Construction of the dockyard by civil engineers Easton, Gibb & Son commenced in 1909. At the time, the Royal Navy was strengthening its presence along the eastern seaboard of Great Britain due to a naval arms race with Germany.
Babcock Thorn, a consortium operated by Babcock International and Thorn EMI, was awarded the management contract for Rosyth dockyard in 1987; after which they were government owned, contractor run facilities. This contract was awarded in parallel with Devonport Dockyard Limited's contract to run Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth. In 1993 the Ministry of Defence announced plans to privatise Rosyth. Babcock International, who had bought out Thorn's share of the original Babcock Thorn consortium, was the only company to submit a bid and after protracted negotiations purchased the yard in January 1997.
In 1984 Rosyth was chosen as the sole location for refitting the Royal Navy's nuclear submarine (a role it was already specialising in), and in 1986 extensive rebuilding commenced to facilitate this new role. However in 1993, in what critics describe as a political move, the Conservative government switched the refitting role to Devonport.
Seven decommissioned nuclear submarines are stored at Rosythhttp://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070125/text/70125w0009.htm#subhd_87: