"I name this ship...."
Nobody really knows how the ceremony of launching began but the various ceremonies that have been used worldwide (and some still are) on the decks or the hull have all been associated with the day of a ship’s true birth.
Ship launches in Britain are a solemn blessing and public celebration with many superstitions including christening the vessel with alcohol (usually champagne) and, since the nineteenth century, a woman has the honour of being the vessel's sponsor and thus officially launching it. A chaplain is often present and the Barrow shipyard usually celebrated the day with a special meal for invited guests.
In Barrow, for more than a century vessels have been launched from down a slipway, stern first (the back of the vessel) into the water. A common mistake is to imagine that a vessel has been completed on launch. In fact, the ship is launched when it is watertight and much work is done after launch; this is called fitting out. Additional work could be done to the superstructure after launch but mainly work was done inside the ship i.e. quarters, machinery, boilers, engines, weaponry etc. This process involved plumbers, electricians, joiners, sheet metal workers, engineers and other trades.
The first vessel (not ship) to be launched by the Barrow shipyard, then called the Barrow Shipbuilding Company, was Aries (a steam yacht built for Sir James Ramsden who had helped set the company up).