Shipping and river traffic on the Tees c1900

s41Tees paddle ferry River Queen passing the shipyards and quayside, Stockton, several rowing boats and ships are also visible.

The shipyard seen was owned by Henry Markham in 1828, then by Pearse & Co., then in 1856 by Pearse & Lockwood, then by Ropners in 1894, closing in 1928.

14 thoughts on “Shipping and river traffic on the Tees c1900

  1. Although it is sad that Stockton has lost a once great industry.The shipyards of this era and earlier were not a pleasant or safe place to work.Among the main trades in the iron shipbuilding yards were the platers and rivetters.These men were usually paid a set amount for the number of plates that they attached to the ships.Out of this money they were expected to pay their own helpers,this meant finding people who would accept a low wage.Up until 1880 it was not compulsory for children under the age of ten to attend school and as such many were sent out to work.Many boys could be found working in shipyards as bellows operators to heat the ships rivets.These are two tragic stories which happened in the shipyard of Pearse & Lockwood,Stockton;Leeds Mercury 24 June 1865 – A boy named James Smith,aged ten years,employed as a bellows blower at the yard of Pearse & lockwood died after falling from a plank laid across the main deck of a large vessel in the process of being built.His body was recovered from the bottom of the ship.He was the son of Thomas Smith,sawyer,residing in West Row ;York Herald 13 January 1866 – A boy named Andrew Murray,age nine years,employed as a bellows blower at messrs.Pearse and Co.s iron shipyard,has died after an accident at the yard.He was struck by an iron plate which was being fixed to the side of a ship,but slipped and fell to the ground.Murray was emerging from underneath the vessel when he was struck on the head.He died the following day.He was the son of Mr Murray,greengrocer of Stockton.

    Like

    • This stirred a chord…as a teenage girl my own mother worked as a rivet-catcher in the yards on the Wear in the second world war. Her job was to catch the white hot rivets, thrown to her from the furnace by the rivet-heater, and then running to the point on the ship to where she had to place the rivets in the holes in the ship’s plates to be hammered into a dome-shaped head by the rivetters…

      Like

  2. In 1860-61 Pearse & Lockwood built a large paddle steamer for the government,by order of the secratary of state for India in council.She was to be used for carrying troops in the Lower Indus.The ship was constructed using steel plates. After being built at Stockton she was taken to pieces and sent to London where she was rebuilt on the Thames. Here the ship was launched, in February 1861, and given the name “Talpore”. After trials the ship was again taken to pieces and sent to India where she was reconstructed for service. The Talpore was 375 ft long and had bed accomodation for 800 troops. I believe a model of the ship was on display in Preston Hall Museum. A pub near to the Tees barrage also bears the ships name.

    Like

  3. I think the size given for the engines fitted to the “Chilian” in the newspaper article I took it from must have been a type error.35 horse power for such a large ship seems very small.350 horse power seems a more adequate figure.I don`t know if anyone could confirm this?

    Like

  4. In April 1862 Pearse, Lockwood & Co. launched an iron paddle steamer ,”intended for the Tees passenger traffic,carried on by the Messrs. Dixon”.The steamer was named the “Prince Of Wales”.

    Like

  5. The North Shore Shipyard, as it was generally known, was for many years the leading producer of ships on the Tees. On 7 september 1865 Pearse & Lockwood launched the largest vessel built, up to that time, on the river. The “Chilian”,an iron screw steamer, was built for The British Steam Navigation Company. Measuring 355 ft 6 in length,42 ft breadth and with a tonnage of 2,845, she was fitted out for seventy first class passengers to ply the South American trade.Her engines (35 horse power) were built by Fossick & Hackworth of Stockton.

    Like

  6. Just behind the large ship at the top centre of the photograph are the shear legs of Blair`s engine works.These were used to hoist the engines that were to be fitted to the ships.In early April 1880 there was a mishap at the shear legs whilst the newly launched steamer S.S. Brantford City was in the process of being engined.As the propellor shaft was being lowered horizontally into the hold the chains slipped and the shaft,a very heavy piece of iron,assumed a perpendicular position and,further slipping the chains,fell end wise with great force,and knocked a large hole through the bottom of the vessel which immediately sank. Divers worked for a fortnight on repairs before,on the 22 April, the ship was successfully raised.Eventually Blair & Co. fitted her 200 H.P. steam engines and she made her trial trip on 25 May 1880.The S.S. Brantford city had been built by W.Gray & Co. of Hartlepool for T.Furness & Co.,Hartlepool.At the time she was the largest vessel launched at Hartlepool.T.Furness & Co. had her built for the American cattle trade,she was able to hold 500 head of cattle and 1,250 sheep.

    Like

    • The sheer legs were erected in 1887,and were capable of lifting loads up to 100 tons.Blair`s engine works closed in 1932.The sheer legs were partly destroyed by fire in 1933

      Like

  7. A sad occurence struck the River Queen in February 1888. Charles bainbridge, aged 26, fireman onboard the steamer was drawing water in a bucket to damp the furnace when he went missing, presumed fallen overboard on a stretch of the river between Blue House point and the Engine Sheds. Two days later his body was recovered on this stretch by a number of men, amongst whom was his brother Richard Bainbridge, with grappling irons. Even though many people lived around and worked on the river at this time many never learned to swim.

    Like

  8. The river at the time of this photo must have been a very busy place. In addition to messrs Duncan, passenger steamboats were also operated by George & John Thomas Dixon of Stockton. Then in 1878 a London based company, The Imperial Tramway Company, started to run a passenger carrying steam launch, named the ‘Planet’, from Middlesbrough to Stockton. The companies were meant to adhere to a timetable but in 1878 Henry Duncan, master of the steamboat ‘River Queen’ was found guilty of obstructing the ‘Planet’ at the Newport landing. In 1881 The Imperial Tramways Company took over two steamers, the ‘Citizen’ and ‘Forget-Me-Not’ from messrs Dixon of Stockton. 29/03/2012 18:19:43

    Like

  9. The role of the Royal Navy`s China Station was to protect British trading interests in the region, particularly from Chinese pirates. As a gunboat HMS Hornet was able to navigate far up river. On arrival in China her armament had been increased to four guns. During the eleven years she was in China she was stationed at Amoy, Foochow and Shanghai. HMS Hornet was paid off and re-commissioned twice at Hong Kong(in 1871 & 1876). In 1877 whilst at Amoy there was a cholera outbreak onboard and two Marines died. Among her commanders were – Commander D.C Davidson(1869), Commander N Osborn(1872), Commander O.S.Cameron(1874), Commander Grosvenor Stepford(1875), Commander H.N. Hippisley(1876), Commander John S. Eaton(1878).21/03/2012 16:19:14

    Like

  10. The passenger steamer River Queen was owned by Messrs Duncan. It transported people from a landing stage on the quayside in Stockton to one at Newport. Messrs Duncan also owned a similar boat called The Royal Charlie. In December 1878 both boats were making their journies in a dense fog when they collided at a point close to Pearses shipyard. The River Queen ran into the side of The Royal Charlie completely smashing one of her paddle boxes. There were no reported injuries fortunately.14/03/2012 15:12:16

    Like

  11. In 1867-68 Pearse and Lockwood built a double screw composite gunboat for the government. The vessel was launched on 10 March 1868 and named Her Majesty`s Gunboat Hornet. Composite boats were boats with an iron framework and timber planked outer shell. After initial fitting out she moved to Portsmouth in May 1868. In December 1868 she was commissioned into the Royal Navy and in January 1869 sailed for China,where she remained as part of the Royal Navy`s China Station until 1880. In early 1880 she set off on the long journey (which included a stop over in Malta for patching up)back to Portsmouth to be paid off. In 1888 Hornet was advertised in a sale of the Navy`s old boats. From May to August 1889 the Hornet was broken up and advertisements appeared in The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle for the sale of ships timber and other materials from, amongst others, the Hornet. The Hornet was fitted with 120 Horse power steam engines and had an armament of two guns(one 100 pounder,and one 64 pounder). Her weight was given as 464 Tons.06/03/2012 13:37:56

    Like

    • In 1873 M.Pearse & Co,Stockton-On-Tees, built an iron screw tender for the Royal Navy.It was launched 11 August and christened the “Shamrock”.It must have been a well built vessel as I believe it was transferred to the Irish government in 1923.

      Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.