable craft; but the dimpled bosom of the Thames, sparkling in the sunlight, woke a fresh enthusiasm in his heart...” (“In Friendship’s Guise”, 1899)
The International Six Metre Class Yachts
Maynard’s experience building all types of powered and unpowered craft, his reputation for first class workmanship and enviable client base presented him with a real opportunity to grow the business.
Maynard’s yard continued to build yachts in the early years of the twentieth century, although the focus increasingly moved towards powered craft (see below). One yacht of interest, ‘Diamond’ (1905), was designed by, and built for, Warrington Baden-Powell, eldest brother of Robert, author of ‘Sea Scouting and Seamanship for Boys’ (1910) and founder of the Sea Scouts in 1912. He was an early member of the Royal Canoe Club and developed the canoe as a specialised sailing vessel.
In 1907, The International Rule was introduced as a standardised system of classes in response to the introduction of numerous handicap systems which had developed through the nineteenth century and “were often local, or at best national, and often also fairly simple, producing extreme boats which were fast but lightly constructed and impractical”; of these, the Six Metre Class, was the most important international yacht racing class. Maynard had considerable experience building yachts similar in size and design and consequently, from 1908 leading yacht designers of the day approached Maynard to build their designs.
In 1908 he built the Alfred Mylne designed ‘Sibindi’ (1908) for J. W. Leuchars. In April of that year she was entered in the first race for the newly formed class at Burnham-on-Crouch, under the auspices of the Eastern of England Yacht Club. Later that year, ‘Sibindi’ competed in the International Six Metre Class at the 1908 Olympic Games at Ryde, taking fourth place.
Maynard built the G. Umfreville Laws designed ‘Gypaetos’ in 1910. Her first competitive race was the Eastern of England’s Yacht Club race at Burnham-on-Crouch in April of that year, competing against ‘Sibindi’ amongst others. In June 1910 ‘Gypaetos’ was entered in the International Six Metre Class at the Kiel Regatta, finishing first out of twelve entrants. Other Umfreville Laws Six Metre designs built by Maynard include: ‘Whim’ (1910), ‘Sioma’ (1911), ‘Bunty’ (1912) and ‘Lestris’ (1912).
In 1914, in the shadow of war, Maynard built the Linton Hope designed ‘Edelweiss II’, ex ‘Edelweiss’, commissioned by the ‘Edelweiss Syndicate’ and registered with the Port of Antwerp. She competed in the International Six Metre Class at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games, winning Gold for Belgium. 'Edelweiss II' continued competitive racing into the late 1920's. Another Linton Hope design, built by Maynard in 1920 (the only Six Metre yacht built that year), ‘Tan-fe-pah’, also participated in the 1920 Olympic Games, taking second place in the Six Metre Class based on the 1919 International Rule. Maynard also built the Linton Hope designed Six Metre yacht, ‘Scotia IV’ (1913).
Early Motor Boats
Maynard was fortunate that his premises were located in such close proximity to Thornycroft’s Church Wharf site and he was alert to the opportunities presented by the developments in marine engineering and motor boat design which Thornycroft were pioneering alongside a handful of others including Yarrow and Saunders.
In 1903 Maynard was subcontracted by Thornycroft to build the 30 ft. hull of ‘Scolopendra’, Thornycroft’s entrant in that year’s inaugural Harmsworth Trophy. Although she was underpowered relative to Yarrow’s ‘Napier I’ the hull was considered easily the most efficient. The ‘Scolopendra’ project was most likely the first collaboration between Maynard and Higley Halliday, who at this time was working at Thornycroft’s.
Maynard quickly became an established figure in the relatively small circle of motor boat designers and marine motor engineers. By 1905, he had established the 'Launch Motor Company' and exhibited a "well built" river launch at Olympia that year. At this time he was working closely with the naval architect James A. Smith, Official Measurer of the Marine Motoring Association in 1905 and, subsequently, Secretary of the Marine Motoring Association from 1907. Maynard built a number of Smith’s designs for fast motor launches of between 21 ft. and 26 ft. and between 2 and 3 tons between 1905 and 1910. These included ‘Takumono’ (1905), Bobolink (1905), Fleurette (1906) and Bath-sheba (1910).
The majority of these, in addition to others built by Maynard such as ‘Bulldog’ (1906) and the Maynard designed, ‘Opal’ (1906), were regular entrants in the early motor boat reliability trials organised by the Marine Motoring Association and club meetings and races of the Motor Yacht Club and British Motor Boat Club.
Despite Thornycroft relocating their works to Woolston from 1905, Maynard continued to work closely with Tom Thornycroft. In 1908 Maynard built the hull of ‘Gyrinus II’ designed by Tom Thornycroft and owned by Bernard Redwood and John Field-Richards. She was one of three entrants in the motor boat races of the 1908 Olympic Games winning two Gold medals. At the April 1909 Monaco Regatta she won first place at the Monaco Motor Boat Meeting.
Rapid innovation in motor boat design and marine engineering had, by 1908, resulted in the development of the first racing hydroplanes, characterised by a stepped, planing hull. In another interesting parallel, Higley Halliday had spent several years between 1907 and 1909 developing this technology in Merseyside.
In 1910 Thornycroft approached Maynard to build the hull for one of the earliest racing hydroplanes, ‘Miranda IV’ (based on the Lloyd's Registers; the author acknowledges the widespread accreditation to Hart Harden) and several years later, another of their hydroplane designs, ‘Onward II’ (1913). Maynard, together with J. Samuel White & Co., Cowes, also built ‘Batboat III’ (1914) designed by and built for John Montague Batting as a contender for the 1914 British International Trophy, which was cancelled on the eve of the First World War.
Higley Halliday M.I.N.A.
In 1911 Maynard entered into partnership with the Chiswick based naval architect and marine motor engineer, Higley Halliday. Maynard had known Halliday since the early 1900’s when Halliday was employed at Thornycroft’s premises at Church Wharf. Both were involved in designing and developing early motor boats (from circa 1902) and competed against each other in the Reliability Trials of 1906 (Maynard with ‘Opal’, Halliday with ‘Albatross’ and ‘Iris II’) in Southampton Water. Both men had worked closely with Tom Thornycroft and were involved in the development and construction of early racing hydroplanes (from circa 1908) Maynard and Halliday knew each other socially too; both were Freemason’s initiated into the Royal Alfred Lodge, No. 780 (in 1906 and 1904 respectively).
Halliday had returned to London in 1909 and worked increasingly closely with Maynard, living a short walk from the boat-house at 22 Strand-on-the-Green in 1911. From 1911 Maynard built a number of Halliday’s designs including the 36 ft. motor yacht ‘Amice’ (1912) and the motor launch ‘Falcon’ (1912) amongst others. Interestingly, Maynard was the registered owner of the motor launch 'Falcon' in the early 1920's. Maynard continued to build yachts for other designers during this period including the Linton Hope designed, auxiliary yachts ‘Black Arrow’, ex ‘Noah’ (1912) lost at Dunkirk in 1940 and ‘Mollihawk IV’ (1914).
First World War
In early 1915, Thornycroft had shown the Admiralty designs for a type of small boat that would skim the water at high speed, while possessing sea going qualities and carrying a torpedo. These were based on the designs of pre-war hydroplanes. Independently, three naval officers, Lieutenant’s Hampden, Bremner and Anson of the Harwich Force, had persuaded the Admiralty that such craft should be developed.
Thornycroft were instructed by the Admiralty to start trials and the development of what was to become the Coastal Motor Boat (C.M.B.), which continued through the second half of 1915 (it seems likely that Higley Halliday was also approached to assist in the development of the Coastal Motor Boat). Detailed designs were prepared and submitted to the Admiralty in January 1916, which were approved. An initial order for twelve vessels was placed by the Admiralty, with the first three boats being completed in April 1916. Subsequently this order was increased and a twin screw, 55 ft. variant, armed with twin torpedoes was ready for service in April 1917. In total, the Admiralty was to order over one-hundred C.M.B.’s which was more than the Thornycroft yard at Platt’s Eyot could deal with.
“Other British boat builders had to be drafted in to help and soon the list of yard’s working on C.M.B.’s read like a Who’s Who of the classic age of British boatbuilding: Hampton Launch Works, Salter Brothers, Tom Bunn & Co., Frank Maynard, J.W. Brook & Co., Wills and Packham, Camper and Nicholsons and many others. Most are long gone now, but in 1917 they were the finest yards in Britain.” ('Operation Kronstadt', Harry Ferguson)
In 1918, Maynard built three 40 ft. designs: C.M.B.’s ‘46’, ‘53’ and ‘54’, fitted with FIAT petrol engines. Their service record is not known but all three survived the war. C.M.B. ‘53’ was discarded in 1920 and C.M.B.’s ‘46’ and ‘54’ were discarded in 1921, either being sunk as targets or sold into private ownership.
The same year, Maynard also constructed six of the larger, 55 ft. variants: C.M.B.’s ‘32A’, ‘38B’, ‘66BD’, ‘71A’, ‘85C’ and ‘88BD’ which were fitted with either Thornycroft V12 250 b. h. p., Green 12 or Sunbeam petrol engines. C.M.B. ‘71A’ was lost on 15 October 1918, having departed Dunkirk on the night of 14 October for a patrol off the Belgian coast. At 21.45 hrs she was involved in a collision with C.M.B. ‘37’, which returned to Dunkirk. C.M.B. ‘71A’ continued the patrol but failed to return next morning. A search failed to find her and she was assumed to have foundered with all those aboard. The other Maynard built C.M.B.’s survived the war and were gradually discarded: ‘66BD’ and ‘88BD’ (1921), ‘32A’ (1924), ‘38B’ (1928) and ‘85C’ (1932).
Coastal Motor Boats saw limited service during operations at Dunkirk, Zeebrugge and Ostend, their capability not being fully demonstrated until August 1919 when Gus Agar R.N. used them to devastating effect against the Bolshevik fleet at Kronstadt.
Post War Years
From 1919 Maynard’s yard resumed normal business (in so far as possible given the structural changes in the industry which had occurred during the war years), building several vessels to the designs of J. A. Smith (such as the 25 ft. motor launches 'Caress', 1919 and ‘Saunterer’, 1922) and J. I. Thornycroft (‘Eileen’, 1919, for T. Desnos of the B.M.B.C.).
Clearly then the arrangement with Halliday was not exclusive to either party (for instance Halliday’s 1921 design for the motor yacht ‘Seawolf’, was built by Bowers & Phelps, Putney) but many of the vessels built by his yard between 1920 and 1926 were designed by Higley Halliday.
Maynard constructed the majority of Halliday’s motor yacht designs, including ‘Splash III’ (1920), ‘Hope’ (1921), ‘Rosemary’ (1921), ‘Beowulf’ (1922), ‘Venture’ (1926) and ‘Seran’ (1926) and also a good number of motor launches. In 1921 Maynard developed his own standardised design for a 35 ft. cabin cruiser “for general cruising and utility work”, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Halliday’s motor yachts. In November 1921 Maynard exhibited at the White City Motor Exhibition.
In addition to recreational motor launches and yachts, Maynard also built a range of commercial craft, although the output is hard to quantify given the absence of yard lists. It’s clear that Maynard built a number of Halliday’s designs for commercial vessels, including an electric launch (1924) and a hydraulic propelled motor tug (1925). The yard also built a number of passenger launches during this period, including Halliday’s designs for 50 ft. (1923) and 40 ft. (1925) versions. We know from a brief article in The Times in 1923 that Maynard built the motor launch for The Transport and General Workers’ Union and in addition it’s likely that he continued to build a broad range of utility launches for commercial use and small fishing vessels throughout the 1920’s.
By the mid 1920’s Maynard was an established and respected figure in the industry. For instance, in October 1922 Maynard was a delegate to the Brussels Conference, which resulted in the formation of the New International Motor Yachting Union. In September 1923 Maynard attended ‘The Future of the Motor Boat’ discussion at the Olympia Exhibition together with senior members of the Marine Motoring Association, British Motor Boat Club and Royal Motor Yacht Club hosted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. By 1926, Maynard was vice-president of the Ship and Boat builders’ Association, Ltd. an organisation which could count amongst its membership some of the most respected names in the industry: Mr. W. B. Bates (James Taylor and Bates Ltd.), Mr. J. H. Salter, R. Messum (E. Messum and Sons, Ltd.), A. Mylne (Bute Ship Dock Co. Ltd.), T. Bunn (Tom Bunn and Co. Ltd. and R. J. Turk (J. S. Turk and Sons) amongst others.
Duke of York's International Trophy
Attempts to re-invigorate interest in international motor boat racing and development in the post war period were hindered by the substantial cost of entering boats for the Harmsworth British International Trophy. A reaction to this was the development of small, planing powerboats, fitted with 1.5 litre engines. The first, ‘Mr. Poo’, built by Mr. Jack Brooke in 1922, was a 15 ft. hydroplane fitted with a 1.5 litre, 30 h. p. engine, affording a maximum speed of 28.25 knots. In 1923, the International Motor Yachting Union recognised the 1.5 litre ‘‘Mosquito Class’ powerboat and, the following year, 1924, Count Johnston-Noad won the inaugural Duke of York’s International Trophy with ‘Miss Betty’. In 1925, the eliminating trials for the British fleet and Trophy races were held on the Thames at Chiswick, the course starting outside Maynard’s boat-house:
“From Putney to Kew on Saturday the Thames was a centre of rare interest to numbers of people gathered at various points on its banks, fascinated by the speed of the motor-boats which, with considerably more than half their keels out of the water, caused a backwash that churned the river into foam and dashed the water on to the banks in miniature seas... The course extended from Maynard’s boat-house at Kew to Putney and equalled 7 – 9 sea miles. Many people gathered at the start, both on the lawn of Cromwell House, on the river bank, and on craft moored in the river.”
In part owing to the success and popularity of the races, one of the joint organisers, the British Motor Boat Club took a lease on Cubitt’s Dock, Hartington Road, Chiswick, just down river from Maynard’s yard in November 1925. It was reported in the press at the time that the club had “come to live at Chiswick” and “would now have club rooms at the dock at Chiswick, so that it would be working here in full force.”
In 1926, The Duke of York’s International Trophy was again held on the Thames at Chiswick. In January, Maynard was appointed a delegate to the Marine Motoring Association -“the governing body of all motor boat sport” - ahead of the Trophy Races. In advance of the races, the secretary of the Marine Motoring Association Mr. John Avila A.M.I.E.E. was invited to the fortnightly Chiswick Rotary Club luncheon, speaking “a good deal about the contest and of motor boat racing in general.” Outlining the development of the 1.5 litre hydroplanes that would be contending the Trophy, Mr. Avila explained their design and construction and commented that:
“At Chiswick, Rotarian Maynard has built some very fine and fast boats.”
Thanking Mr. Avila, ‘Rotarian’ Maynard said:
"He could promise them that the boats would be better than ever this year. Last year only one of them had a super-charge: this year all would have them. He believed America was sending over some very hot stuff.”
The eliminating trials for the British Fleet commenced on 11 June with eight entrants competing over a thirty-two mile course of six laps. One of the new entrants that year, ‘2LO’ (subsequently renamed 'Hornet') was built by Maynard for Mr. Fred May and "had run throughout with absolute reliability and consistency", finishing second despite a fouled propeller.
The Late 1920's and 1930's
The partnership with Higley Halliday had dissolved by 1926 and throughout the late 1920’s and 1930’s the volume of boats built at Maynard’s yard steadily declined, during which period Maynard started pro-actively advertising his services in trade magazines including The Motor Boat. In January 1927, The Motor Boat reported that:
“A visit to the boat building yard of Mr. Frank Maynard, at Chiswick, left us with the impression that he was by no means contented with the number of orders received during the past few months, the only boats under construction for owners at the time of our call being two 25 ft. cruisers...Mr. Maynard is also building a fast 26 ft. river launch for stock, as he is convinced that there should be a certain demand for this type of boat... About a dozen boats of various types were laid up, and two small fishing craft were being installed with auxiliary engines”
Only a small number of new vessels were recorded in the Lloyd’s Registers over this period including the Maynard designed, 38 ft. motor yacht ‘Wanderer’ (1926), a 26.4 ft. auxiliary yacht, ‘Avon’ (1930) and the 35 ft. motor yacht, ‘Noah’ (1931) designed by E. L. Comfort. Maynard continued to build commercial vessels, including the 55 ft. passenger launch 'Britannic II' (1930) also designed by E. L. Comfort. In addition, he also undertook alterations to existing vessels including the motor yacht ‘Manana’, originally built by Thornycroft in 1917 (1930) and ‘Seran’ (1934) and conversions, such as the 28 ft. converted lifeboat 'Lady Irene' (1928).
Maynard retired in 1938 at the age of sixty-two. His son Francis (b. 1903) was working as a ‘planter’ by the late 1930’s which took him and his young family to Singapore and Malaysia. Maynard’s daughter, Violet (b. 1898) married and moved to Chippenham, Wiltshire, where her father spent his later years. Frank Maynard died in 1952.