THE SUNDERLAND SITE - PAGE 059
SHIPBUILDERS - PAGE 14
On this page ... Ferguson, Frater, Fryer, Gales, Gardner & Hodgson & Gardner, William Gray, Greenhill's, T. W. Greenwell, Gulston, Hardcastle John, Hardcastle P., Hardie, Hutchinson, page bottom (Mount Vesuvius).
Copyright? (1 + 1 + 3 + 14 + 1 = 20) Test.
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Corrections in any of the material which follows, however tiny, would be most welcome. And additions, of course!
I really know nothing about 'Henry Ferguson' of Southwick, who was apparently a shipbuilder in 1840. All I know is what I have seen, i.e. an eBay item in Apl. 2011 where Henry Sidey, son of James Sidey, a Berwick upon Tweed cabinet maker, was apprenticed, in 1840, to Henry Ferguson of Southwick in the County of Durham, Ship Builder, to learn the art of ship building. With a fine image of the document itself (below).
Can you tell us more about 'Ferguson', perhaps exactly where they were located, & for how long they were in business. The eBay item, which was offered by 'friend of the site' Stephen Murray, i.e. vendor 'atlantic-fox', sold for GBP 31.00.
He may have been in business for a short time only. I say that because there is no reference to him in the 1848/49 edition of 'North of England Maritime Directory, Shipping Register and Commercial Advertiser' (available via 'Google Books'), which contains an extensive list of Sunderland shipbuilders. The only reference that just may 'fit', is here, but with no words that described his occupation.
Reuben Charlton, in a guestbook message in late Jul. 2011, refers to George Frater & his partners having built ships at Ayres Quay. The firm was in business, apparently, for about a decade, from 1830 to 1841 when the firm went bankrupt. Reuben indicates that George Frater was his great great grandfather & that the James W. Corder Manuscripts contain detail about a number of the ships that the firm built.
'George Frater & Co.' would seem to have built about 7,200 tons of ship construction, which would then have comprised roughly 20 ships.
Reuben has now kindly provided extracts of the 'George Frater and Co. - Ayres Quay' pages of the Corder Manuscripts. The extracts list 17 vessels 'from the Custom House Records' & there may well be additional vessels not 'Corder' listed. Reuben has also provided additional biographical data & data about the bankruptcy of 'George Frater & Co', on April 7, 1841. From such data & from other sources, the following would seem to summarize what the webmaster understands to be the history:-
In 1824, George Frater, with I am advised 7 partners, were building ships at Ayres Quay. George was likely a junior partner since the firm would seem to have been known as 'Kirkbride, Carruthers'. His partners would have included Kirkbride, Ralph Todd, John Marrington & presumably also Carruthers. In 1830, that 1924 partnership came to an end, & three of the partners continued to build ships at Ayres Quay, namely George Frater, Ralph Todd, & John Marrington, in business, it would appear, as 'George Frater and Co.' In 1838 Ralph Todd left the partnership. The remaining partners, i.e. George Frater & John Marrington, carried on the business. There was a slump, Reuben advises, in 1840 & on Apl. 7, 1841 'Frater and Company' went bankrupt. As you can read here.
Reuben adds that George Frater married Christiana Todd, a daughter of Ralph Todd. The Ralph Todd in the partnership may accordingly have been Frater's father-in-law or brother-in-law. John Marrington, it would seem, was born in 1792, & was initially a keelman. He married Elizabeth Donnison & in the Sunderland Holy Trinity parish registers in 1844, at the time of the baptism of a son, he is stated to be a river pilot. His new career, it would seem, after the 1841 bankruptcy. In the 1851 census he was stated to be a Trinity House pensioner, at age 59.
The ships built by George Frater & Co.? Note that re a few of the ships, I have amended the Corder data (sorry Mr. Corder!) based upon the data contained in two available editions of Lloyd's Register (ex Google Books) - those re 1836/37 & 1842/43. Such registers seem most likely to be accurate data sources.
Vessels by year of first registry:- 1831, Eleanor, 1832 Manico, 1833 Comet, 1834 George Marsden, Vigilant, 1835 Duchess of Kent, Prince George, Princess Victoria, 1836 Leadbitter, Sarah Nicholsen, 1838 England, Rainbow, 1839 Lady Williamson, Messenger, 1840 Eleanor, Minstrel
I have not included Dodine, stated by Corder to have been built in 1839, since I can at present not find the vessel listed in Lloyd's Register.
Hopefully we can soon list in detail re more of the above vessels, with such data as is WWW available.
A wooden 'snow'. Referred to by 'Corder' as owned by or maybe built for J. B. Ord. Vessel not listed at Miramar. The webmaster has a few editions of Lloyd's Register available to him from 'Google' books, see left. The vessel seems not to be recorded in the 1848/49 or 1852/53 editions of Lloyd's, at least as Minstrel. Perhaps the vessel had met its end by then, though it is possible that the vessel was sold & is recorded under a new name. Was built for Ord & Co., maybe J. B. Ord, of Sunderland, for the Indian trade. Ord? There was i) a Robert Ord, a shipowner, in 1831, who owned two 'Gale' vessels recorded here, built in 1819 & 1831 respectively, ii) a William Ord, a Member of Parliament, perhaps of Newcastle. And iii) I refer re Madeline, built 1860, to 'W. Ord & Co.', of Sunderland, possibly of Bishopwearmouth, re trade with South America. The available data is fragmentary indeed but may help others searching for the vessel. Need help to progress further!
So far I know nothing about 'Fryer' of Sunderland, not even their proper name, & refer to them here only because I have spotted references to vessels being broken up by 'Fryer'. Royal Navy Destroyer HMS Basilisk was one such vessel, said to have been sold on Nov. 1, 1921 to 'Fryer', of Sunderland, to be broken up. HMS Blanche, a light cruiser built 1909, was another such vessel, stated to have been sold to 'Fryer' in Jul. 1921. Can you tell us more about 'Fryer', perhaps where they were located, & how long they were in business. Presumably as ship breakers.
Shipbuilding yards, building wooden ships, existed at Hylton in the late 18th century. Thanks to data kindly provided by Peter Kirsopp & now also by Simon Gales (thank you both!) we are able to summarise the 'Gales' shipbuilding history hopefully more accurately than before.
But first an image, a partial image only, adjusted somewhat for better presentation on this page, of the 'Gales' ship yard in or about 1825/1835. It is but a portion of a larger print, surely partial also, (visible here), perhaps from a contemporary directory or advertisement. Should you have available to you the complete print, do let the webmaster know. The site visitor who kindly provided what I offer today would love to have a print more complete.
Simon Gales advises, that William Gales (1782/1838) & John M. (Mowbray) Gales (1784/1858), his younger brother, started the first 'Gales' yard in 1810/12 - to build a ship for John White (launched in 1813). William Gales had earlier worked for Edward Potts & John M. Gales had worked at another yard. Interestingly, as noted elsewhere in these pages, Mr. George Bartram, the founder of Bartrams, was, at the age of 11 & an orphan, apprenticed at the Hylton yard of 'W. & J. Gales'. That would have been in 1811. Interestingly also, both of the Gales brothers married daughters of Thomas Lawson. Thomas Robson, was an apprentice at a yard there in about 1770, which yard later became owned by William Potts (the Elder), & later was inherited from William by Edward & William Potts & then became the 'Gales' yard. But .. Simon Gales is not sure that was so. The 'Gales' yard may have been that previously owned by Edward & William Potts, or instead may have been a new facility. (It would seem that Edward Potts was a drinker & as a result could not deliver his ships on time). In passing, I note that Thomas Robson's son, (Mr. Robson of Claxheugh), was a ship builder also it would seem. I presume, from that wording, that his yard was at Claxheugh which is on the River Wear, near Ford, South Hylton.
'Mr. Gales, sen.', which per Simon Gales means William Gales (1782/1838), 'built no less than 212 ships during the period from 1812 to his retirement in 1845' (Per 'The Nautical Magazine', 1852, a 'Google' book, here, at page 583 - but that book seems no longer to be available, so here is what it said.) However, that data is in some doubt, particularly since William Gales would seem to have died in 1838. The retirement date of 1845 likely relates to John M. (Mowbray) Gales. Simon Gales believes that the 200 plus ships were rather built by all of the 'Gales'. In its time, the 'Gales' yard was the biggest employer at Hylton, along with Dawson's Pottery.
John M. (Mowbray) Gales eventually started up another yard on the opposite side of the river Wear, but in addition to rather than in competition with the first 'Gales' yard. In fact, the families lived together, in the same mansion, i.e. Ford Lodge, as well as Ford Cottage nearby.
Peter Kirsopp advises that John & William Gales were in 1828 listed in Whites Directory as shipbuilders at Hilton Ferry. And presumably mainly from later census data:- In 1841, John M. (Mowbray) Gales was living at Ford Lodge, a short step from the Leopard shipbuilding yard and graving dock at South Hylton. By 1851 he is described as ship owner, still at Ford Lodge. At that date, his elder son Lawson Gales (1822/1856), 30 years old, was carrying on the shipbuilding tradition, employing 66 men and 13 boys. While Thomas Charles Gales (1833/1883), his 18 year old son, was a shipwright. By 1861, only two widows & another William (1826/1868), an unmarried middle son of John M., & a ship owner, are still at Ford Lodge.
In 1852, the yard was owned, by Lawson Gales. The only other snippet of data that has come to my attention is that there was an 'L. Gales' listed in 1857 as a shipbuilder at Hylton (presumably that was Lawson Gales, who actually died in 1856). And at the same date an 'L. and T. C. Gales' also, in Sunderland, but with no yard location stated. Most probably. T. C. Gales is the Thomas Charles Gales referred to above. In business with Lawson Gales, his brother.
Lawson Gales would seem to have died very young - at age 35, while Thomas Charles Gales retired from shipbuilding in 1861, at age 28.
The shipbuilding business would seem to have come to an end a few years later, perhaps because of the greater capital requirements of building in iron.
Peter Kirsopp additionally advises that Lawson Gales certainly died at Stockton in 1856 (his wife came from Stockton & his elder daughter was born there). And Thomas Charles Gales, who may have continued to build ships for a while after his brother died, had by 1861 moved to the small rural village of Bishop Monckton, North Yorkshire, being described then as a retired shipbuilder (at age 28). And perhaps then a ship owner.
'L. and T. C. Gales', (note that the 'L' in the name, i.e. Lawson Gales, had died in 1856 so presumably Thomas Charles Gales must have kept the old business name after his brother died), apparently built 2 ships in 1857, Chillian Packet of 331 tons registered at London, & Lizzie Scott a barque of 453 tons, registered at Sunderland. Here & here. (Per 'Christie's Shipping Register....' of 1858, a 'Google' book that used to be available here).
Frances, the widow of Lawson Gales, was, I am advised, running a lodging house in Sunderland, in 1861.
Such data is quite 'fragmentary'. And quite confusing, alas. We thank Peter Kirsopp & Simon Gales, who between them have kindly provided most of it. But it is all that I now have. Can you help by adding more about the history of Hylton shipbuilders named 'Gales'?
To help in understanding how all the various 'Gales' fit into the picture, Simon Gales has provided the following chart - of the children of both William and John Mowbray Gales.
A build list of ships built by the many shipbuilders named 'Gales' is now on site, transcribed from a list provided by Simon Gales. Here, at page 144. However, the data is partial today, since only a part of the data has yet been transcribed. Hopefully it can be made complete very soon.
A wooden 'snow', later a brig. Per 1 ('Irish Shipwrecks', wreck & history data, Ariosto, incl. contemporary newspaper articles), 2 (ownership data, Ariosto, in 'Christies Shipping Register ...' for 1858), 3 (Ariosto wreck ref. 40% down). Signal letters JDMC. The webmaster has Lloyd's Registers available ex Google books - see left. In all of the 1855/56 thru 1860/61 Lloyd's Registers, 'Cropton &' was the listed owner. That it would seem means 'Cropton & Co.' i.e. Cropton & others - in 1858 'Christies' records the vessel as then being owned by 'Thomas Bull of London & Thos. Cropton, of Sunderland. Turnbull's Shipping Register for 1856 lists Ariosta (not Ariosto) as being owned by S. T. Bell of London and T. Cropton of Sunderland. I note in passing that there are a number of listing references to the vessel being named 'Ariosto of London' rather than Ariosto. An example. It would seem that the vessel traded with Oporto, Portugal. On Mar. 12, 1861, per line 1137 here, the 295 ton brig was stranded near 'Milltown', while en route from Limerick to Philadelphia. Crew of 10 - 4 lost. Vessel then stated to be owned by Thomas Cropton. In late Feb. 1861 or early in Mar. 1961, the vessel, then described as a brig, left Limerick, Ireland, in ballast, bound for Philadelphia, U.S.A. Limerick is inland, & the vessel proceeded down the Shannon River towards the open sea. Encountering bad weather, it put into Scattery Roads for three days. Scattery Roads is a relatively sheltered anchorage off the coast of County Clare, Ireland, in the Shannon estuary, S. of Kilrush. William Tullock was in command, with a crew of 10 all told, one of whom was a 14 year old boy. Possibly that should be 11 aboard her - a deserter was found on board after they put out to sea. The ship should best have stayed longer at Scattery Roads! But it did not. It proceeded to sea, on Mar. 9, 1861, but did not make it very far. At 2 o'clock a.m. on Mar. 12, 1861, after battling thru appalling weather conditions, the vessel was driven onto rocks at Crane Point near Miltown, which seems to truly mean Cream Point, Miltown Malbay, located on the Atlantic coast of County Clare. At 52.52N/09.26W. 1 adds at 'White Strand'. 3 states at 'Little Creek'. Located about 20 miles N. of Scattery Roads, as the crow flies but 45 or so miles NE of the mouth of the Shannon. A giant sea swept the decks & the Captain was lost in the boiling surf. A heavy sea drove the ship over a rocky reef. She ended up on rocks surrounded by her spars, ribs & other assorted debris - a 'complete' or total shipwreck. Only six were left aboard at this point, including the 14 year old. The first mate jumped from the stern of the ship, almost perpendicular & separated from the main hull, then high & dry 100 yards inland, & safely reached a rock. Via a rope thrown to him, the others made it one by one to shore, however the 14 year old lost his grip on the rope, fell into the boiling sea & was lost. So only 5 survived of the crew of 10. They made it to the warmth & safety of a nearby coastguard station. One of the 5, an American, had amazingly been wrecked 3 times in the previous 4 months. The wreck? Such as it was, it was sold within days, to 4 local citizens. Have I summarised the story correctly? WWW data about the vessel is quite limited. Can you provide more?
Can you help with the history of this shipbuilder? Because I so far know little about him/them. Even if the two names that I have listed above are fully accurate. And if the names are in fact related.
I am kindly advised however, by Clive Hodgson, of the U.K., that the 'Hodgson' in the partnership was Cuthbert Hodgson (Oct. 6, 1809, born at sea/Oct. 19, 1877), the son of Cuthbert Hodgson, also a mariner, & Clive's GGG grandfather. He owned & was the Master of Empress of Sunderland for several years. But, written now many years later in 2013, I think that that reference correctly is to Empress, of the port of Sunderland, rather than Empress of Sunderland. Hodgson is shown in Lloyd's Registers as being the master of Empress from 1839/40 thru 1848/49. Empress was registered thru those years in the name of Hutchinson of Sunderland & became owned by Hodgson in 1848/49. The family then surely must have liked the name of Cuthbert ~ because he had a son also of that name, also a ship's Master. So three generations with an identical name! And the 'Gardner' in the partnership was indeed James Gardner. Thanks so much, Clive, for that interesting data. Perhaps one day we will hear from a descendent of 'Gardner'?
Charles Hodgson has been in touch, in July 2015, to advise that Hodgson & Gardner also built ships at Hartlepool. Charles believes that Cuthbert Hodgson, i.e. the Hodgson of the shipbuilding partnership, was his great great grandfather. He notes that the name of Cuthbert has continued into further generations - Cuthbert is Charles's middle name.
Clive Hodgson also provided some considerable historical data about Empress of Sunderland, or, I rather believe Empress of Sunderland, which data, however, does not include where she was built.
Hodgson & Gardner are recorded as building, in 1856, John Robinson & Dorothy of 445 & 235 tons respectively. And in 1857, Emblem, Il Trovatore, & Isabel, of 253, 142 & 351 tons, respectively.
Names of just a few of the vessels constructed by 'Gardner' of Sunderland - as I happen to spot references to them. In a table in build date sequence.
471 (or 476) tons
A wooden barque, with iron beams. Referred to at 1 & 2 (identical data, Fugitive), 3 (launch of vessel, at page bottom), 4 (an 1867 voyage from Launceston with wool, wheat etc.), 5 (Norwegian data, ex a site no longer available), 6 (Norwegian data). 7 (1884 sinking reference at page bottom). The webmaster has a number of editions of Lloyd's Register available to him from 'Google' books, see left. There are many references to the vessel at Trove, Australia. 144.2 ft. long, signal letters WGNQ & HVNM. The vessel was built for T. B. Walker & Co. ('Walker'), (Thomas Boss Walker), of London & registered at London. It would seem that Walker owned the vessel thru 1878, & further that W. R. Barwood ('Barwood') was her captain thru 1876, when he became the captain of Lanoma, also a Walker vessel, & built by Austin & Hunter at Sunderland in 1876. The vessel saw service initially to Launceston, (i.e. Tasmania) then to Australia & from 1872/73 to Van Diemen Land (an early name for Tasmania). I spotted a brief ref. to the vessel arriving there in Jan. 1875. In Apl. 1878, the vessel was sold to 'J. Chr. Larssøn m.fl.', of Arendal, Norway, & became Anders Dedekam. With captains J. C. Larssøn & later P. T. Larrsøn. It would seem the vessel sank, off Newfoundland, in Aug. 1884. Link 5 provided the following Norwegian text which proves to be difficult to WWW translate - '8/1884: påseolt den 14/8 av et engelsk dampskip ved Newfoundland og sank'. Which may mean that the vessel was in collision with a steamship, & sank as a result. The final link above advises us that, in fact, the vessel was hit & sunk by Benmore on Aug. 14, 1884 & that all of her crew were safely aboard that steamer & landed - at Washington (near Washington D.C.?), U.S.A. Need help!
449 (later 448, 461 & 480) tons
A wooden barque with iron beams. Per 1 & 2 (1866 maiden voyage to Launceston & its cargo), 3 & 4 (identical data), 5 (Dec. 13, 1881 arrival at Launceston), 6 (death of T. B. Walker, on Mar. 29, 1885). 145.0 ft. long but length varies per Lloyd's Registers at left from 145.0 to 146.7 ft., signal letters KMFB & later H?SMJ. The vessel was built for T. B. Walker & Co., (Thomas Boss Walker) of London, noted for their regular service to Tasmania & particularly for returning with wool. Registered at London. A great many references to the vessel at 'Trove', Australia. The vessel left Gravesend, river Thames, London, on its maiden voyage, on Aug. 14, 1866 for Launceston, Tasmania, under the command of Captain Thomas B. Whittingham. It arrived on Nov. 23, 1866 after a voyage of 101 days, delayed by 'baffling' winds. The vessel, which left for London on Jan. 23, 1867, arrived there on Apl. 27, 1867 with a cargo mainly of wool but also 1,802 bags of ground bark. A great many subsequent voyages to Launceston. e.g. it left for London on Feb. 2, 1869 with 1,708 bales of wool & 900 bags of bark. And left on Jan. 26, 1870 with 1,484 bales of wool & 2,014 bags of bark. The vessel often carried tin in ingots on its return voyage to London. H. Barfield became her Captain, I believe in 1879 when appointed in Launceston, & by Apl. 1880, Alexander Findlay was her Captain. After an 1881 92 day voyage from Launceston, the vessel was overhauled & re-coppered at London with new decks installed. She arrived back at Launceston in Dec. 1881 after a passage of 86 days ex London. Captain Findlay died at Launceston in late Feb. 1885, at age 46, after a long illness (dropsy & heart disease). The vessel left Launceston for the last time, on Apl. 18, 1885, under the command of G. P. Brown, previously the vessel's chief mate. Note - Whittingham, along with 11 others, was drowned in the wreck of Lanoma (loss report) in Mar. 1888. The 1885/86 edition of Lloyd's Register records the vessel as sold to C. Henckel of Helsingborg, Sweden, presumably as a result of the death of T. B. Walker on Mar. 29, 1885. The vessel stayed in such ownership thru 1894/95, the last edition of Lloyd's Register I am able to access. I am not aware of what finally happened to the vessel. I need help!
Nelly & Mathilda
A composite (wood on an iron frame) barque. That had a long life (71 years), & many owners, names (& collisions!) Per 1 (extensive data & their sources, thanks to Lars Bruzelius). 153.3 ft. long, 46.09 metres, signal letters HNSC. The webmaster has a number of editions of Lloyd's Register available to him from 'Google' books, thru 1889/90 - see left. Built by 'James Gardner' for John Hay of London. Involved in the tea trade thru May, 1873, it would seem, & traded between New York & ports in the Far East (Hong Kong, Japan (Yokohama), & China (Foochow, Canton & Shanghai). In 1873, or 'about 1875', the vessel was sold to Balfour, Williamson & Co., of Liverpool, & mainly used in the Australian trade. In 1881, the ship saved the crew of the sinking barque Standard Bearer in the North Atlantic. In 1885, the vessel was owned by J. S. Davis of Liverpool. It was laid up in Princes Dock, Liverpool, until she was sold, in 1887, to Elias Theodor Norrman, of Malmö, Sweden, (who became her master for a number of years), & renamed Nelly & Mathilda. Became 151.1 ft. long only. On Apl. 8, 1894, the vessel was in collision with Bravo (of Höganäs, Sweden) off Smygehuk, Sweden. A voyage to the Wear in 1897 with pit props. The vessel collided again, on Aug. 13, 1900 - on this occasion with steamship Agne of Stockholm - at the entrance to Landskrona, Sweden. In 1901, Edward Jansson of Malmö, Sweden, became the managing owner. On Jul. 27, 1907 the vessel was involved in another collision, this time with Bonden, a barque, at Grimstad, Norway - the vessel suffered a broken bowsprit which took more than a month to repair. That collision was the subject of a court case, I see. On Mar. 14, 1916, the vessel was sold - 'to Ola Olsson, Åhus, together with Carl Johansson, Kalmar, and Nils Friberg, Visby'. And was sold again, a couple of weeks later, on Mar. 30, 1916, to 'Björknäs Aktiebolaget' ('Björknäs'), (Gustav Erstad), of Björknäs, Sweden. In 1917, after damage to her rigging, she was re-rigged as a barquentine. Have read that Björknäs, went into liquidation in 1922 & the vessel was then sold - to Eliel Henricksson of Mariehamn, Finland - data which is not confirmed at 1. In 1923, 'AB Hampion' became her owner & on Dec. 22, 1924 the vessel was sold again, for 7750 Swedish Crowns, to Johan O. Holmström, of Ramsjöstrand, Sweden. In Apl. 1926, the vessel was sold, for 9625 Swedish Crowns, to V. A. Engblom & F. Henriksson of Kumlinge, Finland. with Captain F. Henriksson, a shareholder also, & was renamed Frideborg. A regular trader to Yarmouth & other U.K. ports. In 1934, the vessel was sold again, to Valdemar Nordlund of Mariehamn. On Sep. 7, 1937, the vessel ran aground, off Kalix, Sweden (E. coast of Sweden at the northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia). While the damage was apparently slight, the vessel was condemned as a result. The cabin was brought ashore & served as a summer house! Can you add to and/or correct the above? Another image perhaps?
First a few images. Hover your mouse over each thumbnail to read the subject matter.
Can you help with the history of this shipbuilder? Because I so far know very little about them. They would appear, however, to mainly be shipbuilders from West Hartlepool, and per 'Miramar' they conducted business there in the above 3 names plus also, & probably earlier in time, 'Denton, Gray & Co.'. Miramar further lists the Sunderland facility as being either the 'Wear Shipyard of W. Gray & Co. (1918) Ltd.)' or 'William Gray & Co. Ltd.' Lloyd's Register records Knaresboro', later City of Windsor, as having been built by Wear Shipyard Ltd. of Sunderland.
So far as I can see from a quick read, one hull numbering system seems to have been used for the two facilities. In rough terms, it would seem that there were 'give or take' 35 vessels built at Sunderland & 1200 or so vessels were built at West Hartlepool. Hence the high hull numbers that will show below re Sunderland built vessels, built in the period of 1919 through 1930.
Thanks to Tony Frost, of Sunderland, I can now advise as follows:-
Wm. Gray's Sunderland yard at Pallion was originally set up by E-llerman, G-ray, I-nchcape & S-trick & was to be called the 'EGIS' yard to build Government war-time standard vessels. The name was changed to Wm. Gray 'Wear' yard because all the hulls were sub-contracted from their West Hartlepool yard where they were taken after launching to be completed (hence the continuity of contact numbers). A similar arrangement was used by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson's Southwick yard across the river. This give rise to the people of Sunderland's nick-name MAK'EMS and TAK'EMS, because we 'mak'em ower er' (make them over here) and 'tak'em ower ther' (take them over there). The first ships built there were originally ordered by the Shipping Controller & allocated the prefix WAR ...... but were sold on the stocks to private companies due to the end of WW1 hostilities.
Where exactly was the yard? With a bit of other history we can now address that question. Steel & Company Ltd., started in 1879, was a builders merchant that expanded into both heating & ventilation. In 1939 they purchased Henry J. Coles Limited, a manufacturer of cranes. And then they bought, in 1939, what used to be the Egis shipyard at Pallion & renamed it the Crown Works - perhaps 'in recognition of the amount of Government work the expanded group was carrying out.' So the question for the webmaster became not only where was the Egis yard but also where was 'Crown Works'? And those questions are now answered - on the south bank of the river just west of Shorts & shown as 'Steel & Co. Ltd. Crown Works' at bottom left on this map.
Names of just a few of the vessels constructed by 'Gray' of Sunderland - as I happen to spot references to them. In a table in build date sequence. It will take a while to populate the list because it took 2 or 3 years of this site existing, to find a reference to my very first Sunderland built 'Gray' vessel.
Miramar lists re vessels built at Sunderland (highest hull number on page). It used to be that you could click on the links that follow & get to the relevant Miramar page. But no longer! The new procedure must be to go to Miramar (here) & log in (you must be registered to view any page). And once you are logged in, return to this page & all the following links should work for you:- 1019, 1037.
I should add that the two linked pages at Miramar advise that Gray built 37 vessels at Sunderland. However I am also advised that 'Shipbuilders of the Hartlepools', written by Bert Spaldin & published in 1986, provides a list of 'Gray' built ships with those built at Sunderland specifically identified. That Spaldin list contains 32 vessels only. Further there are modest discrepancies in the details between the two lists. Hence my 'give or take 35' words above. Perhaps in time the number will be clarified.
Tony Frost has now kindly provided his list of the 'Gray' vessels that were built at Sunderland. The following list is of vessels not already listed below (just 14 so far):-
War Owl/Golconda (931), War Bat/Garada (932), War Fly/Garbeta (933), War Moth/Jeypore (934), Nagina (941), Colorado (945), City of Salisbury (955), City of Bedford (960), Solon (972), Quebec City (991), Nohata (994), Thirlby (997), Alphacca (1004), Alpherat (1005), Prince Rupert City (1019), Tacoma City (1020), Vernon City (1021), Victoria City (1022), Glendene (1029), Lady Plymouth (1031), Veerhaven (1032), Delfshaven (1033), Atthis (1036). 37 names in total including the 14 listed below.
A few discrepancies again, [Miramar record additionally Karonga (942) & City of Athens (947) but exclude Tacoma City (1020) & Victoria City (1022)] - but good progress none the less.
1 City of Adelaide
A cargo ship. Per 1 [Hall Line, City of Adelaide (2)], 2 (Ellerman Line history), 3 (I-8), 4 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert City of Adelaide, but I cannot check the link), 5 (image), 6 (Mar. 30, 1944 sinking), 7 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 132.0 metres long perpendicular to perpendicular, 450 ft. 9 in., speed of 12 (or 11 1/2) knots. Built for Ellerman Lines Limited, of London, or maybe 'Ellerman's Hall Line', managed by Hall Line Limited, of Liverpool. I have seen a 1924 Australian newspaper ref. to 'Australian & American Line'. Can anybody explain that reference? 46 WW2 convoy references, including at least 2 N. Atlantic crossings, service to West Africa (Freetown, Takoradi), in Mediterranean (Port Said, Alexandria) in Indian Ocean (Aden, Bombay, Bandar Abbas, Khor Kwai - now Khor Khwair, United Arab Emirates) & many U.K. coastal. Likely in 1941 or 1942 (have not read the exact date), the vessel was in collision with Benmohr, in Ismail Basin, Port Said, Egypt. Both had local pilots aboard - there was contact between the port bows of both vessels. On Mar. 30, 1944, the vessel, Richard James Ross-Rickets in command, was en route, in ballast, from Karachi (then India, now Pakistan) to Fremantle, Western Australia. It was sunk (torpedoed & then gunned) by Japanese submarine I-8, Ariizumi Tatsunosuke ('Ariizumi') (his image) in command. At 12.01S/80.27E, in the Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean, SE of Diego Garcia. Ariizumi was known as the 'Butcher' for his treatment (slaughter) of seamen that he captured. James Hamilton has been in touch to advise that his father, James A. (Arthur) Hamilton, was the ship's 1st Radio Officer when it was sunk, & used to recount details of Japanese atrocities by submarine crews. However he never mentioned atrocities in connection with City of Adelaide. James has now provided a link to a site in which seaman Christopher Tulett advises exactly what happened to City of Adelaide. The ship was hit by a torpedo, late on Mar. 30, 1944, when silhouetted against the setting sun. Extensive gunfire followed. The crew were able to abandon the ship in 6 lifeboats, one of which was motorized. Darkness soon followed & the crew heard the diesel engines of the submarine as it searched for, but never found them (fortunately it did not use its searchlight). The crew were rescued, after 3 days at sea, roughly in the middle of the Indian Ocean, by Carole Lombard, a Liberty ship en route from Fremantle to Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Thank you, James! The crew were most fortunate not to have been found by Ariizumi - they likely would have all been slaughtered. Ariizumi massacred the crew of Tjisalak, (& here, 99 lives lost) & later committed suicide to avoid capture & trial for his crimes. Amazingly, he was posthumously promoted to Rear Admiral. Can you correct and/or add to the above?
8438 later 8867 (or 8806) tons
A cargo ship. Per 1 (Rotterdam Lloyd, Siantar), 2 (Rotterdam Lloyd history), 3 (Dutch page re sinking, 30% down), 4 (link 4 WWW translated), 5 (Dutch page, image), 6 (image, & -02 & -03), 7 (image), 8 & 9 (both I-1), 10 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'N.V. Rotterdamsche Lloyd' (Rotterdam Lloyd), of Rotterdam, Holland. ('W. Ruys & Zonen', the managers). 132.0 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 471 ft. 3 in., speed of 11 1/2 knots. Sister to Modjokerto. In 1934, the vessel was lengthened (where, I wonder?) to 143.6 metres, a diesel engine installed & the speed became 15 knots. The gross tonnage became 8867 or maybe 8806 tons. In early 1942, the vessel was at Tjilatjap, (now Cilacap), on the S. coast of Java. On Mar. 2, 1942, (or maybe Mar. 3), trying to reach Australia & about 800 miles S. of Tjilatjap (W. of Exmouth, West Australia, NW of Shark Bay), the vessel was torpedo attacked by Imperial Japanese Navy cruiser submarine I-1 (2135 tons), but the torpedo missed. I-1 surfaced & opened fire. Siantar took evasive action & returned fire but the gun jammed. A second shell resulted in a fire aboard Siantar. 30 hits & another torpedo later, Siantar sank by the stern. At 21.20S/108.45E. 21 lives were lost. 37 were rescued by Van Spielbergen. Have not read where they were landed. Can you correct or add to the above?
8396 (or 8381 or 8404.23) later 7080 & 8806 tons
A cargo ship. Per 1 [Rotterdam Lloyd, Modjokerto (1)], 2 (Rotterdam Lloyd history), 3 (Dutch page re sinking), 4 (link 3 WWW translated), 5 (discussion re sinking), 6 & 7 (Chikuma), 8 (image, also -03), 9 (Lloyds Register data, 1930/31 thru 1943/44, thanks to 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 10 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'N.V. Rotterdamsche Lloyd' (Rotterdam Lloyd), of Rotterdam, Holland, 'W. Ruys & Zonen', the managers. 132.0 metres long perpendicular to perpendicular, 480.1 ft. overall, speed of 13 knots. sister to Siantar, signal letters PMFM & PGAJ. In 1934, the vessel was lengthened (where, I wonder?) to 146.3 metres, a diesel engine installed & the speed became 15 1/2 knots. In Feb. 1942, the vessel was at Tjilatjap, (now Cilacap), Java. On Feb. 27, 1942, under the command of Captain J. Verhagen, the vessel left Tjilatjap bound initially for Colombo, Ceylon, (now Sri Lanka), with the intent of ultimately reaching Australia. About 250 miles SW of Tjilatjap, the vessel was sunk. At 12.40S/106.40E. 42 lives were lost. Some differences of opinion as to exactly what happened, which makes the following words most uncertain. It would seem, however, that the vessel was located at sea by a float-plane from the Japanese cruiser Chikuma & was intercepted by Chikuma & Tone, along with destroyers Kasumi & Shiranuhi. Was fired upon but escaped - in a damaged condition. The vessel was located again by Japanese submarine I-54 (later became I-154), which attacked with gunfire & torpedoes, & sank the vessel before noon on Mar. 1, 1942. The crew? It seems that the crew took to the lifeboats, were taken (by which ship? It looks, however, to have been I-54) to Celebes (now Sulawesi) & were there all executed. A mass grave was located in 1946 in Kendari, South Sulawesi, with the remains of some of those who were executed. Can you correct the above and/or add more?
A cargo ship. Per 1 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert Nalgora, but I cannot check the link), 2 ('uboat.net', sinking, Nalgora, image), 3 (image, Nalgora, also -01), 4 (image, Nalgora), 5 (data & image, 45% down), 6 (OBE awarded Captain Davies, 50% down), 7 (Lloyd's Register data, 1930/31 thru 1940/41, ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 8 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 132.0 metres long perpendicular to perpendicular (433.0 ft.), speed of 10 knots (10.9 knots at trials), capacity for 8 passengers, signal letters KMNT, later GFTS. Built for 'British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.', of London. Nalgora? A village in West Bengal, was India, now in Bangladesh. The vessel was engaged in trade to & from India. Many 'snippet' references to multiple arrivals in Australia. The vessel suffered a fire in No. 4 Shelter Deck, in a cargo of jute, on Feb. 27, 1927. Just 10 WW2 convoy references, including service to West Africa, a return voyage to the River Loire (France) in Sep. 1939 & U.K. coastal. In Mar. 1940, the vessel 'came under the Liner Division'. Can anybody explain the meaning of those words? On Dec. 19, 1940 Nalgora, under the command of Aubrey D. (Devereux) Davies, left Liverpool for Alexandria, Egypt, via Cape of Good Hope, with a cargo of boom defence gear ex Leith, Scotland. It was part of convoy OB-261 but dispersed from it on Dec. 22, 1940. At 10:07 p.m. on Jan. 2, 1941, proceeding independently, the vessel was hit by a single torpedo fired by U-65, Korvettenkapitän Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen in command. At 22.24N/ 21.11W, about 350 miles N. of the Cape Verde Islands, or 250 miles W. of Port-Étienne, French West Africa. The vessel listed sharply but did not immediately sink, & while all aboard were trying to evacuate the vessel in 5 lifeboats, Nalgora was fired upon by 70 rounds of U-65's deck gun. The vessel sank in 20 minutes. There were 105 aboard including 3 passengers. All were later saved, 52 being picked up by Nolisement & landed at Freetown, Sierra Leone, while 34 were picked up, at 21.35N/20.59W, by Umgeni & were later landed at Glasgow on Jan. 13, 1941. The final 19, all crew members, safely reached San Antonio, Cape Verde, in a lifeboat & possibly then were transferred to Freetown. I have read (correct?) that the date that they reached Cape Verde was also Jan. 13, 1941. Captain Davies was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his actions that resulted in the saving of 26 lives. Can you correct the above and/or add more?
7218 later 7247 tons
City of Windsor
A cargo ship. Per 1 (Ellerman & Bucknall, Knaresboro'), 2 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert City of Windsor, but I cannot check the link), 3 ('May 13th, 1942, Atlantic Ocean', Denpark), 4 (image, City of Windsor, also -01 & -03), 5 (Lloyd's Register data, 1930/31 thru 1945/46, ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 6 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'Ellerman & Bucknall Steamship Co. Limited', of Glasgow. 136.4 metres long perpendicular to perpendicular, 447 ft. 5 in., speed of 12 knots, signal letter KPSL, later GJYR. In 1926, the vessel was renamed City of Windsor. Registered at London. 59 WW2 convoy references, including, it would seem, at least 6 N. Atlantic crossings (data at 2 is confusing, especially since I am not permitted to access independent voyages), extensive service into the Mediterranean (Malta, Italy, Piraeus, Port Said & Alexandria), to South Africa (Cape Town, Durban) & West Africa (Freetown). On May 13, 1942, the vessel was in Convoy SL 109, bound from Takoradi, Ghana, West Africa, to Liverpool. Denpark, also in that convoy, was hit & sunk by a torpedo fired by U-128. At 22.28N/28.10W, 300 miles NW of the Cape Verde islands. The vessels City of Windsor & Nordlys, combined, rescued 25 Denpark survivors (22 crew & 3 gunners). Denpark's Master & 20 of her crew were lost. I have been able to WWW find very little about City of Windsor's WW2 service. However, an eBay listing stated that the vessel's 'profile was unique in the Ellerman Group'. And that it was 'involved in many of the evacuations and troop carrying during WWII including Salerno'. It also indicated 'back in commercial use in 1944' but there are convoy references thru Apl. 1945. Can you expand upon those words? And explain the reference to 'profile'. The vessel arrived at Briton Ferry on Jul. 14, 1953, to be broken up. Anything to add or correct?
A cargo ship. Per 1 ('British India', Naringa), 2 image, Naringa, also -01), 3 (image, Naringa, link at right), 4 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert Naringa, but I cannot check the link), 5 (1923 collision with Muritai), 6 (Lloyd's Register data, 1930/31 thru 1945/46, ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 7 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 132.0 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 433.0 ft., speed of 10 knots, with accommodation for 8 passengers, signal letters KNVP later GJTX. Built, at a cost of £283,600 for 'The British India Steam Navigation Company Limited' of London. Naringa? WWW references to the name are few but the name may well originate with a river of the name in the then Indian state of Hyderabad. Is that the correct origin of the name? In Aug. 1923, the vessel was slightly damaged when in collision with Muritai, a ferry steamer, at Eastbourne, New Zealand. Naringa was repaired at Bombay, India. And in the first days of Jan. 1925, the vessel was in collision, at Port Said, with the Dutch steamer Celebes. The vessel was engaged in trade to & from India & from 1935 commenced service between India & Australian ports. 13 WW2 convoy references, all in the Indian Ocean (Bombay, Colombo, Suez, Bandar Abbas, Durban, Trincomalee, Karachi). Presumably her WW2 service was mainly independent. While I have not read the detail, the vessel was apparently damaged by a fire in 1948, was sold to 'BISCO' (British Iron & Steel Company, then an arm of the British Government, but now owned by Tata, of India) & on Aug. 6, 1948 arrived at Rosyth, Firth of Forth, Scotland, to be broken up. WWW data re this vessel is most limited. Can you add more? Another image?
7 City of Delhi
A cargo ship. Per 1 ['Ellermann's City Line', City of Delhi, (4)], 2 (data & fine image, 40% down, City of Delhi), 3 (image, City of Delhi), 4 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert City of Delhi, but I cannot check the link), 5 (image, City of Delhi, also -02), 6 (Lloyd's Register data, 1931/32 thru 1945/46, ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 7 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 469 ft. 0 in. long (142.95 metres) overall, 450.5 ft. long (137.3 metres) perpendicular to perpendicular, speed of 12 1/2 knots, signal letters KSWL later GLBW. Built for 'Ellerman Lines Ltd.' of London & Glasgow, 'The City Line Ltd.', of Glasgow, the managers. The vessel was engaged in trade to Calcutta, Bombay, Karachi & other ports in then India ex Glasgow, Liverpool & London. 42 WW2 convoy references, including, I believe, just 1 N. Atlantic crossing, service into the Mediterranean & into the Indian Ocean. It would appear that the vessel spent much of the war in Australian & New Zealand waters & into the Indian Ocean & Caribbean also. In Aug. 1943, when at Bizerta, Tunisia, the vessel was attacked from the air - a crewman was wounded. The vessel was sold to 'British Iron and Steel Corporation (Salvage), Ltd.', of London, & on May 28, 1957 arrived at their Bo'ness, Firth of Forth, ship breaking facilities, to be broken up. WWW data re this vessel is most limited. Can you add more? Another image?
4550 (or 4561) tons
A cargo ship. Per 1 (construction data available), 2 (French page, d'Orbigny), 3 (link 3 WWW translated), 4 (Lloyd's Register data, Platon, 1930/31 thru 1945/46 ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 5 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'Compagnie de Navigation d'Orbigny', of La Rochelle, France, which company linked Bristol, U.K., with French English Channel (La Manche) ports. 122.0 metres long (400.0 ft.) perpendicular to perpendicular, speed of 10 knots, signal letters OUGX, later FOTW. Platon was the company's flagship vessel. The company named its ships after famous names in Greek history - hence Platon (French for Plato). WWW data re this vessel is limited, & to the webmaster at least, is confusing. I read that in 1939, all of the company's vessels were taken over by the French Government. But have also read that Platon & Fauzon were taken over by the French Vichy Government (in power from Jul. 1940 to Aug. 1944) to serve North Africa. I also read that Platon was captured by the Germans 'in the beginning of WW2' (would seem to have actually happened on Oct. 7, 1943). Can anybody clarify or correct that data? I also read that the vessel was sunk by the Allied Navy in 1944. To the webmaster 'sunk' implies something that seems not to be so. The vessel, on Aug. 27, 1944, was scuttled by the Germans in 'Passe du Port de la Lave', Marseilles, France. The vessel was raised on Jul. 1, 1945, but condemned on Dec. 18, 1947. And presumably then broken up - where I wonder? Some of the above data came from WWW 'snippets', easily misinterpreted especially when not in one's native language. I need help re this vessel's history! Can you add more? An image?
A cargo ship. Per 1 [British India, Querimba (2)], 2, 3 & 4 (images, Querimba), 5 (data, Querimba, 80% down page with image), 6 (many Australian newspaper refs., Querimba), 7 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert Querimba, but I cannot check the link), 8 (Lloyd's Register data, Querimba, 1930/31 thru 1945/46 ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 9 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for British India Steam Navigation Company Limited, of London. 148.4 metres long (487.0 ft.) perpendicular to perpendicular, 501.1 ft. overall, speed of 12 knots, signal letters KSFG, later GKWT. BI served mainly Indian Ocean, & E. to Singapore & Japan. I read, however, that this vessel usually ran between Australia (Melbourne & also Brisbane & Sydney) & Madras/Calcutta, India, carrying brumbies (wild horses). Thru Dec. 1949. Other cargoes also, of course, jute & coal included. Visited Auckland, New Zealand, once on Jan. 30, 1935. 8 WW2 convoy references, all local voyages both Australia & India (Calcutta/Colombo). Am not permitted to access independent WW2 voyages at 'convoyweb.org'. In 1951 the vessel was sold, presumably to Japanese owners, converted into a fish factory & renamed Kizan Maru. Have not seen the name of the Japanese purchaser. The vessel was broken up, in Japan, in 1965. No WWW data re Kizan Maru, & limited data re Querimba. Can you add more?
10 Leeds City
4758 (or 4749) tons
A cargo ship. Per 1 [William Reardon Smith, Leeds City (3)], 2 (image, Leeds City), 3 (Reardon Smith), 4 ('pdf', St. Elwyn, JANE p#234, 73% down), 5 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert Leeds City, but I cannot check the link), 6 (Japanese page, #75, image Terushima Maru), 7 (Lloyd's Register data, Leeds City, 1930/31 thru 1945/46 ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 8 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'Saint Just Steamship Company', owned by Sir William Reardon Smith & Sons Ltd., which in 1928, became Reardon Smith Line Limited, of Cardiff. It would seem that the vessel later became owned by 'Leeds Shipping Company Ltd.', another Reardon Smith subsidiary company. 122.1 metres long (400.5 ft.) perpendicular to perpendicular, 415 ft. overall, speed of 10 knots, signal letters KWJP, later GDXQ. Registered at Bideford. The vessel collided on Feb. 4, 1931 with Napier Star at Buenos Ayres, with 1 life lost & injuries aboard Napier Star. 51 WW2 convoy references, including at least 4 N. Atlantic crossings with a variety of cargoes (grain, lumber, metals, etc.), service in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Africa (Capetown, Durban, Freetown, Takoradi). On Nov. 28, 1940, the vessel rescued 16 crew members of St. Elwyn, sunk by a torpedo fired by U-103, 500 miles E. of Bishop Rock, & landed them at Gourock, Scotland. On Feb. 26, 1941, while in convoy OB.290, en route from Glasgow to Durban & the Middle East with Army stores & motor transport, the vessel was damaged in an aerial attack. Where I wonder? 'convoyweb.org' advise, however, that the vessel had engine trouble & was taken in tow. In 1951, the vessel was sold to 'Iino Kaiun', of Japan, & renamed 'Terushima Maru'. On Aug. 20, 1952, while en route (from Calcutta?) to Kawasaki, Japan, (her cargo?), the vessel broke her rudder & ran aground on a sandbank 12 miles S. of Calcutta, India - in the Hooghly River, just below Garden Reach near Budge. Unsuccessful attempts were made to tow her off. She broke her back & was a total loss. Can you add more?
A cargo ship. Per 1 (construction data available, though I can not figure out how you can access the actual data!), 2 ('uboat.net', sinking, Ramillies), 3 (1941 sinking, incl. lost crew list), 4 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert Ramillies, but I cannot check the link), 5 (Lloyd's Register data, Ramillies, 1930/31 thru 1940/41 ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 6 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 121.5 metres (398.8 ft.) long perpendicular to perpendicular, 412 ft. 8 in. long overall, speed of 10 knots, signal letters KWLG, later GNFR. I have seen references to the ship being built for/owned by 'John Cory & Sons Ltd.' ('Cory'), of Cardiff. But that may not be correct. two links above indicate that the ship was rather built for Roath Steamship Company Limited ('Roath'). In the 1931/32 Lloyd's Register, 'British Steam Shipping Co. Ltd.' ('British Steam'), of Cardiff, had become the vessel's registered owners with Cory the managers. I believe, however, that Cory, Roath & British Steam were, in fact, all related companies. I like to advise about WW2 convoy service. Hopefully you might access that data via 3 but beware! - the page you come to has at least 3 ships named Ramillies on it, & I am unable to access the further data that would clarify the situation. In early May 1941, the vessel was en route from the Tyne to Baltimore, Maryland, via Oban, with William H. (Henry) Macey in command, & a cargo of 3,074 tons of coke. The vessel was dispersed from convoy OB-317. German submarine U-97, Korvettenkapitän Udo Heilmann in command, tracked the ship & fired, over many hours on May 7 & 8, 1941, two torpedoes that missed their targets. At 6:13 p.m. on May 8, a third torpedo hit the ship & stopped but did not sink it. Another torpedo failed. At 7:03 p.m. on May 8, 1941, however, a fifth torpedo hit Ramillies in the stern. It quickly sank 'in the vertical'. At 48.05N/32.26W, SE of Greenland, essentially in the middle of the N. Atlantic. There were 41 aboard the ship. 29 lives were lost including the Captain & 3 gunners. 12 others, including a gunner, were saved by Geddington Court & landed at Halifax. Can you add more? Another image?
12 King City
A cargo ship. Per 1 (ref. 22% down), 2 [William Reardon Smith, King City (2)], 3 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert King City, but I cannot check the link), 4 ('wrecksite.eu', sinking data), 5 (Lloyd's Register data, King City, 1930/31 thru 1940/41 ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 6 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'Saint Just Steamship Company', owned by 'Sir William Reardon Smith & Sons Ltd.', which in 1928, became 'Reardon Smith Line Limited' ('RSLine'), of Cardiff. 122.1 metres long (400.5 ft.) perpendicular to perpendicular, speed of 11 knots, signal letters LBFD later GJCZ, intended to be a grain carrier. The 1930/31 edition of Lloyd's Register indicates RSLine to then be the registered owner. The ship was requisitioned by the Admiralty for WW2 service & used as a collier. Just 5 WW2 convoy references, including at least 1 North Atlantic crossing. The vessel's independent voyages included service on the W. coast of North America. In Aug. 1940, the vessel was en route from Cardiff to Singapore with a cargo of coal & coke. In mountainous seas, N. of the island of Rodriguez, E. of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, she had chronic engine troubles which caused her to be erratic in her movements. On Aug. 24, 1940, after being shadowed for 2 hours, the vessel was attacked by German raider Atlantis with a torpedo (which missed) & a 155 mm gun salvo, which salvo caused 5 deaths aboard King City & the vessel to soon be ablaze. 4 of the lives lost were cadets. At 16.53S/65.17E. The King City crew abandoned the ship & Atlantis rescued them in swells of 10 to 12 ft. Capt. H. W. Marshall was taken prisoner along with the rest of the crew (one, a sailor, soon died - on the operating table aboard Atlantis). The vessel rolled over & sank. 6 states it was, in fact, scuttled but it would seem that the crew barely had time to take to the boats let alone time to scuttle her. 'The Cruise of the German Raider Atlantis', by Joseph P. Slavick, (portions of it are available via Google Books), has extensive text re the King City sinking, commencing at page 82. Can you add more? Another image?
New Westminster City
A cargo ship. Per 1 (the 1st of 4 pages re the vessel, from 'Gray' archive records, though I can not figure out how you can access the actual data!), 2 (Convoy PQ 13), 3 ('convoyweb.org', WW2 convoy duty, click on 'SHIP SEARCH' then insert New Westminster City, but I cannot check the link), 4 (3 images), 5 (data, New Westminster City), 6 (many interesting references throughout), 7 (Lloyd's Register data, New Westminster City, 1930/31 thru 1943/44 ex 'plimsollshipdata.org'), 8 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for Reardon Smith Line Ltd. ('Reardon'), of Cardiff, with Sir William Reardon Smith & Sons Ltd. the managers. 121.9 metres long (400.0 ft.) perpendicular to perpendicular, (416 ft. 6 in. overall), speed of 10 1/2 or 11 knots, signal letters LDMJ, later GFDK. A tramp ship. Was requisitioned by the Admiralty in WW2 & saw service, I read, in 34 WW2 convoys. The vessel's convoy service included at least 7 North Atlantic crossings, service to W. Africa (Freetown) & many U.K. coastal trips. And many independent voyages also. In Aug. 1941, the vessel, fitted out for Arctic service, left Liverpool for Archangel & returned safely. On Mar. 10, 1942, the vessel left Loch Ewe, Scotland, in Convoy PQ 13, carrying munitions, & arrived unscathed in Murmansk, Russia, on Mar. 31, 1942, after a difficult voyage in some very bad weather. Much of the cargo was quickly unloaded but not all. On Apl. 3, 1942, she was sunk during raids by two German bombers. One bomb exploded in No. 2 hold, which contained ammunition. You can read the detail at 6. 2 lives were lost, gunners Connelly & Bottomley, both hit by flying bomb splinters. I read that the vessel was then considered to be a constructive total loss, (the vessel's holds were flooded & the crew accommodation was gutted) & that insurance compensation was paid to Reardon. Captain William Harris stayed aboard, alone it would seem, to avoid legally 'abandoning' the ship. I am not sure how long he stayed aboard. In Mar. 1947, the vessel was re-floated by the Russians & towed to Penarth, Cardiff, South Wales, with a Russian crew aboard to be repaired. And once repaired (I presume), was then returned to Reardon management. Can anyone clarify what that means. Who then owned the vessel? In 1948, the vessel was sold to 'Henry P. Lenaghan & Sons Ltd.', of Belfast, Ireland, & renamed Dingle Bay. The vessel was sold again, in 1951, to 'Nakamura Kisen K.K.', of Kobe, Japan, & renamed Asakaze Maru. And in Oct. 1965, the vessel arrived at Sakai, Osaka Bay, Japan, to be broken up. Can you add more?
A cargo ship. Per 1 (French page, data & sinking, Ely, 7th ship down), 2 (link 2 in Google translation), 3 ('plimsollshipdata.org', Lloyds Register data, Thetis, 1930/31 thru 1945/46), 4 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 403 ft. 6 in. overall, 119.0 metres long perpendicular to perpendicular, 390.7 ft., speed of 10 1/2 knots, signal letters JHMC later SVJN. Into service in Jun. 1930. Built for 'Elias E. Hadjilias', of Athens, Greece. Likely managed however from London, maybe by Hadjilias & Co. Ltd. or a predecessor. The 1932/33 edition of Lloyds Register records 'Nereus Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.' ('Nereus'), as the owners, E. E. Hadjilias the manager. Nereus was probably from Athens, Greece, & was likely owned by the Elias E. (Emanuel or Emmanuel) Hadjilias family. I am unable to track any WW2 service for the vessel. In 1955, the vessel was sold to 'A. Ramirez Escudero' of Costa Rica, & renamed Ely. The end for the vessel came in 1959, but I need help to explain exactly what then happened. 2 advises that the vessel was involved in a collision on Jan. 30, 1959. At 50.30N/00.10E in the North Sea. Which is strange because that location is rather in the middle of the English Channel, roughly S. of Eastbourne. I have not read the name of the other vessel. Presumably no loss of life. 2 also advises that the vessel was (in translation), 'abandoned and raised' in the North Sea & towed by Jean Bart (a French tug presumably) to Dunkirk, France. Where the ship capsized at the pier, for reasons unknown, on Feb. 1, 1959. At 51.03.83N/2.21.60E. Clearance of the wreck took place, I read over the extended period of Oct. 1962 to Jan. 1966. Can you explain what really happened? Or add an image?
I probably should not include this entity at all in these pages since it was, I understand, a ship repairing yard and not a ship building yard. Located right beside Roker North Pier.
First a few images. Hover your mouse over each thumbnail to read the subject matter.
Another name that I probably should not include in these pages (or maybe should include in a separate ship repair section) since it was a ship repairing yard & not a ship building yard. I am not absolutely sure if the second name I list above is a good correct name. But it surely is OK because 'Tyne and Wear Archives' have a WWW page here (80% down page) that references the name.
'Where Ships are Born' (1 & 2), devotes a little over three pages to the yard & from that source I have summarised much of the data which follows. And that volume is the source of the image of the yard that follows below.
The firm, the largest of the Sunderland ship repairers was, I read, founded in 1901 by Thomas William Greenwell (1867-1948), most often referred to as 'T. W. Greenwell'. It initially used two public dry-docks leased from the City, but it extended its premises in 1922 & built its own 500 ft. long, 75 ft. wide, dry dock ('with 26 ft. on cill at H.W.O.S.T.') which enabled vessels to be docked at low water. And, at right angles to the dry-dock, a 600 ft. ship repairing quay with 22 ft. of draught at low water. All with necessary cranes (40 ton, electric, travelling) & other facilities. The new dry dock was opened in 1925.
A 1937 Sunderland Industrial Handbook, from which part of the above is derived, described Greenwell's as having modern and highly-efficient ship-repairing facilities (which include Electric Arc Welding Plants). Able to deal with the largest types of repair jobs & specially equipped for dealing with repairs to oil tankers, oil storage tanks having been installed for storing fuel oil from vessels undertaking repairs.
In 1939 the firm took over, on a long term lease, the River Wear Commissioners No. 1 public dry dock. That dock, it would seem, was later badly damaged in an air raid in May 1943 & had to be reconstructed, the new facility opening in 1952. There were other major improvements effected also, including extension of the repairing quay to 800 ft. in length. S.S. British Realm, of approx. 28,598 tons deadweight, was the first vessel in new No. 1 dry dock which was officially opened in October 1952. A Mar. 9, 1950 London Times article about that dry dock is here.
Next a fine image ex 'Sunderland Tugs and Shipbuilding in pictures' whom we thank. Do view the image best via 'Photo Viewer'. Its caption states that it shows work in progress extending one of Greenwell's drydocks in 1949. Both No 1 and No 2 drydocks were lengthened at this time. I think I am correct in saying that what happened is as follows. Commencing in mid 1950, Greenwell's i) built a new dock 650 ft. long, then the second largest dock between Rosyth and the Thames, which became known as Drydock No. 1. They also ii) extended an existing dock to 565 ft. - it became known as Drydock No. 2. and iii) extended the existing ship repairing quay from 600 ft. to 810 ft. I cannot tell you which particular drydock is featured in the below image however. Click on the image to see it in a larger size.
A most able firm, it would seem. I quote 'Greenwells proved their worth by carrying out a wide range of conversions, and undertaking repairs to destroyers, corvettes, naval escort vessels, tank landing ships and craft, beach protection craft, boom defence vessels, salvage and dredging craft, floating cranes, merchant ships, and the fixing and overhauling of guns and other defence equipment on board merchant ships'.
For most of the company's life, Thomas William Greenwell was involved with the company & was indeed its chairman from 1901-1919 & from 1932 until presumably the day of his death at age 81 in 1948. It is appropriate that his image should grace this page & an image of him (at left) is contained in 'Where Ships Are Born'.
Colonel T. G. (Thomas George) Greenwell (1894-1967), T. W. Greenwell's son, was, at the time of his election (1 & 2) as Member of Parliament for The Hartlepools, the managing director of the yard (to retirement in 1960). His image is at right.
The volume mentions some specific assignments Greenwells accomplished with notable success.
The salvage of Destroyers H.M.S. Ashanti and H.M.S. Fame, the reconstruction of the steamer Stakesby which was sunk & refloated 18 months later, the conversion of Alexia, an oil tanker, into a merchant aircraft carrier, the conversion of a 10,000 ton cargo ship into a floating shipyard (Mullion Cove). For the interesting stories of all of those assignments, I refer you to the volume itself (here & following).
I am not clear as to what happened afterwards since the book was republished now almost 60 years ago (1953), though the book advised that after WW2 the yard specialised in the reconstruction of large oil tankers & remained equipped to tackle any & all assignments. Can anybody tell us what later happened to the company & the status of the facilities today? Part of the answer to that question was contained in a page in a booklet published at or around 1965 by 'The Doxford & Sunderland Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd.'. Which booklet lists the companies then in the group. 'T. W. Greenwell & Co. Ltd.' was included in the list. I have no date as to when they had acquired it.
Bill Greenwell, of Exeter, U.K., advises that there were three 'Greenwells' during the yard's history - Thomas William (1867-1948), who founded it & whose image is above, Thomas George, his son, (1894-1967), & Thomas Anthony Greenwell (1922-1987), all of whom were known by their second names & all of whom were, in their time, Chairmen & Managing Directors of the yard. Thomas Anthony Greenwell was, in fact, Bill's father. 'Anthony' accepted a senior position at The Doxford & Sunderland Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. in 1967 & was its managing director from 1970 through 1973. That company, Bill tells me, was taken over by Court Line in 1972, but soon crashed - & was taken into public ownership. He believes the 'end' came in 1982. Bill indicates that one of his WWW family history pages contains history related to the Greenwell yard & invites visitors to read chapters 4 & 5, on this site. We thank you, Bill!
I have read, in one of the very few WWW references (35% down) to Greenwell's yard, that the main 2 Greenwell dry docks were in fact later filled in with dolomite! I wonder when that was? The 3rd dry dock (see next paragraph) still exists & is used, but not as a going concern, by the river authorities. For a while, after the demise of the shipbuilding industry, it was I am advised operated as 'Wear Dockyard' by Albert le Blonde.
Adams Beck, a collier, in a 'Greenwell' dry dock. Image kindly provided by Don Simpson.
The undated image that follows shows the 'Greenwell' facilities in 1953 or perhaps a bit earlier. The biggest of the dry docks is the one at the top of the image so I presume that is No. 1 dry dock which opened in 1952. Dimensions? In 1956, the Port of Sunderland advised that there were 2 dry docks there. No. 1 Dry Dock, 675 ft. long & 87 ft. 6 in wide with 27 ft. 4 in. of water at the cill at MHWS (the highest level to which spring tides reach on the average). No. 2 Dry dock was 565 ft. long & 75 ft. wide, also with 27 ft. 4 in. of water at the cill at MHWS. But there was also a third dry dock, 357 ft. 6 in. long with 17 ft. 10 in. of water at the cill at MHWS. Owned by River Wear Commissioners but operated by 'Greenwell'. At South Dock but really at the entrance to South Dock. That 3rd dry dock was accessed from 'Half Tide Basin' and the entrance to it & the stern of a ship within it is just visible in the image below directly under 'WWW' in the text.
Sunderland Dry Docks in general? 1956 data is here.
Where is or was the yard? The following image will help with its location. At top left is the south harbour arm, the locks at top right lead from 'Half Tide Basin' into Hudson Dock. River Wear is at the bottom & lower right.
A splendid history. Virtually no references to it on the WWW that the webmaster could find. The words above probably do it poor justice, alas.
Really just a name today. 'Gulston' was, it would seem, a small shipbuilder that was in business only from 1874 to 1876. In that short period, he is said to have built 6 ships. Including Nautilus, as per this page (thanks John D. Stevenson). The yard, located on the north bank of River Wear west of where the Queen Alexandra bridge was later built, would appear to have been taken over, in 1882, by John Priestman who left Pickersgill's that year to commence his own shipbuilding business there.
That John Priestman took over the site previously occupied by G. S. Gulston is confirmed in 'Reflections of Southwick', a text written in or around 1893 by Luke Crown. On p.18 of the 'pdf' is a reference to the Gulston yard which indicates that Gulston had several failures in his ship launches - as described in the following interesting words. '...Gulston whom I had almost forgot built where Mr. Priestman now is had several failures in launching owing to the non declivity of the ways. The vessels did not stand high enough on the stocks to give them sufficient velocity so that they would run afloat.' A problem not by any means unique to Gulston! Before the river was dredged, I do believe.
Miramar list? (top 4 on this page). In addition to Nautilus, Belle of Benin & Lady Eleanor (1 & 2) in 1875 & Sea Mew in 1876. John Oliver advises that the firm also built a steam ferry - data unknown including its tonnage, in 1875.
Just a name today, for which name I am indebted to Stan Mapstone, who advises us: 'In 1827 John Hardcastle was a shipbuilder on Thornhill's Wharf, which was at the bottom of Pottery Bank.'
It would appear that John Hardcastle had a slipway at Thornhill's Wharf, on the south bank of the river and very close to the North Sea, the slipway being known as 'Hardcastle's Slip'. At that very point, a mass of ships blocked the whole river in 1830. A mass of ships? Yes indeed. 65 or 75 of them - all grounded and all damaged to some degree.
I have read that on June 17, 1782, a John Hardcastle married Mary Burrell. And in a link now gone, that John Hardcastle, age 42, a boat builder, became a Freemason in the Sunderland 'Sea Captain's Lodge' on May 20, 1802. Also listed is William Hardcastle, age 27, a boat builder who became a lodge member rather earlier, on Jan. 27, 1791. Related maybe, but presumably not John's son. In 1795/6 John and Thomas Hardcastle were listed (page also long gone) in the 'Universal British Directory' as being boat-builders.
Was most glad to read the above data (and I thank all of those who made it available), which data may relate and indeed does seem to relate to John Hardcastle and his yard. But which, alas, provides little help about the history of the actual ship yard. Can you help in that matter in any way?
Just a name today, a name that came to my attention via eBay, re a postcard of Colombia, a barque built by the shipbuilder as John Paterson in 1877, now listed below. Hopefully there will be, in due course, more vessels built by this builder site listed.
Can you tell us anything about the builder?
1 John Paterson
1315 (or 1332) tons
A 3-masted iron barque. Per 1 (Norwegian 'doc' file, download file, data, #6 Columbia. The listing text is here), 2 (Garb Römer oil painting, Windsbraut), 3 (overdue in 1906), 4 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 68.0 metres long perpendicular to perpendicular, 223 ft. 1 in., signal letters QWKD, later NGJD & KBLF. Built for T. Clark, of Irvine, Scotland. The 'T' would seem to mean 'Thomas'. There are references to the owner being, in fact, 'Clarke' but see Lloyd's Registers at left. The vessel made many voyages to Australia. A couple of examples. On Aug. 21, 1882 the vessel left Sydney for San Francisco with 700 tons of coal & 200 tons of ballast. The vessel arrived at Brisbane, in a damaged condition, on Dec. 15, 1883 after encountering terrific weather en route. It left Port Augusta on Mar. 26, 1884 for U.K. with 17,083 bags (70,177 bushels) of wheat. In 1889, the vessel was sold to C. (Carl) H. H. Winters, of Elsfleth, Bremen, Germany, & renamed Windsbraut ('bride of the wind' in English). The vessel traded, it would seem, between Hamburg, Germany, & Australia. A cargo to Melbourne, in May 1890, ex Trove. The vessel was sold again, in 1903, to 'A/S Colombia', of Tvedestrand, Norway, N. A. Lydersen, of Sundet, Akershus, Norway, the manager, & renamed Colombia. In Aug. 1905, the vessel was nearly driven ashore close to Bell's reef (between Kings Island & the coast of Tasmania) but just scraped clear. 'Trove' advises that on Jan. 26 or 27, 1906, (dates differ) the vessel left Wallaroo, South Australia, with a cargo of 16,969 bags of wheat (have also read 1,339 tons), bound for Falmouth. The vessel went missing en route. With a crew of 15 & the Captain's wife aboard also. P. E. Ogvist was the vessel's Captain. Can you correct and/or add to the above? No.1874
This section was commenced many months ago, included because in listing a vessel named Ayton built in 1876 by Short Brothers, I found references to an earlier vessel of the same name, built in 1865 by 'Hardie'.
For quite a long time, this section has requested data about James Hardie. Now, thanks to Gill Ford, we can tell you a little more about James & his shipbuilding activities. James Hardie was Gill's great great great grandfather, I learn.
James Hardie was born in Monkwearmouth in 1826, the son of George Hardie who was listed as a shipwright when he married in Sunderland Parish Church in 1825. James later married Mary Ann Bambrough. He would appear to have lived on Glass House Hill, Southwick.
An important source of data about James Hardie is the Corder Manuscripts. They comprise many volumes of hand written data about Sunderland, assembled over a lifetime by James W. (Watson) Corder (1867/1953). The manuscripts are held in the archives of the Sunderland Central Library, maybe at the Local Studies Centre there. Three pages of the manuscripts are devoted to James Hardie & the ships that he built - you can read the three 'Corder' pages in question here - 1, 2 & 3.
Corder advises that one James Carr had a shipbuilding yard at Low Southwick & that his business failed during the slump of 1840. In 1846, James Hardie, then aged 20, & M. (Michael) Clark went into business at the site, under the name of 'J. Hardie & M. Clark'. The partnership did not last very long, about 4 years. As Corder explains it 'Clark left him, probably drinking ... he was a trained man but not steady, went to Briggs who sacked him.' Mrs Clark is stated to have described her husband as being 'a man you couldn't live with'. Hardie continued the shipbuilding business on his own & was in business from 1850 to 1868/69. At some point along the way, the yard moved to Petrie's yard near the bottle works. 'Nearly all his later boats were of good size & highly rated'.
The last vessel that Corder records as being built by Hardie was Dona Feliciana. 'Sea Breezes' Vol. #48 advised that the vessel, which was completed in Apl. 1869, had been ordered by 'a British owner' as Mayqueen but was sold 'when new' to Olaquival and Company, of Bilbao, Spain, & renamed Dona Feliciana. Later, when renamed Dona Telesfora, it was wrecked off Borneo in Mar. 1881.
Hardie apparently tried to 'lease or otherwise' the shipbuilding yard on Aug. 21, 1868. And on May 1, 1869, 'all stock-in-trade and working gear' of the Hardie yard was offered for sale by public auction. It would seem that on Jul. 10, 1869, a 13 years barque ready for launching was for sale upon application to James Hardie. I conclude therefore that Mayqueen/Dona Feliciana was not in fact the very last vessel that Hardie built, rather the one before last.
James Hardie? He apparently left his wife & moved to London with another woman. He set up there as a ship-broker & lodging house keeper. Corder speculates re Hardie 'that iron ship shipbuilding which was coming in in 1869/70 was beyond him and probably drove him with his lady love to London.'
Corder further advises that 'Reflections of Southwick', a text written in or around 1893 by Luke Crown, contains on page #16 a paragraph re 'Hardie', misspelled however as 'Hardy'. Not a particularly complementary paragraph, as you can read for yourself in the text that follows:
'The next site the Hillend where the Mr. Hardy was building was another scanty nook. To look at it the present time you would say it was scarcely large enough to build a dog-kennel in. Jimmy was a ruddy, Bluffy, Rough sort of man, not over refined in his manner, but up to a thing or two. He launched some pretty fair vessels. I remember one that had a nude female for a figure-head. This caused quite a sensation among the Shipwrights, young and old, who took their wander that way at nights to have their pipes and ocularize a little. The exhibiting did not last long. It got to the authorities ears, and I was given to understand that he was compeled to take it off to make way for another with a little more shirt, or I ought to say a shift. He afterwards moved to where Old Petrie was building close to the bottle-works, there building a large number of Ships. Ultimately he went to London and commenced Ship broking and lodging house keeping along with another woman, leaving his own Wife in Southwick. A wife too good for such company as Jimmys was.'
A 'Hardie' build list can now be found on site - on page 144. The list was initially created from the 3 pages of the 'Corder Manuscripts' that relate to James Hardie. But the list has already been modified with data from Lloyd's Registers & from other sources, and will surely be further modified as new data is located.
Gill Ford is still researching the early history of her family, a project started years ago by her aunt. If you can add to the history, do be in touch via the webmaster.
I have read that John Hutchinson was building wooden ships on North Sands very early in the 19th century & certainly in 1810. By 1815 he would seem to have moved to Panns, on the south side of the river just east of the road bridge. He was there for a great many years, witness the following advertisement which appeared in the 1858 edition of 'Christie's Annual Shipping Register, Maritime Compendium, and Commercial Advertiser'. A Google Book available here. A few years earlier, in 1852, he was referenced as being 'J. Hutchinson, sen., (docks) Low-street' - at the foot of Sutherland-street, at a site where previously Mr. Thomas Nicholson had his yard. Also listed in 1852 were 'Hutchinson R., Monkwearmouth', and 'Hutchinson, R & W., (slipway) Panns'. It would seem, from the above, that John's sons may have followed their father into the shipbuilding business, not an unusual story, however. The 1852 data originates from 'The Nautical Magazine' of 1852, available as a Google Book here. I used to say Search for 'Hutchinson' but it would seem that the book is no longer visible so searching within it is no longer possible. The article in which the data was contained commenced at page 581 (thru 593), I believe. It is an important article re the history of shipbuilding in Sunderland in the early/mid 1800s & some day I should make the entire article available on site ex my downloaded electronic copy. Just two (of 13) of the pages are now available, here & here. Hopefully more pages soon.
At page #253 in 'The Post Office Directory of Durham & Northumberland' of 1869, a 'Google' book, Edwin Hutchinson is stated to be a ship builder at Pann's Ferry.
I have noted elsewhere, I see, that in 1890 S. P. Austin & Son expanded their facilities to the eastwards & took over the Hutchinson shipbuilding premises which then included two small graving docks.
TO END THE PAGE
For your pleasure and interest.
A total change of subject matter! A wonderful artwork, an oil on canvas by French artists Pierre-Jacques Volaire (1729-1802). The artist's impression of the scene when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, & buried the Roman cities of Pompeii & Herculaneum.
Enjoy. Do view it in a larger size by clicking the image below.
There have been, I understand, many eruptions of Mount Vesuvius over the centuries. The artist was at Naples, Italy, & maybe was inspired by one such eruption, in 1771. He painted a number of works featuring Mount Vesuvius. The volcano is, I read, today regarded as being one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the whole world - because of the sheer number of people (3,000,000) who live nearby.
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