, & related


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

Do you want to make a comment? A site guestbook is here.

A list of referenced Sunderland shipbuilder names. Including Bartram's here.


Corrections in any of the material which follows, however tiny, would be most welcome. And additions, of course! Test.

On this page ...
Books/booklets etc. - Over a Century of Shipbuilding Achievements, Bartram in Shipbuilding
Other - A fine poster, A 40 minute film re the construction of Tjibantjet in 1951/52, Walter Mellanby (1908/1972), The Bartram's Design & Drawing Office Staff, in 1958, A Bartram Dinner Dance in 1958, Bartram design/technical staff in 1962/1963, Various photographs, 25 year service award, Site visitors ask ..

To search for specific text on this page, just press 'CTRL + F' & then enter your search term. A general site search facility is here.


Which seems likely to date from the 1900s or 1910s when a number of clipper stem vessels were built for The Ben Line.


Thanks to the folks at the both the Yorkshire Film Archives and the Northeast Film Archives, a film is available re the detailed construction of 'Tjibantjet'. A very long film indeed - just over 40 minutes in length. 'Tjibantjet' was launched at the Bartram yard on Oct. 3, 1951, was delivered on Jun. 14, 1852, & is site listed here.

Click on the image below to go to the access page.


In 1955 or maybe in 1956, Bartram & Sons Limited produced a 141 page book about the company & its history, 12 x 9 3/4 in. (31 x 25 cm.) in size, & extensively illustrated with photographs. It was produced, for private circulation only, for Bartram & Sons Limited by 'Civil Engineering Publications' of Croydon, Surrey, England. The title on the cover reads, I see, 'Over a Century of Shipbuilding Achievements', with, in the bottom right corner, 'Messrs Bartram & Sons Limited, South Dock, Sunderland, England.' In one contemporary publishing quote I have read it covered - History of 'old but very alive' Sunderland shipbuilding firm, established in 1837.

A copy of the book was sold via eBay in late Feb. 2010. Which is how I came to know of the book's very existence. The cover & a couple of the interior pages are shown next. A copy of the book was available for purchase via e-Bay in May 2019.

The book is of 141 pages. On this page, we make available for site visitors, the content of many pages from the book, other than the cover which is visible above. Not every page. Rather pages which are of significance. Including all of the text pages & many image pages where the images are full-page. The scanning & up-linking process is now complete with 101 pages available in this way.

We thank the 'Bartram' family of 1955/56, for arranging the publication of this important private circulation volume, likely given to clients & to major suppliers. It is of great value for posterity. I wonder how many copies were printed? We are glad to be able make its contents available to a wider audience, through this page.

Each thumbnail image below is 'clickable'. The relatively short 'History of Bartram & Sons Limited' text, contained in the volume, can be read as simple text here.


History of Bartram & Sons Limited

SUNDERLAND, situated at the mouth of the River Wear, claims with justification to be the "largest shipbuilding town in the World." A few other and larger rivers may produce more ships, but for shipbuilding concentrated in one township, Sunderland is entitled to its proud boast. There is a record of 1819 which says: "The Wear shipbuilding business in the port stands the highest on any in the United Kingdom, and gives employment to a greater number of carpenters." In 1834, according to the annals of Lloyds Register, Sunderland was then "the most important shipbuilding centre in the country, nearly equalling as regards number and tonnage of ships built, all the other ports together." It was in the higher reaches of the River Wear, at Hylton, that the first ships were built by a firm called Lister and Bartram, out of which emerged Bartram and Sons, South Dock, Sunderland. The firm of Bartram exemplifies a feature common to almost all the shipbuilding firms on the river - that of long family continuity.

George, first of the shipbuilding Bartrams, was an orphan, who at the age of 11 - in 1811 - began his apprenticeship with Gales, with whom he remained for seven years. Then he went to sea as a ship's carpenter, but returned to the Wear and became manager for a Mr. Dryden, who built ships at Biddick Ford, near Hylton. Later he was associated with Robert Reay, known at Hylton as "Squire" Reay. It was on January 14, 1838, the keel of the first ship was laid, or "ramed," as it was called in those days, by George Bartram in partnership with John Lister. Doubtless the ground was acquired in 1837, and preparations made in that year, but it was not until July 7, 1838 that the first ship - the "Crown" - was launched for William Thompson, baker of Monkwearmouth.  For that first ship, which carried a cargo described as of 16 keels, Lister and Bartram made a profit of £77 after paying wages for carpenters, sawyers, joiners, blacksmiths, and painters, which meant that the six months work brought in for the partners about 30s. each per week. From such modest beginnings has arisen the modern firm of Bartram and Sons Ltd., with a splendid record in recent times for the building of ships as typically illustrated in this book. But let us follow George Bartram a little further.

Four days after the launching of the "Crown," the keel of the second ship was laid. She was named "City of Rochester" and her owners were Benjamin Grainger, of Whitby, and William Haymen, of Rochester. George Bartram took a great pride in his work, and wrote accounts of those early launches in a most methodical manner. This is how he described several launches: "She glided majestically down the ways into her destined element." Sometimes she went off "like a shot" and usually "a goodly company was present."

The partnership lasted for 18 years, and nearly 40 ships had been launched. These were barques, schooners, snows, brigs and brigantines. Of these, only one - called "John and Mary" - exceeded a gross tonnage of 400 and she in noteworthy as being Bartram's first ship to exceed 100 feet in length. Launched in 1851, the "John and Mary" carried a threequarter male figurehead and was sold to John Patton, of Ouseburn Pottery, Newcastle. After the partnership was dissolved in 1854, Bartram continued with his son, Robert Appleby (afterwards knighted) until 1871, when on the business being transferred to a new shipyard at the South Dock, George Bartram retired. Up-river building must have been a worrying business in winter time, for it is recorded that in January, 1864, the brig "Charante," of 340 tons, was ready to leave the ways at Bartram's, but, owing to the river being frozen over, the launch had to be postponed for nearly a week.

Following the transfer to the South Dock, R.A. Bartram began a partnership with George Haswell, the firm being styled Bartram, Haswell and Co. George Haswell, who went into partnership with R. A. Bartram, had been connected with that Sunderland shipbuilding genius, William Pile, for a number of years. The new firm went straight into iron shipbuilding, and on June 6, 1872, launched the steamer "Ardmore" for Liverpool owners - their first ship. The sailing ship era was by no means at an end, however, and the firm were responsible for some very fine barques and full-rigged ships. They built several for Hine Brothers, of Maryport, a firm which traded its ships to Adelaide, Brisbane and the Tasmanian ports, and a barque named "Mercia" which was the last of her class from the South Dock shipyard.

On the retirement of John Haswell, in 1890, Mr. R. A. Bartram's older sons, George and William, joined the firm, which took the title of Bartram and Sons. R. A. Bartram, who was knighted in 1921, survived both his sons, and reached his 90th birthday, in 1925, by which time the management of the firm had devolved upon his grandsons, R. A. and G. H. Bartram. At the time of his death - in his 91st year - Sir Robert was the oldest shipbuilder in the country, a distinction which had belonged also to his father.

The Company was incorporated under the Companies Acts in 1912 and was reconstituted in 1922. In 1939, Cecil McFetrich,
(at left in both of these images, 1, 2) who had joined the firm as Secretary, was elected to the Board. In 1941 G. H. Bartram retired from active participation in the management and R. A. Bartram remained as Chairman and Managing Director. Two of the latter's sons are now in the business, this making the fifth generation in the direct line. The direction of the firm has been in the hands of the Bartram family since 1837.


When the first World War broke out in August, 1914, Wear shipyards were almost at their busiest. At an early stage of the war, the whole resources of the shipbuilding industry were conscripted by the Government. Several types of standard cargo ships were approved, and their construction distributed among the various shipyards as private contracts were completed. Our contribution was 12 merchant ships totalling 41,658 gross ton, and two small Admiralty craft.

Sunderland shipyards again played a highly important part in the second World War. The chief task of Wear shipbuilders was to produce merchant ships to make good the heavy losses suffered at sea and to keep open the country's vital ocean lifelines. Besides building 19 merchant ships totalling 127,756 gross tons we carried out conversion work on 4 ships to fit them for North Russian convoys, the fore-ends being specially strengthened to enable them to withstand the ice packs in Arctic waters. Another ship was partially converted into a hull repair ship for the Far East theatre of war. A new berth was built, 15-ton electric travelling jib cranes were installed and a new platers shed and welding shed added to the facilities of the shipyard.


Prefabrication by welding has been extensively adopted by us and the handling of large sections weighing up to 30 tons has been made possible by the facilities made available in recent years. Even before the commencement of the 1939/45 war we had commenced welding. A new welding shed was built in 1943 and the installation of up-to-date high amperage welding equipment and cranage facilities enabled prefabrication to be undertaken. Also, inside the welding sheds, overhead travelling cranes have been installed, with ample power to lift these prefabricated sections. Much new pneumatic machinery and other plant has been obtained to assist in dealing with the larger output.

An inspection of the shipyard indicates that the whole layout of the berths and plant, together with the procedure of building is fully up to date and has been designed to gain the best possible advantage of welding from the point of view of hull weight and strength, together with economic and efficient construction. We were one of the first firms to adopt the X-Ray examination of welding.
Due to the increase in size of bulk carrying ships, in 1952 the shipyard was increased in area by about one-fifth. One of the existing berths was extended some 80 feet with a suitable extension to each of the adjacent crane tracks, thus enabling the firm to construct ships of a maximum length of 525 ft. between perpendiculars instead of, 445 ft. between perpendiculars, so that from this berth vessels of up to 17,000 tons dead-weight  may be launched ; indeed at the present time one such tanker is laid down.


Since the cessation of hostilities in 1945, we have built or have on order 55 ships totalling 325,000 gross tons, comprising high class cargo vessels, cargo liners, passenger and cargo liners and tankers of up to 17,000 tons deadweight. These have been ordered from many nations including Britain, Portugal, Argentine, France, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Greece, Panama, Liberia and Poland. Incidentally, the Portuguese cargo liner the "ROVUMA" built by the firm in 1945, was the first ship licensed by the British Government to be built for foreign owners after the end of the war. The passenger and cargo liners "INDIA" and "TIMOR,"  also for Portuguese owners, were each capable of carrying more passengers than any other vessel built on Wearside since 1904. This indeed, is a story of outstanding growth from small beginnings - from the little wooden sailing ships which the firm built in 1837!


In 1962, Bartram & Sons Limited published a booklet entitled 'Bartram in Shipbuilding' - to document the history of the company & showcase the company's technological advances - in 'Optical Marking', in 'Shotblasting' of all steel, etc. etc. And to generally promote the company's facilities at South Dock.

The booklet is of 16 pages. Derek Maidment has kindly provided via Robert Hunter images of the booklet pages to the webmaster & I present here 15 of the 16 pages - to permit site visitors to both see & read it for themselves. The 16th page, the back cover, is, I understand, entirely blank.

Each thumbnail image below is 'clickable'.


WALTER R. MELLANBY, MINA - (1908/1972)

It is an honour to be able to write a few words about Walter R. (Raymond) Mellanby who served Bartram and Sons Limited ('Bartram') & later Austin & Pickersgill Limited ('A&P') with great distinction over a period of 30 years.


I do hope that I will offend nobody when I suggest that Walter, image at left, looks to me as though he likely came from a background of both culture & privilege. Perhaps educated at a public school & then at a major university.

Such is not the case however. He was born in West Hartlepool into a family who for generations had been platers in the shipbuilding industry. To his family, education was considered to be of no purpose & of little importance. So at age 14 or 15 he was indentured, as an apprentice plater, to Irvine's Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. Ltd. ('Irvine'), long established West Hartlepool shipbuilders. Such indenture would likely have been for 5 years. In 1924, when Irvine closed due to a lack of business, Walter's apprenticeship was transferred to Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. ('Furness'), of Haverton Hill, Stockton on Tees, a company owned by Furness, Withy of Hartlepool.

Clearly most capable as a plater, he was promoted to become Deputy Foreman Plater at Furness. It seems clear, however, that Walter had a higher objective in life & devoted his time to study accordingly. He mastered such subjects as advanced mathematics, shipbuilding & of course naval architecture. Such study bore fruit when in ?year he became a proud member of the Institute of Naval Architects.

When WW2 broke out, Walter, who had accepted a position in Sierra Leone, was stopped from emigrating to retain his abilities for the U.K. war effort & required to remain involved in U.K. shipbuilding. In 1942 he was invited by Colonel R. A. Bartram to join Bartram's in Sunderland, as Assistant Shipyard Manager.

Nobody would have described the then Bartram as being in the forefront in introducing new production methods & practices. It rather was an old-fashioned family shipyard, bound to tradition & slow to introduce new techniques & efficiencies. Walter's engagement proved to be fortuitous for Bartram while Walter would seem to have found a position where his suggestions for change were welcomed & encouraged. Over the following years, driven by Walter's many changes, Bartram became a leader in U.K. shipyard productivity with, I read, the highest paid workforce in the U.K.

What changes did Walter introduce? For ever, ships had been built on the slipway, exposed to the elements during their lengthy period of construction & to the eye of a bystander rusty hulks until they were shot blasted & painted near to the ship's time of launch. Walter changed all of that. He introduced fabrication & pre-assembly sheds so that the fabrication of ship units, including their painting, could be smoothly flowed thru the yard. All under cover. He had Bartram acquire bigger and more powerful cranes, both fixed & mobile, to move steel & ship components of all sorts through the yard smoothly & economically. He revolutionised the existing processes used in marking & cutting of ship's plates. By the introduction of 1/10 scale lofting (read a little about it here), a new more exact & efficient method of marking ship's plates. Integral to his plans was the whole planning & production control process designed to ensure the timely flow of materials & components, critical path methods if you will, & the more efficient use of shipyard labour. It is no exaggeration to say generally that he modernised the whole Bartram shipbuilding process. And through his enthusiasm & character gained the willing support both of the Bartram workforce & of the Bartram family.

As a result of Walter Mellanby's collective improvements, Bartrams were able, in Jan. 1958, to launch North Devon, just 11 weeks after her keel was laid. And La Loma, launched in Dec. 1958, was the first vessel built using Walter's advanced method of marking & cutting plates. La Loma was specially designed to economically transport Volkswagen cars from Germany to the United States, and then be speedily reconfigured to return to Germany with cargoes of coal or grain.

In 1945, Walter had been promoted to Bartram Shipyard Manager, a role he performed for no less than 23 years thru 1968. In 1956 he had became a Director of the company - a rare distinction indeed.

In 1968, the long Bartram family association with the yard having come to an end, Bartram's was sold to A&P, a sale which likely would not have taken place had Walter's collective innovations not made the acquisition attractive to A&P.

From 1968 to 1972, Walter served as Group Personnel manager of A&P. Until Jan. 27, 1972 when, in London on business, he collapsed & died of a heart attack.

Were Walter alive in today's times, one can readily imagine him in the forefront of the use of computers & new technologies in the shipbuilding industry & generally for purposes previously quite unimaginable.

A little additional data:-

In 1937, Walter married Edith Lister (1911/1982) of Hartlepool. I gather that they met one another when Walter was in hospital suffering from a perforated eardrum, & Edith, a nurse at Hartlepool's Hospital, (later St. Hilda's Hospital), Hartlepool, took care of him. The couple were blessed with 2 children - Patricia Anne Mellanby (1942/2019) & John Robin Mellanby, known as Robin, whose input, data & guidance (thanks so much, Robin!) has inspired these few paragraphs to be written.

A 'Sunderland Echo' Jan. 1963 article which contains a most modest image of Walter Mellanby can be seen here.  An article about the Bartram shipyard innovations, an article entitled 'British Shipyard with New Ideas', was published in the Jan. 31, 1958 issue of 'Engineering'. See here.


A fine photograph of the Bartram's Design & Drawing Office Staff, taken in the summer of 1958. With a second version below, with the names of everybody in the image. Thanks to Robert Hunter, Derek Maidment & their colleagues. And now, with the final name identified, thanks to David Winter.

Bartram's Design & Drawing Office Staff Summer 1958
  Seated Front Row Left to Right
Arthur Temple
Bill Parker
Donald Lister
Bill (Willie) Chalmers

Design & Drawing Office Staff
Design Office Manager
Outfit Design Manager
Chief Draughtsman
Assistant Chief Draughtsman
  1-Peter Longville, 2-Raymond Allen, 3-Ian Rudkin, 4-Colin Scott, 5-Amit Rudra, 6-Alan Dale,
7-Walter Pullan, 8-Alan Dawes, 9-Derek Maidment, 10-George West, 11-Keith Baxter,
12-Mike Fingalsen, 13-Jeff Calderwood, 14-Alan Lloyd, 15-Jim Wills, 16-David Goodrich,
17-David Halliday, 18-Vincent McCabe, 19-Ronnie McCain, 20-Bill Temple, 21-Mick Williams,
22-Jim Templeton, 23-Alan Graham, 24-John Gray, 25-John Finlay, 26-Mel Gosling,
27-Joe Gardner, 28-Alan Hindhaugh, 29-Tom Robinson, 30-Dave Wheoldon, 31-Alan Richardson,
32-Mick Davey, 33-David Brown


A fine photograph of a table at a Bartram's Dinner Dance held at the Bay Hotel in 1958. A number of the faces can today be identified. At left, at the head of the table, is Paul H. H. Rhodes, then the Design Manager. George Joyce is at the extreme right. Directly facing the camera, John Huddard (left) & Allan Lloyd (right with glasses). Perhaps you might be able to identify some of the others?

THE 'BARTRAM' DESIGN/TECHNICAL STAFF IN 1962/1963 - or maybe in 1964/65

The Design/Technical Office staff in or about 1962/63 or maybe a year or so later. To mark the retirement of Bill (Willie) Chalmers, Chief Draughtsman, seated at front row centre. Just two other faces today identified. Jim Templeton, at extreme right in the front row. Derek Maidment, 3rd from right in the second row. Can you help identify any of the others?

Yes indeed! David Winter, of Wallsend, (who is in the picture) has kindly advised almost all of the names, as follows:

Back Row - L to R David Bailey, Ronnie O'Cain, Vasco Antunes (Note), Jose Leonardo da Costa Sayago (Note), Joe Wile, Brian Davison, George Elliott, Ted Donaldson, Alan Hindhaugh, Jim Wills, Danny Brown.
Third Row - L to R Peter Rose, Peter Stacey, Dave Winter, Stephen Rowntree, Alan Coates, Colin Eltringham, Eddie Hylton, Micheal Goodmanson, David Wales.
2nd Row - L to R Peter Longville, Bill Shepherd, Vince McCabe, Ian Rudkin, Jack Barrass, Dickie Robinson, Derek Maidment, Alan Richardson, Peter Henry.
Front Row - L to R Alan Graham, John Findlay, Phil Chilton, Willie Chambers, Bill Lister, Arthur Temple, Jim Templeton.

I am glad to have received, in Dec. 2011, a message from Peter Rose. He believes that the 'unknown' person in the back row - third from the left, was named Vasco. Portuguese, Peter thinks. 'If I remember right, he was married to one of the Notarianni girls from Seaburn.' He wonders whether Derek Maidment might recall Vasco's surname.

Peter adds that he began his apprenticeship in the design office in Aug. 1964, so the image date is later than that. Peter thinks that he still has his letter of appointment somewhere that states he would earn for his labours the then princely sum of three pounds sixteen and eight per week!


The Bartram Design Staff 'Apprenticeship Awards' of 1965. How young they all look!

Back row, left to right, are Mike Gudmunsen & Peter Rose. in the front row, left to right, are Alan Coates, Dave Winter, Colin Eltringham, & Ian Rudkin

And next a 1969 image of girls from the tracing department & men from the design office at Austin & Pickersgill. The guys are, from left to right, Alan Richardson, Peter Stacey & Peter Rose. The girls? David Winter advises that from left to right they are:- Marylin McCluskey, Brenda Jefferson, Margaret Skea and Joyce Simms. David adds that Margaret Skea is co-incidentally his partner.


In 1966, a modest plaque was presented to Mr. J. G. Galley to recognise his 25 years of service with Bartram & Sons Ltd. I wonder what his job was at the company? If you know, do consider advising the webmaster.

The plaque was offered for sale via e-Bay in May 2019. Here. It would seem that J. G. Galley was still 'on the job' 10 years later. The 35 year equivalent, now with Austin & Pickersgill Ltd., can be seen here.


Of more specialised interest perhaps? Each image is clickable. Hold your mouse over each image to read its content.


1) Tom McIntosh asks whether anybody remembers James McIntosh, Tom's uncle. James McIntosh apparently worked at Bartrams in or about 1960 & for many years, as a Head Loftsman, Tom believes. If you can help any, do contact Tom at

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. £

To the Special Pages Index.

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