Tyne and Wear HER(4692): Southwick, Sir John Priestman and Co Shipbuilding Yard - Details
Southwick, Sir John Priestman and Co Shipbuilding Yard
Marine Construction Site
George Howe Shipyard shown on John Rennie's 1826 map. Taken over by John Priestman in 1880. John Priestman left Pickersgill Ltd. to set up his own shipyard at Southwick in 1880, and launched his first timber ship in the same year. Subsequently, the yard concentrated on iron ship production, but after the first 10 ships had been launched, a depression in international trade meant that no more ships were launched from the yard for nearly five years. Gemini, launched in 1888, was the first of a succession of steel ships from the yard: Between 1888 and the outbreak of WW1, 120 steel ships were completed and during WW1, 15 ships were built totalling 67,255 tons. The yard closed in 1933 and the site was taken over by William Pickersgill & Sons Ltd (HER ref. No. 2771) during WW2 as their West Yard. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed in 1855) shows the area still occupied by intertidal mudflat and marsh. The 2nd edition map of 1898 shows Priestman’s ‘Castletown Yard’ established on the site. The extent of the yard is not clear, but the existence of sawpits suggests shipbuilding or repairing activities. The yard, as a component of Thompson’s Shipyard, was demolished in the late 1980s and few noticeable shipbuilding features survive.
<< HER 4692 >> The Archaeological Practice, 2002, Shipbuilding on Tyne and Wear - Prehistory to Present. Tyne & Wear Historic Environment Record; John rennie, 1826, Map of Sunderland; Northern Archaeological Associates, 2017, Sheepfolds, Sunderland - Archaeological Desk Based Assessment, Building Recording and Geological Assessment, p 69