Creating Bespoke Industrial-Style Decor for Idris Elba’s New Wine Bar

As bespoke design engineers, Hythe Marine Services’ (HMS) never shy away from the less ordinary. And a recent star-studded industrial-style decor project for a brand new London wine bar definitely falls under this category. CREATING BESPOKE INDUSTRIAL-STYLE DECOR FOR IDRIS ELBA’S NEW WINE BAR

Actor, DJ and producer Idris Elba has embarked on an exciting venture to open a wine bar, Porte Noire, in London’s King’s Cross. He’s taking on the challenge alongside his business partner, David Farber, founder of Connaught Wine Cellars.

Read on to find out about how HMS, part of the Hythe Group of Companies, first got involved with Porte Noire, and all the work that went on to complete the project.


The Porte Noire Industrial-style decor Project

The Porte Noire bar is an extension of Idris and David’s existing Porte Noire Champagne and rosé brand that launched in 2018. The venue boasts ‘one of the largest fine wine tasting rooms in London’.

Porte Noire got in touch with the HMS team looking for bespoke planter boxes that would be on display at the front of the bar. The project request was for the planters to have a modern, industrial look and feel, to complement the bar’s rustic-meets-contemporary interior.

“We’re really excited to be bringing a slice of continental hospitality to London this autumn. Since launching our brand Porte Noire, we have seen some incredible reviews of the product and we’re looking forward to creating a space to match.” 

– David Farber, Porte Noire, speaking on the extension of the brand and launch of the wine bar

Creating the industrial-style decor planters involved mostly HMS’ metalwork capabilities. The team worked from a set of supplied drawings which they used to shape, measure and weld the boxes. Working closely with David Farber of Porte Noire and Timothy Block of London Wine Cellar, the HMS team successfully completed and installed the planter boxes.

To complete the project, the team used their welding, fabrication, and plating capabilities. And to help diversify their skills, two HMS apprentices were involved throughout the project.



The Project’s Challenges

In their initial designs, Porte Noire were looking for the planters to feature one single pane of curved glass. Unfortunately, this design would’ve led to a major expense and a much longer timescale. With the launch date fast approaching, this was not an option. The compromise was to instead use three panes of glass, which both the client and HMS were more than happy with.

Of course, large metal boxes aren’t particularly easy to manoeuvre. Particularly in busy Central London! The installation brought up some issues for the team. Most notably, there was no way to get a crane in to lift the boxes into place. The team solved this issue by delivering as close as they could to the venue, then using specialised lifting trollies to physically lift them into place.


The Wins

Although the company is born out of the marine industry, working on varied projects like this one provides a multitude of benefits for the business. It keeps everyone’s creative juices flowing, and keeps them on their toes which in turn ensures their skills stay sharp. Working on a variety of projects also gives apprentices more opportunities to get out into the world and see what their careers may bring them.

The client is more than pleased with the work of the team at HMS, and as a result, are in touch about future potential projects.


Get in touch with our team to discuss your next project.

The History and Construction of A Seaside Luxury Apartment Development

Hythe Building Services for Inland Homes

Hythe Building Services, part of the Hythe Group, are completing a luxury apartment project in Bournemouth. The team were contracted by award-winning specialist housebuilder Inland Homes PLC for new development ‘The Wessex’.


The Wessex Apartment Project

The Wessex will provide 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments situated in the heart of this popular seaside town. The apartments are finished to premium standards and are set in a fantastic location just minutes from the seafront.

This new development is named after a historic hotel that was formerly located on the grounds – The Wessex Hotel. Opened in 1891 and situated in one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods, the hotel was one of Bournemouth’s grandest places to stay. 

Guests relaxed in the sunny, south-facing gardens, or took an easy stroll down to the beach. The new development will see residents retracing their steps in this highly desirable location. 

The History and Construction of A Seaside Luxury Apartment Development

Who are Inland Homes PLC?

Inland Homes are an AIM-listed specialist housebuilder and brownfield developer, dedicated to achieving excellence in sustainability and design. “As socially responsible housebuilders, our ethos is to deliver high-quality homes which suit today’s lifestyle and enhance the environment in which people live.”

The company are committed to extensive public and community consultation, to achieve their aim of creating sustainable communities and homes which set a benchmark for all future developments.

A collaboration with Hythe Building Services

Hythe Building Services are completing the Mechanical and Public Health fit-out of 94 new-build luxury apartments, led by Project Manager Lee Unsworth, and Site Supervisor James Glasspool. Throughout the project Hythe Building Services will provide the following engineering work:

  • Domestic Services
  • Sanitaryware fit-out
  • Above Ground Drainage
  • Ventilation 
  • Automatic controls

“We decided to bring Hythe Building Services onboard for the project due to the high-quality standards required for the luxury Wessex Apartment project. This is our first time working with the Hythe Building Services team, after visits to their operational sites and offices gave us confidence in their attention to detail and ability to successfully deliver the Public Health fit-out of 94 units on time.”

– Paul Burgess, Project Manager, Inland Homes Plc.

View the finished apartment model and see current availability here.

The History and Construction of A Seaside Luxury Apartment Development

Hythe Building Services offer specialist services for bespoke pipework, welding, fabrication and design within the commercial, industrial and public sectors. 

Browse the full list of bespoke services here.

Contact our team for premium, hassle-free building services on your next project. 

Hythe Marine’s Director of Value Engineering Builds Bespoke Fishing Bait Station

Director of Value Engineering Luke Fitzgerald recently designed and built a bespoke fishing bait station for a boat.


After noticing a gap in the market for a catch-all storage and bait station, Luke Fitzgerald set about creating a custom solution.

Technical Director Luke Fitzgerald recently designed and built a bespoke bait station for a fishing boat.


As Director of Value Engineering at Hythe Marine Services (HMS), Luke has extensive experience in fabricating bespoke solutions for the marine industry. He leads the team on anything from small-scale projects to supporting the Navy’s warships and composites for luxury superyachts.

And as a keen fisherman, he knew there was nothing widely available that would be suitable as a customisable solution for a fishing rack. As a result, Luke created a bespoke fishing bait station from scratch – a completely custom design to suit the boat and the needs of the fishermen.


What Was The Problem?

Nobody is selling tailored bait stations, so bespoke boat storage is hard to come by. He told us, “Bespoke custom-made boat equipment and things like that just aren’t on the market.”

The aim was to create a fishing workstation that would fit a toolbox, fishing rod holders, a chopping table, and all the necessary equipment and organisation in one place.

Find out about the HMS team’s experience with boatbuilding in our related article: The World of Luxury Yachts and Traditional Boatbuilding.


The Solution

Nothing like this existed for the customer’s Offshore 2000 fishing boat. And so, Luke wanted to create a central workstation that would tailor to every need when out fishing. Spending his free time fishing in coastal waters, as well as offshore fishing targeting wrecks and sandbanks, Luke knew this one-stop-shop would provide more time to enjoy the actual fishing.

With a career in fabrication, Luke knows what he’s doing when it comes to bespoke solutions for boat owners. He explained, “I’ve done a few similar projects in the past. With custom solutions, pretty much anything the customer dreams up for their boat can be made. The sky’s the limit.”


Technical Director Luke Fitzgerald recently designed and built a bespoke bait station for a fishing boat.


Using 316L stainless steel tube and fitting, he designed, constructed and fit this custom-made fishing bait station.


The Process For Building A Bespoke Fishing Bait Station

These bespoke units are very appealing to boat owners, marinas, and anybody with an interest in fishing or the marine industry. We asked Luke what the process would look like for customers interested in a similar solution.

He explained, “We can make anything they want, so finding out what their needs are is the first step.”

Once the team has a good idea of what the customer is looking for from their bespoke unit, they can work backwards from there. The Hythe team will then produce a drawing and use CAD software to get the dimensions and create a 3D image of what it will look like.

This enables the customer to visualise the unit in their own boat. Finally, the customer approves the look of the design, before the team begin the work.


Technical Director Luke Fitzgerald recently designed and built a bespoke bait station for a fishing boat.


Of course, no project like this would be complete without testing out the fishing bait station in person! So Luke and MD, Josh Mathias, went out and tried it out, purely for product testing purposes of course!*

*Hythe returned all catches to the sea.

Click the button below to enquire about our bespoke engineering services.

Design and Installation of Three-Storey Science Block at St George Catholic College


Construction and engineering company, Hythe Building Services, recently teamed up with Kier Construction on the design and installation of a new science block at St George Catholic College in Southampton.  

Design and Installation of Three-Storey Science Block Hythe Building Services School Construction


What Capabilities did the Project Involve? 

Having previously worked together, the two companies decided to collaborate on the project to share skills and resources. This allows the two companies to provide exceptional service to clients under tight time constraints. 

Together, the teams completed a full mechanical design, installation and build of the new three-storey teaching block with great success.

Stephan Duggan, Senior Site Manager at Kier Construction commented, “Hythe Building Services provided an excellent service undertaking the Mechanical Design and Delivery of the new Science Block at St Georges Catholic School, collaborating well with all trades on site and liaising with the end-user to ensure a very professional and seamless project delivery and handover. I’m looking forward to working with their team again soon.” 

Design and Installation of Three-Storey Science Block Hythe Building Services School Construction


What did the project involve?

A range of services were required to complete the build, including:

  • Mechanical Design
  • Domestic Services
  • Heating Services
  • Gas Services
  • Ventilation 
  • Air Conditioning
  • Thermal Insulation
  • Automatic Controls

Design and Installation of Three-Storey Science Block Hythe Building Services School Construction

View the full list of HBS services here: Capabilities – Hythe Building Services 


Project Challenges 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project didn’t come without its challenges. The team working on this project included a Project Manager, Site Supervisor as well as many other HBS operatives along the way. One of the key considerations throughout the project was to implement strict social distancing guidelines to ensure a safe working environment for themselves and the other trades working on site.

Read more about HBS Projects here: University of Portsmouth Pharmacy Installation


Working With Hythe Building Services

If you’re interested in working with Hythe Building Services for your next project, contact our team via the button below. 


Fast-Response Engineering Puts Pharmaceutical Company Back On Track


Hythe Marine Services Repair Storage Equipment for Pharmaceutical Company Porton Biopharma Ltd. 

Even with the best-maintained systems, unexpected issues can still occur. In 2020, Hythe Marine Services (HMS) were on hand to resolve an issue with a freeze dryer shelf for Porton Biopharma, who work in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Freeze Dryer Shelf Hythe Marine Services Porton Biopharma Pharmaceutical Company

The problem was down to a shelf in a freezer unit that had warped.  This meant the shelf was no longer distributing the freezing oil evenly around the plate. The shelf in question was part of storage for Juvenile Leukaemia treatment vials, each with a cost of £30k per vial, so the urgency to fix was paramount. 

HMS worked closely with experts from Freeze Drying Services and got the freeze dryer back up and running as efficiently as possible. 


“cGMP and GEP are critical requirements within the pharmaceutical industry. However, even with the best maintained system unexpected issues occasionally occur.  During one such event recently, Hythe Marine Services Ltd were quick to respond, especially considering COVID-19.  Their attention to detail, work ethic, craftsmanship and specialist knowledge on stainless steel works were just a few attributes that delivered this job and resolved the issue.  Well done, it was a pleasure working with you.”

Renaldo Davis, Process Engineer, Porton Biopharma Limited


Porton Biopharma and Freeze Drying Services

Porton Biopharma Ltd. protect patients’ health through the quality-assured development and production of biopharmaceuticals. They develop new vaccines, therapeutic proteins and enzyme products. Their work has been crucial to the healthcare industry throughout the global pandemic and development of vaccine technology.

Since 1991, Freeze Drying Services design, install, calibrate, service, upgrade, and provide full technical support for all types of freeze drying equipment.

In the pharmaceutical industry, freeze drying, also known as lyophilisation, is a low-temperature dehydration process that involves freezing the product, lowering pressure, then removing the ice by sublimation

A freeze dryer shelf evenly distributes freezing gas or oil around the plate.


What Did The Engineering Project Involve? 

Although HMS have a history of maintaining Royal Naval Vessels, the skilled team are also experts in delivering bespoke solutions for commercial and industrial applications. 

The repair of the new shelf started with a witnessed reverse engineering of the existing shelf so it could be precisely recreated. HMS then produced drawings for the new shelf. These included the dimensions, weld positions and bend angles for Porton biopharma to approve. 

Fast-response engineering hythe marine services freeze dryer shelf repair pharmaceuticals

Greg Strange, who completed the project alongside Director of Value Engineering Luke Fitzgerald, explained, “Repair was initially discussed, but once the shelf was taken to the workshop and dismantled the team were able to identify the exact issues and recommended a complete replacement. This involved providing totally accurate measurements and drawings. A bespoke unit was constructed using materials in compliance with industry requirements, i.e. non-animal-based products.”


Testing the Freeze Dryer Shelf 

Due to the nature of the project, there were key requirements that had to be met. Rigorous testing of the welds and freeze dryer itself ensures the product is fit for purpose. 

Some of the tests and inspections carried out during this project included:

  • Material test and inspection
  • Pressure testing
  • Vacuum test by Freeze Drying Services
  • Weld samples and non-destructive testing (NDT)

Find out more about non-destructive testing and quality-assured welding at HMS in our article Lloyd’s Coded Welders: Why We’re Different…


Interested in working with Hythe Marine Services? Contact our team to discuss how we can assist with your next project. 


A Hythe Group Mechanical Fitter Achieves Special Recognition for Royal Navy Project

Working with the Royal Navy on service vessels can be tough work. Especially with a one-day project turnaround and challenging conditions. 

key wrench repair tool maintenance work mechanic equipment craft

Hythe Group and BAE Systems recently teamed up to complete a maintenance project on HMS Queen Elizabeth that had to be done in a very short timeframe, within a tough working environment. One of Hythe Group’s mechanical fitters and three others showed exceptional commitment in completing this project and received special recognition for their hard work.

Maintaining the Royal Navy Fleet

Hythe Marine Services, part of Hythe Group, specialise in turnkey design, fabrication, engineering and repair services to the marine industry. 

One of Hythe Marine Services clients is the UK Ministry of Defence which often involves working on projects with the British Royal Navy. Projects such as these may last anywhere from 24 hours to over 6 months. Routine maintenance usually has a longer timeframe, but occasionally a vessel is required back out at sea within a day, and as such the Hythe Marine team need to be able to respond instantly, putting in long hours to get the work done on time. 

We spoke with a Hythe Marine Services Mechanical Fitter about a recent restoration project on HMS Queen Elizabeth to find out more about what goes down. 

When HMS Queen Elizabeth came into dock she required overnight maintenance due to maintenance requirements with the pipework and exhaust system. The group of four were asked to go onboard and get it sorted, working through the night to get the work completed.

Working on diesel generators can be very hot, so touching parts of the exhaust may be uncomfortable. The project required a lot of manual labour as well as working safely with numerous different parts and scaffolding to get the mechanism back together again. 

Out of the team working on the Naval vessel, Hythe’s mechanical fitter had been there the longest and had the most experience of working with these components. It was extremely important for the team to get the diesel generator running again, as there was more work to be done the next day on other aspects of the ship.

Because of the projects tight timescale, there were a lot of people watching and observing the work being carried out to make sure it all went to plan and that quality standards were met. It’s safe to say the project was completed with great success, with the efforts of BAE Systems and Hythe Marine Services being recognised by the Royal Navy.

Challenges and Reasons for Project Success

During our conversation with Hythe’s mechanical fitter, we asked why he thinks the diesel generator project went so well. He responded, “I’ve worked a lot on exhausts in the past, and with stainless steel and items that are bound together, so I have a lot of experience from previous jobs. If you have the experience you’ve got the tricks of the trade and know-how to make things work.”

As well as valuable knowledge and experience, a key factor in the success of the project was good teamwork. Having a team that works well together as a unit is even more important when operating in dangerous surroundings. 

Before starting work on a diesel generator as big as those on HMS Queen Elizabeth the engine needs to be warmed up. The team were kitted up in the necessary PPE and overalls, but because of the hot engine, everything you touch is sitting at around 70 degrees Celsius. Imagine working in those temperatures!

The engine bolts are stainless steel so as they’re heated the metal binds to each component and seizes up. This is where prior knowledge of exhausts really shows its value.

Hythe’s mechanical fitter explained, “You’re not going to win against seized stainless steel. You have to get the right lubricants on it and know the exact way to push and when to pull, which requires experience.”  

Other notable challenges were the obvious time constraints and heat exhaustion, and keeping the apprentices safe and focused on the task. 

About the Mechanical Fitter

Throughout his career, he has gained a number of qualifications in commercial diving and Marine Engineering. Before his current role as a Mechanical Fitter, he worked all over the world as a Commercial Diver on Naval ships.

diver swimming through blue ocean with wetsuit and diving gear blowing bubbles

He also did a lot of commercial work for companies like Condor Ferries, Red Funnel and White Link. In these roles, he would be working on anything from cylinder heads to propulsion, and shafts to bearing pumps. 

This recent award isn’t the only time they have been recognised for their hard work and talent. Recently he and his colleague received an IMPACT award from BAE Systems for completing 150% of the work required within a maintenance period which usually takes 4 or 5 people to complete 100% of the work – how’s that for efficiency!

We asked Hythe’s mechanical fitter what his favourite part of his job is and he told us, “Learning something new every day. If there’s anything I don’t know, I want to learn it and I thrive off that process.”

The most challenging part of his job is coordinating multiple teams to get the job done within short timeframes.  As we spoke, he was sitting pool-side on a well-deserved break, before he heads back to the UK to start work on a new top-secret project. 

Are you looking for support with your next project?

Speak with our engineers via the link below.


GRP Composite Lamination for Luxury Superyachts

Shipbuilding and composite lamination

Hythe Marine Services (HMS) is expanding its capabilities within the luxury superyacht industry. The new composites lamination department will mainly be doing GRP (glass reinforced plastic) boat building and moulding of luxury yachts, working closely with the joinery department who will handle the decks and woodwork finishes.


Why is GRP Composite lamination so popular in the luxury superyacht industry?

GRP laminating is a popular method within the superyacht boatbuilding industry because of its high strength properties once cured. Fibreglass is a durable, non-corrosive material, so it’s a first choice for the boatbuilding industry. 

We spoke to a member of the team with composites expertise, who told us, “Fibreglass lamination is popular in boatbuilding for its ease of use, versatility and ability to be laid up in multiple layers.”

GRP is a lightweight material that can be used in many different forms for operations in superyacht building and repair work. Fibreglass mouldings can be sandwiched with all sorts of other materials including Balsa, softwood, hardwood and metals.

The team member explained, “Fibreglass mat in its dry form can be moulded into any shape, and into really tight corners, making it the number one choice for most superyacht boat builders.”

There are many different types of fibreglass lamination, including hand lay-up lamination and vacuum infusion lamination. In vacuum infusion lamination, the infusion is laid down in multiple layers of dry-stacked material and covered with breather membranes and a bag. This is then sucked down by a vacuum pump and resin is fed into the material under vacuum.

The advantages of vacuum infusion over hand lay-up are that the infused parts are so much lighter. Our representative told us, “Vacuum infusion lamination is advantageous when you’re building a product that has weight restrictions, such as with boatbuilding and superyachts.”


Speak with our team to discuss your next project!


Hythe Group’s expansion into the luxury superyacht industry

Boat engineering and maintenance

The lamination and joinery department will be working closely together on all luxury boat building projects. To facilitate Hythe Marine Services moving into the luxury superyacht boat building industry, the fibreglass lamination team will be moving into the new HMS workshop. Fibreglass lamination requires very specific working conditions, so the woodworking and metalworking workshops are being refitted to optimise the space for safety and quality.

Metalwork and woodwork have their own hazards, but a lamination moulding shed includes the risks from dealing with highly combustible and hazardous materials that deserve the utmost respect from the laminators. A moulding shed should be dust free and clean to keep your mould tools and mat suitable for laminating. The workshop must be kept at optimum moulding shed temperature and the fumes (styrene) extracted out of the moulding shed through proper ventilation.

HMS are ensuring every step to entering the luxury boat building industry is completed correctly and with the right people in the team. One of the team taking on this challenge said, “The luxury superyacht market is hard to break into. We will build up our reputation as a reputable composite department, by focusing on building trust with customers for boat repair work, builds and refits.”


What will Hythe Group’s new laminating department be doing?

In the workshop, the team will be managing and making the components for new contracts. One of the team commented, “We want to make sure the quality is better than what our customers are currently expecting, as we strive to deliver quality and in a time-controlled manner. We will be looking at securing contracts by putting out the feelers nationally and internationally and making the department grow, through building up trust and reputation.”

The composites department are kicking off with a big project at the naval base. This new HMS project involves making GRP panels for Royal Naval minesweepers. The fibreglass lamination process for this project includes building up multiple layers of fibreglass to a mould tool, making sure that they are air-bubble free, before curing the moulding by means of rolling out the layers. They will then be de-moulded from the mould tools and trimmed. Once they have been inspected and signed off, they can be delivered to the customer.

Eager to get stuck in, a member of the team expressed, “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge ahead and offering all my years of experience within a boat building and repair capacity. I have heard great things about HMS and can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”

To discuss your next boatbuilding project contact our team via the button below.

The Process and Benefits of GRP Composite Lamination

Composite lamination for boatbuilding

A detailed look at our composite lamination services

GRP composite lamination is more commonly used in manufacturing than metal. The increase in its usage is owed to its flexible, lightweight properties, and the fact that it can be just as strong as steel. These traits make it clear why fibreglass is the material of choice for everything from furniture, warships and supercars, to swimming pools and even structural buildings. 

Creating and repairing fibreglass requires a process called lamination. To find out more, we spoke to one of Hythe Groups Technical Lead for GRP Composite Lamination, Simon Spencer. 


Introducing Technical Lead Simon Spencer

With 30 years of experience, Simon Spencer is an expert composite laminator. He has been with Hythe Group for the past eight months, working within Hythe Marine Services (HMS) on fibreglass boat repairs.

Before joining Hythe Group, Simon was a composite boat builder and repair technician for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Whilst Simon was with the RNLI, a friend contacted him and asked if he was interested in a four-week contract working with BAE Systems and HMS. Simon has since stayed on with HMS, completing maintenance projects on a number of Royal Naval vessels. 

Simon commented, “I’ve enjoyed working with Hythe Marine Services and have a good working relationship with Josh Mathias (Managing Director of Hythe Group). I’m looking forward to staying here for the foreseeable future!”


What is GRP Composite lamination?

GRP composite lamination involves sticking individual layers of fibreglass together to create a strong material or object. 

Hythe Groups head of laminating, Phill Large, explained that, “The processes involved with laminating are relatively straightforward. It involves laying layers of fibreglass material together to form strong versatile and durable sheets. You apply your 2 part resin that has been accelerated with an MEKP catalyst to your layers of dry mat material. This then needs to be hand-rolled to make sure that all air bubbles have been removed. This will then start to cure at room temperature. Once cured you have a very strong GRP (glass reinforced plastic) product.”

In the boating industry, there is a lot of wear and tear, impact and damage that can affect the integrity of fibreglass lamination. A common issue that comes with movement in boats, or just over time, is delamination. 


What is fibreglass delamination?

Delamination is when some of the fibreglass layers come apart from each other, creating an air pocket inside of the object. This becomes a weak point in the lamination so composite laminators, like Simon, will grind out all of the fibreglass until they reach the delaminated layer. Once the air pocket has been removed, they will reinstate the new fibreglass to build the strength back up to the original standard. 

Currently, Simon is involved with anything to do with structural repairs on Royal Naval minesweepers. A lot of the lamination projects that Simon works on are for the Ministry of Defence and are therefore protected, but they will generally follow the same process.

Firstly, a structural engineer or surveyor will evaluate the fibreglass and decide which areas are in need of repair. The laminators will then grind out the fibreglass until they reach the delaminated layer. The final step is to reinstate the layers of fibreglass so they’re compact and laminated, to ensure everything is structurally sound.


Speak with our team to discuss your next project.


How to become a GRP composite laminator

Composite lamination for luxury yachts

Aside from the necessary NVQ in fibreglass and lamination, the main skill of fibreglass lamination comes with experience and time-served. 

Simon has had a full career of working for large international agencies but still picks up new techniques and learns more every single day. Simon told us, “Everybody has a fundamental idea of how to laminate, but the real skill comes from working in different places, watching experienced people do their job and being willing to improve.”

Laminators are continually growing their skill and knowledge to keep up with constant advancements. Composite lamination has evolved so much in the last 15-20 years, producing new methods for laminators to learn, such as fusion lamination and injection moulding. 

We also spoke to Phill Large and asked what special skills laminators require. He told us, “Laminators must have a great eye for detail and an awareness of health and safety due to the dangerous chemicals that are in use. They need to be a good team player and have a methodical approach to their work.”


The challenges of GRP Composite lamination

Simon said the biggest challenge with fibreglass lamination is health and safety. Grinding fibreglass can be very harmful, so laminators must take all the necessary precautions and use full PPE protection. Every part of your body and face must be covered by overalls and a mask, and there has to be proper airflow and extraction to the working area. 

Simon explained, “You might spend 2 to 3 hours getting ready to do 20 minutes of grinding. The job can be awkward and challenging, but I absolutely love it.”

Phill also described these tightly regulated conditions required to ensure the quality and safety of fibreglass lamination:

“There are many challenges in fibreglass lamination, including the conditions of working. For example, factory temperature needs to consistently remain between 16 and 25 degrees with a humidity level of under 70%. If the room is above this temperature, resins will cure too fast leaving air bubbles between your plies. If it’s too cold you will get a poor cure causing your resin to drain from the material leaving a weak component. If humidity gets above 70% this can leave moisture within your stacks, which also causes a poor cure and possibly the scrapping of your product.”

Despite these challenges, Simon commented that the job is made easier by the fact both BAE Systems and Hythe Marine Services are very experienced at what they do. “They make sure everything is done in accordance with regulations. I’ve been a laminator for so many years and this is the first place I’ve come across where you’re given the full protective uniform, hats and glasses. I’ve been with many companies and Hythe Marine are the best I’ve ever worked for.”


Working for Hythe Group

The pride Hythe Marine Services take in their employees was clear when speaking to Simon. He explained how everybody in the company, right up to the Managing Director, has excellent communication and show genuine interest by checking on you and providing regular updates. Simon told us that the working dynamic at Hythe Group goes, “above and beyond the rest”, with employees constantly being shown how much they’re valued, “With Hythe Group, once you’re through the door you’re not forgotten, that’s where they stand out from the rest.”

Hythe Groups Managing Director, Josh Mathias, said, “Our retention rate is incredibly high because we treat our workforce correctly and allow them to showcase their specialities. This builds respect within the company structure and is displayed as a finished product for the client.“

HMS, at its foundation, is an engineering company and therefore knows the high standards required to carry out projects. As a result, when offering clients one of their newer services, known as a labour only service, they are being guaranteed one of Hythes own workforce who has been vetted and, more likely than not, worked within Hythe on various projects over many years. With this type of service, customers are getting the full support of a highly capable, multi-skilled engineering company with each person that joins their self-managed team. 

Josh commented, “We have built teams that work closely with our clients for many years, going as far back as our older companies Mathon & Avrotech. Within our network, we can build teams across multiple trades and quickly, mobilise and relocate them to where the work is required. If your project is in need of additional specialist support, there are not many better companies to approach. We will only ever say yes to projects when the client’s expectations can be reached. ”

To discuss how our fibreglass lamination services can help your next project contact us via the button below.


The World of Luxury Yachts and Traditional Boatbuilding

Lamination services for luxury yachts

Hythe Group welcomes Adam Vince to the team.

In perfect timing with the recent launch of Hythe Group’s new woodworking workshop, experienced boatbuilder and shipwright, Adam Vince, has joined the team. Adam’s exciting career in the marine industry has earned him a wealth of skill and knowledge in boat building. These skills include exterior fit-out, teak decking, exterior furniture, marine glazing, fibreglass work and joinery. 

Adam’s career focused on the world of traditional and luxury yachts. Until recently Hythe Marine Services (HMS) had predominantly been involved with dockyards, working on commercial projects. Adam’s specialist knowledge of luxury and traditional boat building will boost Hythe Group’s diversification of additional boatbuilding services. Adam told us, “My knowledge and experience from working with luxury yacht companies has given me an attention to detail that isn’t the customer’s priority in the commercial world.”


Adam’s career as a boat builder and shipwright

Like most skilled tradesmen, Adam started out completing apprenticeships and building up his experience. During school, he did a Level 3 marine engineering course and then went on to complete his City and Guilds Level 4 in Boat Building and Maintenance with Oyster Yachts (then SYS). Adam stayed with Oyster Yachts for 7 years working on some of the most famous yachts in the world. Adam told us he spent most of his time there working in the restoration shed instead of on the production side, commenting that, “I was actually doing the one-off projects, rather than run-of-the-mill jobs, which was probably why I loved it so much.”

After making the decision to move on to his next step, Adam went to a large refit project in Portchester, a motor yacht called SHEMARA. Adam started this job as a tradesman but left there as a foreman, assisting with running the exterior side of the project. Following this, Adam returned to Oyster Yachts to work on an 8-month classic refit project. 

From there he went on to run a Wally 100 sailing yacht fit-out project at Green Marine where he was recruited for his expertise with superyacht interior and exterior interior fit-outs. Ever the explorer, Adam followed this yacht around the Mediterranean and Caribbean, before heading to Dubai for six months. Next up was a project working on a rather well known vessel, Lord Alan Sugar’s superyacht, Lady A!


Experience with luxury and traditional yachts

superyacht boatbuilders

Whilst talking to Adam it was clear that he is passionate about traditional woodwork and the history of yachts, “My favourite yachts I’ve ever worked on were a 1928 boat called Cambria, and another historic boat called Merrymaid, which were both designed by William Fife.” 

Adam loves working on wooden, traditionally constructed boats as these restorations take a lot of specialist work and skill. “The best jobs for me are classic yachts. I love the woodworking side but there’s also a lot of history there. I find it fascinating that people manage to preserve a boat that’s wooden for such a long time, especially when they’ve survived through wars when people were melting down lead.”


Why Adam joined Hythe Group 

Throughout his career, Adam amassed valuable experience, contacts and skills, which led him to set up his own company with a friend, who was a joiner. Adam mainly ran classic yacht projects under his own company until his partner decided to make the move to house joinery. 

In the last few months of his own business, Adam was actually working with Hythe Group, and decided he’d like to join the company himself, commenting that, “We first started working with Hythe Group because they have such great connections in the dockyard. I later approached Josh (Hythe Group’s Director) about a job after witnessing the relaxed but professional atmosphere at the company.”


Adam’s role at Hythe Group 

Due to the current working restrictions (due to COVID-19) in the UK, Adam is yet to meet the team or have his ‘proper’ induction. Although he’s new to the company, he has already recognised the great working dynamic at Hythe Group, “If you’re skilled at something there’s a lot of respect there. When you’re good at what you do, they’re good to you and respect you a lot – rather than just being a number, they think highly of you.”

Once it’s safe to do so, Adam will be looking for and working on projects involving superyachts and luxury or older boats where he can apply his boat building expertise. Alongside maintaining their existing reputation for commercial shipbuilding, Hythe Group are diversifying into new areas. Adam will work with the team to make Hythe Group as well known for their skill on luxury and classic yachts, as they are for their knowledge of commercial projects. 

Adam will be working in the new woodworking workshop with Pete and Mike, who actually worked alongside Adam at his old company, carrying out traditional boat renovations. In particular, Adam recalls one notable project where an old boat was actually pulled up from the bottom of a riverbed and then used as a reference to be able to recreate it, cool huh? 

Once things are back to normal, Adam is looking forward to meeting the team and getting stuck in using his classic and luxury yacht knowledge for even more new and exciting projects with Hythe Marine Services.

To discuss your woodworking, traditional or luxury boatbuilding projects, get in touch with our team via the button below.

Inspecting and Maintaining Royal Naval Vessels

belzona sea tube treatment from hythe marine servicesSea Tube and Pump Bowl Maintenance

To ensure the highest standard of safety and performance, Royal Navy vessels periodically dock at Naval Bases for maintenance. This includes the inspection of underwater fittings and hull integrity to ensure the components are fit for service. These inspections are completed by external inspection authorities, such as Lloyds and BAE systems. When a component requires maintenance, Hythe Marine Services (HMS) will check its condition and carry out any required work. 

We spoke to one of Hythe Group’s key managers, Ken Keeling, to find out about one of his current projects – Sea Tube and Pump Bowl maintenance on a T45 Royal Naval Warship.


Introducing Hythe Group key manager Ken Keeling

Before his role at Hythe Group, Ken gained experience on Naval Bases working for the Royal Navy as a Warrant Officer Marine Engineer and for BAE Systems.  

Ken is a project manager on this particular Royal Naval warship maintenance project. As part of his current role, Ken is monitoring resources, timescales and value management for the project. Ken told us, “Essentially, as a Project Manager with Hythe Group, my main responsibilities are to monitor the project’s progress with regards to cost and time alongside other Hythe Group Project Managers.” 

Hythe Marine Services history of maintaining Naval vessels

HMS have been maintaining Royal Naval vessels for years, allowing them to build world-renowned expertise and experience. 

When Ken was working for BAE systems he used HMS services himself: “I used to use Hythe Marine Services whilst working at BAE systems, because of their ability to provide 24/7 high-quality fabrication services.”

Within this specific sea tube (or Sea Inlet) and pump bowl maintenance project, there are a whole range of HMS services being used and numerous roles all working together. These include pipefitters, machinists, managers like Ken, and fully-trained Belzona application representatives. Also on the project are welders, Senior weld inspectors and fire-watchers to ensure the safety of the weld whilst in a compact environment. And of course, the HMS’ apprentice steelworkers, pipefitters and welders are working closely with existing tradesmen, gaining valuable experience. 

What is sea tube maintenance?

sea tube maintenance from hythe marine services onboard large royal naval vessel

Sea tubes, which are more widely known as sea inlets and outlets, directly connect the services required in the ship, such as cooling water or discharge systems, to the sea. Their condition is critical to the watertight integrity of the hull, so they are key to whether or not the vessel is fit for service. High volumes of water pass in and out of these tubes at varying pressures and velocity, so they can become subject to erosion.

Sea tube maintenance involves analysing the pipe condition and exercising any necessary repair options. HMS may perform weld repairs, apply Belzona coatings or remove the sea tube completely, replacing it with a brand new one.  

What’s unique about this work is that some repairs necessitate cutting the sea tube, where only a small section is corroded or damaged. The HMS team will remove the damaged part and create a replacement in accordance with defence and manufacturing specifications. This will then be welded into the parent sea tube that’s still in the hull.


What is pump bowl maintenance?

A similar process to sea tube maintenance applies to pump bowls. They have routine inspections that monitor their performance, check for wear and may show that defects are arising.

Generally, a pump has rotating elements, which whilst in service can be subject to erosion and wear. When HMS are performing maintenance, elements of the pump unit will be dismantled and worn or damaged equipment that require repairs will be identified. The pump casing (bowl) is an example of equipment that usually requires repair. Once removed, they will blast it, clean it, and build it up with a polymer coating to bring it back to manufacturing specifications. In this project, this will be Belzona polymer coatings.

HMS use Belzona because it’s a hard-wearing coating that adheres and bonds to metals very well. As a result the Royal Navy doesn’t have to purchase new components as often so it’s a great cost-saving measure. With castings like pump bowls, it’s difficult to weld repair. Belzona allows restoration of the pump’s original dimensions and increases its longevity. 

royal navy engineering services from hythe marine

The challenges of working on Naval Vessels

One of the problems faced by HMS when they are working on Naval warships is accessibility. The vast majority of the tubes are in the machinery spaces to allow cooling water to get to the various systems. When the ship is being built, the sea tubes are one of the first things to be installed. At this point, there is still plenty of space. After sea tube installation, the systems, pipework, support platforms and machinery seating are put in. The sea tubes end up being confined in very small spaces with huge access restrictions. Ken and the other Project Managers must consider the time and resources needed to strip out necessary components to give access to the sea tubes. Once the job is complete, all of these elements then need to be replaced in their correct design configuration.

Another challenge to the team is time constraints. The Naval ships docked maintenance periods vary depending on vessel class, and could be anywhere from 18 months to 6 weeks. If a sea tube needs urgent maintenance, HMS could be called to work 24/7 depending on the severity and impact on the ship.


What’s next for the Hythe Marine Services Team?

Despite the challenges brought to the team by the current COVID-19 pandemic, they are continuing to work in support of the Royal Navy whilst respecting social distancing rules. 

When asked about his upcoming projects, Ken told us, “You never know what the next project will be. We are a very reactive company. We get a shout from the customer and start to deal with it immediately. Reactive work is a large part of Hythe’s past and continues to be a requirement our customers rely on us to deliver.” 

Get in touch with our team to discuss your upcoming projects.