Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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S. P. Austin and Son

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of Wear Dock Yard, Sunderland

1826 Peter Austin founded the Nova Scotia shipyard at Sandy Point in Monkwearmouth near Dame Dolly's Rock.[1]

Under the leadership of his son, Samuel Peter Austin, the shipyard became quite successful, gaining prominence for its collier production during WWI.[2]

1861 Employing 60 men [3]

1866(?) Austin retired and his son Samuel Peter Austin, Junior took over and moved the yard to the South side of the river [4]

1867 Samuel Peter Austin died and his son Samuel Peter Austin, Junior took over with his brother Stanley Austin

1869 The last wooden ship was built by the yard.

1870 Repairs were made to iron vessels up to 300 feet in length.

1871 The yard expanded and started its acquisition of all of the surrounding land.

1874 The yard made its first iron ship.

1881 Employing 396 men and 54 boys [5]

1896 Incorporated as a Private Limited Company.

1899 Re-registered as a public company. The company was registered on 25 September, to acquire the shipbuilding and ship repairing business of a company of the same name. [6]

1904 Austin’s was famous for its pontoon, which opened in 1904. The pontoon was a platform that could be sunk below a ship, then re-floated to raise the ship out of the water.

1914 Directory: Listed as Iron Ship Builders of Bishopwearmouth panns, Sunderland. [7]

WWI Output during the War was 13 colliers of 28,979 tons along with five small naval craft. One of these vessels, Icemaid became the prototype for war standard colliers of that size during World War II.

1914 Shipbuilders, Ship Engine and Boiler Repairers. Specialities: building steamers for cargo carrying purposes, chiefly vessels adapted for the coal trade. Employees 800. [8]

1932 Only two colliers were made due to the Depression.

1954 Austin’s merged with W. Pickersgill and Sons in 1954 to become Austin and Pickersgill

1956 The yard closed.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Jas. Goldsborough Bigwood
  2. Jas. Goldsborough Bigwood Research
  3. 1861 Census
  4. British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
  5. 1881 Census
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. Kelly's Directory of Durham, 1914 p714
  8. 1914 Whitakers Red Book