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Tyne and Wear HER(8408): South Shields, shipyards - Details

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S Tyneside

South Shields, shipyards

South Shields



Marine Construction Site


Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

A shipyard traditionally thought to have been established around 1720 by Robert Wallis. Few references to ships built by Wallis survive. It may have been a ship-breaking or repairing yard. By the late eighteenth century, three further shipbuilders are recorded as having operated within this part of South Shields - William Forster, John Wright and James Evans. Forster's yard only operated between 1773 and 1791, when his widow was forced to put the yard up for sale. Wright sold his yard and became a shipowner by the time of his death in 1803. James Evan's yard prospered until the early nineteenth century, but went bankrupt in 1831 under Messrs Witherby and Ihler. Other short-lived enterprises were Messrs Attley, Brown and Swan, shipbuilders at the "Low End" 1803-1808, and John and Philip Laing of Sunderland who owned yards in Pilot Street and Thrift Street. Their partnership dissolved in 1822, with Philip retaining the yard at the eastern end of Pilot Street which had a patent slip, which survived until general redevelopment of this area in 1936. Thomas Marshall built over 100 vessels, mostly steel, 1839-1859. Following his retirement, his sons moved the business to Willington Quay. Thomas Wawn, John Blumer and Luke Bushell are also recorded as shipbuilders in this area in the 1840s. Readhead and Softley and W.P. Greenwell had yards in Shadwell Street and Pilot Street in the mid nineteenth century. Readhead moved to Tyne Dock in 1872.




A.C. Flagg, 1979, The History of Shipbuilding in South Shields 1746-1946

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