Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Co

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1882. Compound engine.
1885. Triple expansion engines with Joy valve gear.
June 1898.
August 1899.
1900. Engines of the Ivernia.
February 1901.
1910. Engines of the Franconia.
February 1911.
1929. Photograph of the Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Site.
April 1952.

of Wallsend-on-Tyne

The Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company was formerly an independent company, located on the River Tyne at Point Pleasant, near Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, around a mile downstream from the Swan Hunter shipyard, with which it later merged.

Note. The following publications are available in the SMC Library

  • 1921 'A 50 Years' Retrospect'. 44pp with numerous Photographs
  • 1929 Commemoration. 48pp with numerous Photographs

1871 Public company formed. The company was registered on 2 October. [1] It was formed as The Wallsend Slipway Co in November by a group of Newcastle shipowners, and one shipbuilder, to repair the vessels of their respective fleets, hence the name 'Slipway'. Yard established by Charles Mitchell; named after two 300 foot slipways for the sole purpose of repairing ships. Charles S. Swan and his brother Henry F. Swan were two of the initial directors..

1873 First compound marine engines made. Then later, triple and quadruple expansion steam reciprocating engines were built.

1874 William Boyd, having left Thompson, Boyd and Co, was appointed managing director and it was Boyd who introduced marine engine building to the firm - this becoming over the next decade its most important activity - which brought the words 'Engineering' into the full title of the firm which then became The Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Co Ltd.

1878 Name changed. Managing Director William Boyd added & Engineering to the name of the Company.

1881 New boiler making shop erected.

1884 New works opened in Cardiff between the public graving dock and the Roath dock.

1897 540 foot dry dock built, extending the size of vessels that could be repaired.

1899 Largest British manufacturer of engines for ships at 67,600ihp.[2]

1899 See 1899 Shipbuilding Statistics for details of production this year.

1903 William Boyd retired

1903 A majority holding was taken by the newly-formed Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson.

1904 Boiler making shop extended to accommodate the gigantic boilers of the RMS Mauretania. The company was making all types of boiler: cylindrical, locomotive, and water-tube (particularly useful for warships). The Company constructed all four turbines of 70,000 s.h.p for the Mauretania.

1914 Engineers, Boilermakers, Ship-repairers, Manufacturers of Liquid Fuel Burning Installations, Builders of Reciprocating Turbine and Internal Combustion Engines, Cylindrical and Water Tube Boilers, The Wallsend-Howden Patent System of Liquid Fuel Burning. [3]

1915 First oil engine was fitted to Abelia owned by Marcus Samuel.

1924 Advert mentions them as marine engineers, boilermakers and ship repairers. [4]

The company manufactured Parsons turbines under license for ships including the famous RMS Mauretania and numerous British warships.

1961 Marine engineers, ship repairers, boiler makers and manufacturers of oil burning equipment. 3,000 employees. [5]

1977 the yard was subsumed by British Shipbuilders Corporation.

Today, the site is owned by AMEC, who operated it as an offshore facility until placing it in mothballs in January 2005. It was announced in June 2005 that the site was to be sold, probably for redevelopment.

1871 - 1929 Catalogue

See Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Co: 1871 - 1929 Catalogue.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • L. A. Ritchie, The Shipbuilding Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (1992)
  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss