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On this page ... John Watson, Wear Concrete, Wear Dockyard, T. H. Woods, Wheatley/Wreatley, George Worthy

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My data about John Watson is virtually non-existent. All I have read is that he was a shipbuilder from Pallion. That snippet of data came from within a biographical article here. But we have a little more data, thanks to 'Where Ships are Born', from which I quote.

Several Watsons have built ships on the Wear. There was a partnership between James and Peter, another yard run by Roger, but the two best-known were William, a wood shipbuilder, and John, of Pallion, who built the Ballochmyle and several other clipper ships in the eighteen seventies. His designs were not unlike those of William Pile.

Does anybody have the knowledge to expand upon the above & provide names, dates and locations of each of the shipbuilders named Watson? In this page, Terry (Whalebone?) advises that the W. Watson yard only built 40 ships from 1865 to 1874. Thanks Terry! 25 vessels still to be listed. Additional info probably will not come from the WWW because data from that source seems to be most limited.

Does the last name in the heading relate? I see in that regard that Stan Mapstone advises us that there were nine 'Robson' Shipyards on the Wear, as follows, placed in time sequence. One of them may relate to the Watson family. But maybe all of the names should be moved to a new 'Robson' section? The T. Robson may be 'Thomas Robson'.

W. Robson 1797-1801
R. P. Robson 1800-1826
T. Robson 1802-1865
M. Robson 1816-1816
J. Robson & Mills 1817-1817
J. Robson, J. Watson & Mills 1817- ?
M. Robson Jr. 1828-1828
J. H. Robson 1837-1850
C. Robson 1846-1846

Miramar list (highest hull number on page). It used to be that you could click on the link that follows & 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 & the following link should work for you:- 429. (29)

Names of vessels constructed by 'Watson'. As I find them. In a table in build date sequence. It would seem, for some reason, the first hull number was No. 400.  Maybe, in the fullness of time, it may be possible to split the list by specific 'Watson's'! The Miramar list of 'Watson' vessels is here, but that link will only work if you are registered as in the previous paragraph - maybe 29 of them from Oct. 1869 to Aug. 1874. But see the reference to 40 vessels above. Was the yard perhaps taken over by a builder named 'Hardcastle'?

1   Irene
472/447, later 398 tons


A wooden barque. Built by a shipbuilder named Watson, I now learn (Lloyd's Register from 1861/62). John Watson, of Pallion. Per 1 (1st listed of 2), 2 (David Bruce, para 3), 3 (1853 voyage to Adelaide). The vessel was initially owned by Mounsey of Newcastle for service from London to Australia. David Watts advises that Marwood's Directory of 1854/55 lists Edward Mounsey of Newcastle, as the vessel's then owner. With David Bruce the vessel's captain. The vessel left London on Aug. 29, 1853 for Adelaide, South Australia, where she arrived on Dec. 6, 1853 with 25/30 passengers & a varied cargo. She left for London on or about Feb. 5, 1853 with about 50 passengers. A similar voyage to Adelaide in 1854/55 and another in the following year. She arrived again at Adelaide on Nov. 5, 1856 after a tedious voyage with poor winds all the way, carrying a large cargo of gunpowder which had to be unloaded outside the harbour. Turnbull's Register of 1856 advises that the vessel was then owned by E. (Edward) Mounsey of Newcastle, J. Riley & P. Tindall, both of London, & D. Bruce, of Middlesex. Christie's Shipping Register of 1858 lists just A. Riley & D. Bruce as her then owners. David Bruce was her Captain for her first 11 years until he assumed command of City of Adelaide. Her final voyage under Captain Bruce left Adelaide for London on Jan. 9, 1864 with 1429 bales of wool and a full complement of passengers. The vessel would seem to have later served Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) for many years - she appears to be last recorded in Lloyd's Register in 1873/74. Have not spotted what happened to her. Can you possibly provide more data?

2 City of Halifax
later 523
later 681/462 tons
Hull # unknown


Mic Mac

A wooden steamer with iron beams. From 1 (Inman Line, City of Halifax), 2 (brief data), 3 (William Inman, with image), 4 (Wikipedia, Inman Line, 'Google' translated from the French), 5 (ref. to wreck of Mic Mac, ex this 'Google' book), 6 (a most extensive 'pdf' file about the history of Inman Steamship Company Limited - related data on pages 9 & 13). The vessel is Lloyd's Register ('LR') listed from 1868/69 thru 1878/79, initially owned by W. Inman of Liverpool, for service from Sunderland to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Mercantile Navy List of 1870 records the vessel as then registered at Halifax & owned by William Inman of Liverpool. In a practical sense that means 'Liverpool, New York and Philadelphia Steamship Company', known as the Inman Line, after its founder William Inman (1825/1881). LR of 1872/73 advises that the vessel, now  of 681/462 tons, became owned by W. B. Grieve of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, for service from the Clyde to St. John's. In the next LR edition, i.e. that of 1873/74, it is advised that the vessel had been renamed Mic Mac. (Presumably named after the 'Mi'kmaq', often in English referred to as 'MicMac', a First Nations Band indigenous to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, & parts of Quebec, Newfoundland, & the State of Maine.) LR of 1876/77 lists Baines Johnson of Greenock, River Clyde, Scotland, as her owner for service ex the Clyde. 204.3 ft. long, signal letters HNKS. Now this listing exists solely as a result of the receipt of detailed data about the vessel's career, kindly provided by Mark Tripp. Mark's words are as follows:-
When Inman took the Royal Mail contract for Halifax away from Cunard, beginning in Jan. 1868, Inman was also made responsible for a feeder service that would take mail & passengers from Halifax to St. John's, Newfoundland. City of Durham was taken off Inman's European feeder service in Jun. 1868 & sent to Halifax to take on this new route while a new ship (City of Halifax) was purpose-built for the route. William Watson built the ship, which was launched on Nov. 16, 1868, its engines being built by The North Eastern Marine Engineering Company, in South Docks, Sunderland. It was the only wooden-hulled ship Inman ever owned, with iron plating around the bow as protection against seasonal ice off St. John's. The ship could accommodate 100 passengers (60 in 1st class, & 20 each in 2nd & Steerage). The ship's maiden voyage from Liverpool to St. John's took place on Jan. 2, 1869, under Captain George Lochead. Upon arrival in St. John's, Captain William Jamieson transferred from the City of Durham to take command & remained with the ship until 1871, when his 1st officer John Herd took command. Phillips assumed command of the City of Durham & brought it back to Liverpool. City of Halifax remained on the Halifax-St. John's route until Inman's mail contract expired, & it returned to Liverpool in Mar. 1872.  It operated on Inman's Liverpool - Havre - Antwerp feeder service until Nov. 1872, when it was sold to Baine, Johnston & Company of St. John's, Newfoundland, who had it converted into a sealing ship at Greenock by Robert Steele & Co. & re-registered the ship in St. John's. City of Halifax left Greenock under Captain William Jackman on it's first sealing voyage in Jan. 1873 but it returned to Greenock in May 1873 at  which point it was re-engined by Kincaid, Donald & Co., & at the end of the year the ship was renamed Mic Mac. The Mic Mac went through a couple of masters as a sealer, but it was under the command of Samuel Bartlett when it was (per the Northern Shipwreck Database at Memorial University)  crushed in the ice & foundered 8 miles NNE of the Horse Islands, Newfoundland, on Apl. 17, 1878. No lives were lost.
Mark comments additionally about the references above to W. B. Grieve. Walter Baine Grieve was the manager of the St. John's office of Baine, Johnston & Company. It seems that there was a preference at the time to registering ownership in the name of a company official rather than in the name of the company itself. I have seen this with several Inman line ships. That said, when you see W. B. Grieve identified as the owner, that signifies the ship was with Baine, Johnston.
Both Mark Tripp & the webmaster would welcome additional data. And an image! #1922

3 Lady Turner
430 tons


A wooden barque, likely of 3 masts. Per 1 (burnt at sea in 1877, at column bottom), 2 (House of Commons papers, volume 66, published in 1880). 140 ft. 8 in. long, signal letters HWKL. The vessel is not Miramar listed. The webmaster has a number of editions of Lloyd's Register available to him from 'Google' books, see left. The vessel was built for B. Balkwill & Co. ('Balkwill') of Salcombe, Devon, U.K., who remained the vessel's recorded owners thru the 1876/77 register, the last that I have available that references the vessel. The Mercantile Navy List of 1870, however, records Robert Hancock Balkwill of West Alvington, Devon, as the then owner of the Salcombe registered vessel. It would seem that the vessel was acquired to serve the Indian Ocean - Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) & India etc. - & had only one captain in its lifetime, S. (Sherrick) Vincent. On May 12, 1877, the 'Hawke's Bay Herald', a New Zealand newspaper, advised that the barque, owned by Balkwill & valued at about Ł3,500, had burned at sea, while en route from Melbourne, Australia, to Colombo, Ceylon. They further advised that the crew was rescued by Arratoon Apcar, a steamer, & landed at Galle, (SW tip of Sri Lanka). I have found no additional data which might set out the detailed circumstances, though the loss occurred at 6N/85E in the Indian Ocean & the vessel's captain stated that the vessel burned due to spontaneous combustion. I learn that the loss actually occurred on Mar. 9, 1877, & that the vessel was then owned by E. (Edward) Jarvis ('Jarvis'), of Kingsbridge, Devon (near Salcombe). I presume that Balkwill must have sold the vessel to Jarvis in or prior to 1875 - since the Mercantile Navy Lists of both 1875 & 1876 list Edward Jarvis, of Kingsbridge, as the vessel's then owner. There is very little data WWW available about the vessel. Can you provide any additional data, and/or correct the above?

4   Beethoven
1393 (or 1390) tons
Hull 403



An iron steamer. Per 1 (Columbia), 2 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). I cannot see that the vessel was listed in Lloyd's Register. Miramar advise that the vessel was built for G. Swainston, of Sunderland. The vessel was sold in 1874 to 'Societa Rocco Piaggio & Figli' of Genoa, Italy & renamed Columbia. Was engaged in the Genoa to Montevideo & Buenos Aires service with return via Santos & Rio de Janeiro. On Jul. 5, 1880, the vessel sank in a collision near Bahia, Brazil. Can you help any?

5   Nina
783 tons
Hull 404


An iron, single screw steamer. Per 1 (data, Nina), 2 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 200.5 ft. long, 61.1 metres perpendicular to perpendicular, signal letters JDTQ. Owned by C. R. Fenwick or Fenwick & Co. of London thru 1890 & then sold to 'H. Gilliat', also of London. In 1891, 'Wm. France & Co. Ltd.', of London, became the vessel's owners. Miramar advise that on Aug. 27, 1894 the vessel was in collision with City of Brussels (which one, I wonder?), in the River Thames at Lower Hope. And that Nina was then broken up. That's all I have. Can you add anything?

6   Cleadon
760 tons
Hull 406


A cargo ship, maybe a collier. Per 1 (data), 2 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Speed of 8 knots. Most limited WWW data available. On Aug. 31, 1904, when owned by Lambton Collieries Ltd., of Sunderland, & en route from Aberdeen to Sunderland, was in collision with Dagne, a Norwegian steamer. And was lost. Loss of life? That's all I (& Ron) have. Can you help any?

7 Hesperus
878 (later 941) tons
Hull 413


A cargo steam ship. Per 1 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 206.6 ft. long, signal letters KQVM. The webmaster has a number of editions of Lloyd's Registers, ex Google Books, available to him (see left). The vessel is not recorded in the 1870/71, 1872/73 & 1873/74 editions, so its initial owner, likely 'Good, Flodman & Co.' maybe, ex Kelly's Directory 1885, 'Good, Flodman & Duncan' ('Good'), of Hull, is not confirmed. Miramar indicate, however, the initial owner to have been Wm. Easton Duncan, of Hull. From 1874/75 thru 1883/84 the vessel was owned by Good. The tonnage increased by the time of the 1880/81 edition, & became 941 tons gross. On Apl. 27, 1884, while en route from Iggesund Bottima, Sweden, to Hull with a cargo of iron & deals, the ship  was lost on Market Rocks, Aland Sea. The Aland Islands are Russian, & are located at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden & Finland. Iggesund is to the north, on the E. coast of Sweden, on the Gulf of Bothnia. The master was found 'in default in underestimating the distance run and in taking no steps to verify his position'. And the mate was held also to be at blame. That basic data is ex 'The Nautical Magazine' of 1884 (see left) - 'F. Good & others' being the then owners - re Inquiry #2194. Miramar indicates that the loss was rather on Apl. 29, 1884 - 'leaked & ashore Alandshof Rocks, near Market LH.' It would be good to read the full Inquiry Report #2194, but I have not yet been able to WWW find it. Can you add anything?

8   Sunniside
914 (or 956) tons
Hull 409



A cargo ship. Per 1 [Vreede (1)], 2 (Stamfordham, but the correct one? '4 August 1916'), 3 (Sunniside), 4 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'Lumsden, Byers & Co.', of Sunderland. Must have been later sold (1895 it would seem) to 'Standard Steam Shipping Co.' ('Standard') (Speeding, Marshall & Co. manager?), also of Sunderland. Since in 1900 vessel was acquired from Standard by 'Hollandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij', of Amsterdam & renamed Vreede. On Jun. 26, 1901, was in collision with Stamfordham in the North Sea & foundered. (A vessel named Stamfordham, of 921 tons, built 1898, was later captured by a submarine, on Aug. 4, 1916, & sunk by gunfire, 8 miles S from Longstone. The correct one? There was another built in 1878, I see.) A further little mystery. 3 seems to reference the vessel being additionally owned by 'Nicholson R. T.' (of Sunderland it would appear), & by 'Short J. Y.', & says became a British vessel in each of 1871, 1875, 1894 & 1895. Can you help any?

9 Pachino
1003 (or 1049) tons
Hull 423

Eugenia Segre
Lido G

A steamship. Per 1 (Pachino), 2 (Florio Line), 3 (NGI), 4 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 233.4 ft. long, 2 masts, 1 funnel. Built for Triancria Steamship Company ('La Triancria Societa di Nav. a Vapeur'), of Palermo, Italy. Or maybe 'Trinacria'. On Oct. 24, 1876, the vessel was purchased as part of the 'Triancria' fleet in liquidation by 'Societa in Accomandita Piroscafi Postali - Ignazio & Vicenzo Florio', known as 'Florio Line', also of Palermo? In 1881, the vessel was taken over by 'Navigazione Generale Italiana', 'NGI', which was formed, in that year, by the amalgamation of Florio Line & R. Rubattino of Genoa. In 1910, the vessel was transferred to 'Societa Nationale del Servizi Marittimi'. And sold in 1913 - to whom, I wonder? And sold again in 1914 & renamed Eugenia Segre. And sold yet again, in 1915, & renamed Lido G. The purchasers' names are not known to webmaster. But the final owner may well be 'N. Gavagnin'. The vessel was sunk, in Oct. 1917 (the exact date?), by gunfire from German submarine UC-73, off Cape Misurata, NW Libya. At left is an image of a table fork, identified as being ex Pachino, offered by eBay vendor 'miamimikeh'. It did not sell on Aug. 14, 2011. You were invited to contact the vendor re its availability, but that was over 2 years ago. The vendor provided this most interesting history of the companies concerned, which history surely merits retention for those interested in such matters. Anything to add?

10   Segesta
1782 (or 1768) tons
Hull 415

A steamship. Per 1 (Florio Line, Segesta), 2 (NGI), 3 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for Trinacria Steamship Company ('Trinacria Societa di Nav. a Vapeur' but the name may be 'Triancria' - but I think not), of Palermo, Italy. On Oct. 24, 1876, vessel was purchased as part of the 'Trinacria' fleet in liquidation by 'Societa in Accomandita Piroscafi Postali - Ignazio & Vicenzo Florio', known as 'Florio Line', also of Palermo? In 1881, taken over by 'Navigazione Generale Italiana', 'NGI', which was formed, in that year, by the amalgamation of Florio Line & R. Rubattino of Genoa. On Dec. 9, 1906 collided with Lula (Greek vessel maybe owned by J. Diakakis) at Leghorn (Livorno, Tuscany, Italy) & scrapped. Can you add anything?

11 Susan
876 tons
Hull 417


An iron steamship. Per 1 (Board of Trade inquiry into 1875 wreck, ex 'Accounts and Papers', published 1876, a 'Google' book), 2 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for 'Collings & Co.', of London. 62.7 metres long, perpendicular to perpendicular, 205 ft. 6 in. On Jun. 15, 1875, Susan, a vessel owned by 'Henry Collings and others, Captain Masters in command, & a crew of 21 all told, left Oran, Algeria, for Dunkirk, France, with a cargo of 'mineral' & wool. Approaching the straits of Gibraltar, the vessel safely passed Ceuta (a tiny Spanish city & territory, claimed by Morocco) early on Jun. 17, 1875. At 11:00 a.m. that morning, the vessel struck a small submerged rock, 800 yards from the shore, initially believed to be 'Benzus Shoal'. It became apparent that vessel had been badly damaged & any hope of saving her was abandoned. The crew took to the boats & safely landed at Ceuta. The vessel was attended to by HMS Coquette from Gibraltar & a tug boat, to no avail. It was proven that the vessel did not hit 'Benzus Shoal' but rather hit a nearby & almost parallel rock that was not recorded on the Admiralty or Spanish charts & accordingly not recorded on the chart carried by Susan. The certificate of competency was returned to Captain Masters. Miramar describe the wreck location as being '1.5nm ExS half S Cape Leona, W Ceuta'. Can you add anything?

12 Ballochmyle
1511 tons
Hull 428



An iron 3-masted clipper. Per 1 (Ballochmyle, last date ref. 1896), 2 (brief ref.), 3 (image), 4 & 5 (1874, 502 passengers), 6 (ref.), 7 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 245 ft. (about 80 metres) long, signal letters MLRT later HBKL, crew of 19. The webmaster has a number of editions of Lloyd's Registers, thru 1889/90, ex Google Books, available to him (see left). Engaged in New Zealand trade, under charter to New Zealand Shipping Company. An immigrant ship. Built for McKeelar & McKeelar & Co., of Greenock, Scotland. Have read that Ballochmyle was the first vessel to berth at Gladstone Pier, Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand ('NZ'). Carried 502 passengers on a London to Lyttelton voyage, under the command of Captain Lunden,  that commenced Feb. 25, 1874 & arrived at Lyttelton on Jun. 1, 1874. When leaving Lyttelton, Ballochmyle was towed out to sea by Beautiful Star, a steamer. The tow line unfortunately parted & kicked back viciously, its end striking Captain Hart of Beautiful Star. Both his legs were broken & one was immediately amputated. The Captain was carried on to Dunedin, where the steamer was bound, but he died before reaching port. That seems, however, to be the only passenger voyage to NZ? The vessel was sold, in 1876, to R. Cuthbert & Co. ('Cuthbert'), also of Greenock. The vessel was sold again, in 1880 or 1881, to D. Bruce & Co, of Dundee, Scotland, which ref. shows in the 1882/83 edition of Lloyd's, at left. The vessel then reverted to Cuthbert ownership & then back to D. Bruce & Co. It would seem that they were likely related? In 1894 or 1895 the vessel was sold/transferred to Dundee Clipper Line Ltd., (David Bruce the owner), also of Dundee. Best passage was, I also read, Sharpness to Melbourne, Australia, in 77 days. The year? The vessel was sold, in 1897, to B. Hansen of Stavanger, Norway, & renamed Hebe. It would seem, as György Ákos draws to my attention, that W. G. London was the vessel's captain for a quite amazing number of years. The vessel was sold in 1901 to F. (Francesco) G. Leva ('Leva'), of Austria, & renamed Alba. György Ákos of Budapest advises (thanks George!) that Leva, who lived in Lussingrande (Mali Losinj on the island of Lussino/Losinj, today Croatia) was the managing owner of Alba, which had 57 owners, all Austrian citizens, & was based at Trieste. Felice B. Cosulich became the vessel's master. Alba was converted to a hulk in 1908. The last image at left was published in 'Amerre szél visz, s hullám utat ád', a 1907 book, written in Hungarian by György Ákos & József Horváth - re Hungarian seamen in the era of sailing ships. A portion of the above data was also from a long expired eBay item. Can you add anything? Your contribution would be most welcome.

13   Drepano
1572 (or 1499 or 1558) tons
Hull 424


A passenger/cargo steamship. Per 1 (Florio Line, Drepano), 2 (NGI), 3 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). Built for Trinacria Steamship Company ('La Trinacria Societa di Nav. a Vapeur' but the name may be 'Triancria' - but I think not), of Palermo, Italy. On Oct. 24, 1876, the vessel was purchased as part of the 'Trinacria' fleet in liquidation by 'Societa in Accomandita Piroscafi Postali - Ignazio & Vicenzo Florio', known as 'Florio Line', also of Palermo? In 1881, the vessel was taken over by 'Navigazione Generale Italiana', 'NGI', which was formed, in that year, by the amalgamation of Florio Line & R. Rubattino of Genoa. In 1906, Drepano was wrecked at Cyrenaica, eastern coastal region of Libya. Can you provide more data and perhaps an image?

14 Norval
1431 became 1427 tons
Hull 427


An iron, fully rigged 'half-poop' ship. Per 1 (An extensive account of the 1882 Norval fire ex 2), 3 ('', data), 4 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). The webmaster has a number of editions of Lloyd's Registers, thru 1882/83, ex Google Books, available (see left). 243.0 ft. long perpendicular to perpendicular (74.1 metres), signal letters WSGT. Built for Baine & Johnston of Greenock for trade to the East Indies. The 1876/77 edition of Lloyd's Register shows the vessel ownership changing to R. Grieve (?spelling). Their ownership would seem to be brief - the 1878/79 edition shows the then owner to be 'T. O. Hunter & Hendry', of Greenock. No later ownership changes. David Roberts advises (thanks David!) that the ship was dismasted in the Indian Ocean on her first voyage, to Bombay, India, with a cargo of coal. She made for Mauritius under jury-rig where she was re-fitted, loaded with sugar & returned to Britain. The second voyage was to Calcutta & back (also India), & the third to Port Chalmers, New Zealand, leaving Gravesend on May 2, 1876, loaded with barrels of gunpowder & paraffin oil, reaching port in early August. David also advises that his great great grandfather James Limbrick, later a tug captain, was an ordinary seaman aboard Norval on a voyage ex London that arrived at Sydney, Australia, in Mar. 1880. Miramar advises that the vessel suffered a fire on Mar. 4, 1882 at  13.30N/126W, in the Pacific Ocean, 1700/1800 miles W. of the coast of Guatemala, a bit N. of the Equator. I now learn that the ship left Hull on Oct. 26, 1881 bound for San Francisco, U.S.A., with a cargo of 1865 tons of 'Wheldale Hartley' steam coal, under the command of George Halliday, with a total complement of 29. The ship rounded Cape Horn & sailed northwards. On Feb. 28, 1882, when at 8N/115.4W, a smoky steam began issuing from the fore-hatch. Extensive efforts were made to extinguish the fire - water was pumped into the holds for 2 days or more resulting in 6 ft. of water in the holds. It was thought that such efforts had been successful in extinguishing the fire. However on Mar. 3, 1882, a giant explosion occurred, an explosion which caused great damage to the ship & some modest crew injuries but no loss of life. Two 26 ft. lifeboats were put into the water. Soon the mainmast went over the side, the mizzen mast followed & the ship became enveloped in flames. Where was the ship? W. of 10.34N/117.33W it would seem. The crew set sail for the Sandwich Islands, i.e. the Hawaiian Islands, in 4 boats, The lifeboats were commanded by Captain Halliday & First Mate Frank Anderson, respectively, while the 2nd mate & the boatswain commanded  the two smaller boats. After a journey of 2,000 miles & 20 days, the Captain & 20 of the crew arrived safely at Honolulu, aboard steamer Likelike which had picked them up near Mahukona on the NW tip of the Big Island of Hawaii. Anderson & 7 crew members did not arrive at Honolulu, at least by the time of the extensive article referenced above. David Roberts believes, in fact, that they never did arrive. The names of all crew members are at 1. The cause of the fire? It would seem that the spontaneous combustion of the ship's cargo may have been caused by the coal being loaded in a damp condition. Not a rare occurrence, it would seem. Can you provide more data & perhaps an image? #1906

15 Baron Aberdare
1708 (or 1630) tons
Hull 429



A 3 masted fully rigged iron immigrant ship. Per 1 (Wikipedia, Baron Aberdare), 2 (1883 capsized image), 3 (same image, do click at top right to see in giant size), 4 (image at anchor), 5 (extensive data paragraph re Baron Aberdare, half-way down page), 6 (Norwegian page, data, Akershus), 7, 8 & 9 (data re arrival of Baron Aberdare at Auckland, NZ, on Mar. 19, 1875), 10 (half-model, Baron Aberdare), 11 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 259.0 ft. long, 78.9 metres long perpendicular to perpendicular, signal letters NPBR & HFGV. The webmaster has a number of editions of Lloyd's Registers, thru 1889/90, ex Google Books, available to him (see left). Built for McCunn, which is correctly I think 'MacCunn' of Greenock, Scotland. A voyage from London to Auckland, New Zealand, in 1874/75, with immigrants & cargo. The first image, at left, is of the vessel on its side, capsized during a gale in the entrance between the Royal Albert & Royal Victoria Docks, London, on Dec. 14, 1883. The ship broke loose from her moorings, sweeping away hydraulic cranes and all.... Her masts and rigging had to be cut away before she could be raised. It stopped all traffic in the area for a week, I read. Then owned by 'J. MacCunn & Co.' of Greenock & registered at Glasgow. The 'J' means James. Rosemary Wilson advises (thanks Rosemary!) that the company was founded by John MacCunn (1803/1873) & later run by John MacCunn's son James. 'Owners claimed in full from the dock company, because ship was moved berth by the dockmaster without consent of the master who claimed the vessel was not sufficiently stiffened.' The vessel was raised & repaired at Victoria Graving Dock. In 1885, the vessel was sold to 'Reck & Boyes' & then sold or transferred to 'Boyes & Reuter', of Bremen, Germany, & renamed Katharine (confirmed by Lloyd's registry data). It was sold again, in 1896, to 'C. Zernichow & O. Gotaas' ('Zerichow'), of Kristiania, Norway, & renamed Akershus. However link 7 seems to indicate that 'A/S Akershus' was the owner with Zerichow the managers. On Jan. 8, 1901, the vessel was stranded & wrecked at Sunbawa Island, Sapel Strait, Indonesia, on a passage from Philadelphia, U.S.A., to Yokohama, Japan, with 'case oil' (kerosene contained in 5-gallon tin cans packed by twos in wooden cases). It is strange, however, that the vessel would seem to still have been listed in the 1906 edition of 'Record of American & Foreign Shipping', per a Google data 'snippet'. Can you tell us more? image


Tony Frost advises me (thanks!) that Wear Concrete Building Co., Ltd. ("Wear Concrete"), a subsidiary company of 'Swan Hunter, & Wigham Richardson, Ltd.' ("Swan Hunter") was, during WW1, commissioned to built 12 concrete tugs for the British Admiralty. At a time of steel shortage. Beside what was, for a few years, the Sunderland facility of Swan Hunter. Wear Concrete operated for a very short period & built only 3 concrete tugs, all built in 1919. Specifically Cretehawser, Creterope & Cretecable, all concrete hulled tugs of 262 tons.

1 Cretehawser
262 tons



A concrete hulled tug. Per 1 (extensive data), 2 (aerial image of hulk), 3 (data with a fine large image), 4 (data, early image), 5 (data & image), 6 (night image of hulk), 7 ('plimsollshipdata. org', Lloyd's Register data, 1931/32 thru 1935/36), 8 (Miramar, link, you now must be registered to access). 38.1 or 38.25 metres long, signal letters JWSR. Built for the Shipping Controller, of London. And intended to tow barges loaded with iron-ore from northern Spain to foundries in Britain. In 1921, the vessel was transferred to the Board of Trade, London. In 1922, the vessel was sold to Crete Shipping Co. Ltd., of London, owned by Stelp & Leighton Ltd. perhaps, who also were the managers, & used by them to tow barges laden with coal to Continental destinations. The vessel soon became uneconomical to operate & it was mothballed on the River Wear. I have read that the vessel served in the Sunderland docks. Yes? In 1935, the vessel became owned by Samuel Levy of South Shields, who sold it, it would seem, to South Stockton Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., of Stockton, for scrap. Lloyd's Register, of 1935/36 states that the vessel was broken up. In 1936, the hull of the gutted & dismantled vessel was beached in the River Wear intended for use as an emergency breakwater. The vessel was later damaged by bombing in WW2, towed upriver but sank en route. It was, I read, deliberately beached in 1942, on the S. bank of the river near Claxheugh Rock. This listing advised that that is opposite to it's building berth on the N. bank beside the then Wearmouth Colliery. But I now think that data is incorrect & that Claxheugh Rock (image) is rather up-river at South Hylton. Maybe 'Wearmouth Colliery' should have read 'Hylton Colliery'? Can you tell us anything more?


This listing should not be confused with the 'Austin' facility, which went, for many many years, by the name of 'Wear Dockyard'. The name came to the webmaster's attention through an eBay listing, now long gone, for a battery operated clock with a most distinctive face - a face that features a copper engraving of a ship called Harbury, which ship has absolutely nothing practical to do with 'Wear Dockyard Ltd.' since Harbury was built by 'Austin' back in 1896 & was sunk in 1943.

Have I confused you sufficiently?

I am advised that 'Wear Dockyard Ltd.' was a ship repair facility located at South Dock, between where Greenwell's used to be & the entrance to South Dock. The business was run by Albert le Blonde, for many years a sea going engineer, who in the 1970s, against all odds, started up a ship repair business, leasing a small dry dock owned by the River Wear Commissioners. A dry dock that surely had been operated by Greenwell's for many years. The 'Albert le Blonde' business was in operation for 20/30 years & it expanded into Tyneside for a while. Until about year 2000, when Albert retired. A correspondent has described his business as small (which it probably was) but described Albert, none-the-less, as one of the leading lights in the ship repair business on both rivers for a great many years. He used to live at Westoe Village, South Shields, I am advised, but has since moved away from the area.

We do not have an image of Albert. But we do have an image of his clock. At left.
It was a gift item that Albert gave to his clients, produced in small quantities accordingly. And doubtless, Harbury was used because of the 'Wear Dockyard' name by which 'Austin' had been known. With 'Wear Dockyard Ltd' inscribed under the most attractive original copper engraving of Harbury.

As you can next see.


The name of 'Wood' as a Sunderland shipbuilder, is new to the webmaster. The reference to the name comes from the 1869/70 edition of 'Lloyd's Register' - re a vessel long in these pages as being Sunderland built - but of builder unknown. But now known to have been built by 'Wood'. Can anybody help with the name? Which is not an easy WWW search term for obvious reasons. There was, it would seem, a 'Thomas Henry Woods', a timber merchant, shipbuilder & ship repairer, of Strand Slipway, Monkwearmouth, in 1858, as is confirmed by the following advertisement from the Post Office Directory of Cumberland (presumably found within this 1858 volume), published by Kelly & Co. of London. The name would seem to have been shortened by Lloyd's from 'Woods' to 'Wood', for a number of years, when there was ample space in the register column for the extra letter in the name.

Thomas Henry Woods was in partnership with Alfred Simey, thru 1865 when the partnership ended, as you can read here - 'The London Gazette dated Dec. 05, 1865 gave Notice of the dissolution by mutual consent of Alfred's partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas Henry Woods, in the shipbuilding and ship repairing business at Strand Slipway, Monkwearmouth Shore.'

Perhaps, as time passes, more data will emerge. In the meantime, I have moved to this location, Sjomanden, a vessel built at Sunderland, in 1866, by 'Wood'.

1 Sjomanden
349 tons

A 3-masted barque. Per 1 & 2 (Norwegian 'pdf', p#34, Sjomanden), 3 (image). Most of what I can tell you about the vessel is from a long expired eBay item. Also data contained in Lloyd's Register editions thru 1880/81. The webmaster has a few such editions after that date but Sjomanden seems not to be mentioned - possibly because of a change of vessel name? 117 ft. 8 in. long. Built for Monsen & Co. of Stavanger, Norway. Owned from 1868 by 'Monsen', which would seem to mean 'M. G. and E. S. Monsen', of Stavanger. The first 2 links refer, I believe, to the vessel's being involved, in 1873, in the guano trade from the W. coast of S. America, specifically from Peru. Such trade would seem to have typically been outbound with coal, returning to Europe with guano for use as a fertilizer. It would seem that the vessel was sold in 1892. A number of later owners but still Norwegian owned, it would appear. Out of register in about 1908. Now 'Monsen', owned a later vessel of the same name, built in 1913. Owned by 'D/S Sjomanden (Monsen)', of Stavanger, per Miramar. Which may or may not relate in some way. WWW data about the 1867 vessel is modest. I surely need help!

WORTHY GEORGE of Southwick

At this moment, the webmaster has no knowledge about George Worthy a shipbuilder based at Southwick. Hopefully in the future such situation will be rectified.

This section has been added to include one vessel that George Worthy built, i.e. Sultan built in 1853. I have read that George Worthy built ships from 1836 thru 1857 - maybe 32 vessels in total.

1   Sultan
400/453, later 440 tons


A barque. The launch of the vessel on Oct. 4, 1853 for Lawson of South Shields. Of an extreme length of 116 ft, intended for the East India trade. The vessel is Lloyd's Register ('LR') listed from 1854/55 thru 1865/66. Was always registered at Shields (though the Mercantile Navy List of 1864 lists South Shields) & owned by Lawson of Shields. Turnbull's Register of 1856 lists her then owner as being H. Lawson, jun. of South Shields which owner name Christie's Shipping Register of 1858 clarifies as meaning Henry Lawson. The vessel became of 440 tons in 1860/61. 115.0 ft. long. LR of 1865/66 notes that the vessel had been 'Wrecked'. The circumstances of the vessel's loss are not yet to hand, however a site visitor has advised me that he has read elsewhere that the vessel sank on Mar. 17, 1866 at Alexandria, Egypt, after having arrived there from Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland. It was probably lost without any loss of life. Can you tell us about the circumstances of her loss, or otherwise add anything? #1928.


As I have indicated re Columbine below, the builder names above are added to the site as a result of data received from Rod Gain (thank you Rod!). Who advises that a ledger at the Tyne & Wear Archives in Newcastle contains a page for 'Wreathly' of, per Rod, just downriver from North Hylton. We need your help to learn if 'Wreathly', indeed the above three names, are correct. And, if not, what is, in fact, correct.

That said, my inclination, having seen the Lloyd's Register entries that I have available re Columbine (below), is that the Archives data must be incorrect. An early typo perhaps? Lloyd's lists the builder of Columbine as 'Wheatly' no less than 7 times & for the first listing, that of 1869/70, they list 'Wheatl'y' i.e. with the apostrophe. I can find no WWW references for 'Wreathly' but there are a few references to Lawrence Wheatley, who built wooden ships on the north bank of the Wear at North Hylton - and would seem to have gone bankrupt in 1869. Per 1 (near page bottom, Lawrence Wheatley re 1863 thru 1869), 2 (shipbuilder reference), 3 (bankruptcy, 1869), 4 (maybe unrelated, a Lawrence Wheatley born in 1826, in panel 9, & indeed many others named Wheatley). And there are a few more references to Lawrence Wheatley also. Wheatley Blanch & Chilton Sidgwick? Here 1.

Your input would be welcomed.

1 Columbine
56 (later 78) tons


A 2 masted wooden schooner. Per 1 (1876 aground). 65 ft. 4 in. long, later 81 ft. 1 in. Per the Lloyd's Registers I have available, (at left), the vessel was built for Storey & Co. of Sunderland, for the coastal trade. By 1873/74 the vessel was owned by W. L. Gammie ('Gammie'), her port of registration being Banff, Moray, Scotland. On the night of May 23, 1876, the vessel, then said to be of Cullen (Moray, NE Scotland), en route from Methil (Firth of Forth) to Port Gordon or Portgordon (also Moray) with a cargo of coal, ran aground 'at the back of Port Gordon'. Part of the cargo & materials were saved & the vessel was considered likely to be a total loss. But clearly not! In the 1878/79 register, the vessel must have been rebuilt, in 1877, & her length & tonnage was increased to 81 ft. 1 in. & 78 tons respectively - then owned by 'A. (Alexander) Scott' of Byres, Banffshire, & registered at Banff. And still at that port in 1887/88 when J. (James) Storm, of Findhorn, Moray, became the owner. The vessel is not listed in the 1889/90 Lloyd's Register, but what happened to her & when is unknown to the webmaster. This listing comes about as a result of the family research data of Rod Gair. Who advises i) that the vessel was built at Wreathly's yard at North Hylton & ii) that Charles Gair of Invergordon, Scotland, Rod's great grandfather, was her Captain in 1871 & later a part owner of the vessel & iii) Gammie was of Aberdeen, Scotland. Ian Whittaker has advised (thanks Ian!) that the vessel was indeed rebuilt after the 1876 stranding. And that on Nov. 21, 1898, the vessel, under the command of Captain Storm, was stranded 'at the back of East Pier, Banff.' Can you add anything additional?

May I suggest that you navigate the site via the index on page 001.PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

To Thomas M. M. Hemy Data Page 41. All of the other Thomas Hemy pages, including image pages, are accessible though the index on Thomas Hemy page 05. [ ] Ł č

To the Special Pages Index.

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