Obituary: James Venus

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The Independent Online
IN WHAT is an otherwise excellent and very just obituary of Dr James Venus (2 September), Bill Wilson makes an important omission, writes John Dearing. In rather dismissing Jim's role in the senior management of British Shipbuilders, he ignores the vital part that he played in a technological breakthrough which was probably even more important for the future of shipbuilding than the development of covered yards.

When at the start of the decade the 'backroom boys' came up with proposals for revolutionising the industry's drawing offices by introducing computer-aided design, Jim was one of those who were quick to recognise the potential for improved efficiency and productivity that this represented. He was, I believe, instrumental in persuading the more conservative elements in the corporation that this was the way the industry should go.

BS thus became the first major shipbuilding corporation to introduce computer-aided design and, as with the enclosed factory, it was a case of others following where the UK led. This, of course, only enforces Bill's point in regard to Jim Venus's importance in the history of modern shipbuilding.