Some remarkable and awe-inspiring craft have come out of the Cammell Laird shipyards over the years.
Liners like the Mauretania, warships including the Ark Royal and the nuclear submarines Conqueror, Revenge and Renown have all rolled down the Birkenhead slipway.
But none was quite as extraordinary as the creation constructed by 80 keen apprentices this week in 1984.
Vivid yellow in colour and psychedelic in design, it was an exact replica of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine – immortalised in song and film in 1968.
The submarine was commissioned for the themed Beatles’ Maze at Liverpool’s International Garden Festival, opened by the Queen in May 1984.
The Beatles’ garden, one of 60 at the festival, was in the form of an apple-shaped labyrinth. It included the bronze statue of John Lennon which now stands at Liverpool airport.
Built of steel, the submarine was 51 feet long and 15 feet high. It was assembled by apprentices employed on a Manpower Services scheme at Monks Dock.
The submarine was then transported on the surface of the Mersey – not beneath it – to its new home on the festival site.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were two of the thousands of visitors who enjoyed the view of the festival from the top of the sub.
Twin spiral staircases led to a replica control cabin, complete with genuine submarine equipment, and the bridge.
When the festival site closed, the colourful craft stood for many years at Chavasse Park before being removed from public view.
It reappeared, fully renovated, at John Lennon Airport in 2005. Former airport boss Neil Pakey remarked: ‘Other airports have the Concorde, we have the Yellow Submarine.’
The original single Yellow Submarine was written as a nonsense song for children in 1966. It appeared on the album Revolver along with Eleanor Rigby.
Yellow Submarine stayed at No. 1 in the charts for four weeks and won an Ivor Novello Award for the highest-selling single in the UK in 1966.
It became the title song of the animated film Yellow Submarine two years later in 1968.
The movie’s soundtrack also featured the songs Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, When I’m Sixty Four and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
The film, which told the story of the Beatles’ battle with the music-hating Blue Meanies, won widespread critical acclaim and was a box office hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Oddly enough, the Beatles were not keen on making another film after Help! was released in 1965 – and they only appear in a live-action cameo at the end of Yellow Submarine.
Their parts were voiced by actors for the rest of the film.
The Beatles’ live finale caused a few continuity problems too as Lennon and Harrison’s physical appearances had changed from their cartoon caricatures.
Lennon in particular had grown his hair longer and was starting to sport mutton-chop sideburns!
None of this mattered to the fans who flocked to premieres across the country. Police were hard-pressed to control the crowds outside cinemas whenever the Beatles appeared.
The surreal visual style of the film was a complete contrast to the Disney-type animation cinema-goers had witnessed up to that point.
It helped inspire artists like Terry Gilliam, who was responsible for the animations on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and the children’s TV programme Sesame Street.
It is still regarded as a landmark in animation to this day – more than 50 years after its original release.