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. Page bottom (Patricia Richardson's history of the 'Doxford' company).

'Doxford' is listed here.


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

A page index. In time order, as best I can determine.

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

  1921 William Doxford & Company

A book or booklet - I have no detail. Likely issued by the company.

2 1922 William Doxford & Sons Ltd.

An 88 page booklet, historical in nature, well illustrated.

3 1943 William Doxford & Sons Ltd.

A 16 page booklet, a reprint of articles re the development of the Doxford Marine Oil Engine.

4 1961/62 William Doxford and Sons (Shipbuilders) Limited

A 12 page booklet, sales & promotional in nature. 'Testament of Faith'.

  1961/62 William Doxford and Sons (Shipbuilders) Limited

A 12 page booklet, sales & promotional in nature. 'Progress Report'. I can show you its cover & a couple of pages - here. So it can be identified. A copy sold on Oct. 31, 2012 via eBay, for U.S. $30.03.

6 1965? The Doxford & Sunderland Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd.

A 20 page booklet, sales & promotional in nature, 12 of whose pages are shown below.


In June 1922, William Doxford & Sons Ltd. produced an 88 page booklet about the company, its history, & its accomplishments. 12 x 9 1/4 in. in size, lace bound, & extensively illustrated with photographs.

Thanks to the kindness (& scanning effort!) of Clive Ketley, we are able to show it to you here, in its entirety.

A copy of the book was sold via e-Bay on Jan. 17, 2018 for GBP 65.00 or U.S. $89.53. A rare item, I believe. It was printed, I see, by 'The Hills Press Ltd., Craftsmen Printers', of Sunderland. Its cover can be seen in this image. Surprisingly, perhaps, two copies of the book were available in Nov. 2019, & both via e-Bay - both have since been sold, for a best offer less than GBP 59.00 & GBP 30.00 respectively. The cover, as per the first of such offerings, can be seen here. Another copy of the booklet, is e-Bay available in Mar. 2022, here, with 5 days to go as this page is updated.

Each thumbnail image below is 'clickable'. The relatively short 'Historical' text, & other texts, contained in the volume, can now be read as simple text here - so the search engines will be able to find such texts.



The business of Wm. Doxford & Sons Ltd. was founded in 1840 by the late William Doxford on the upper reaches of the Wear, where modern vessels of the period were constructed. A typical view is shown on page 4 with the rural surrounding while opposite on page 5 are the Works in 1921, distinguished in an aerial picture extending over Sunderland and showing the piers and North Sea. In 1857 a site was taken at Pallion and composite and iron sailers and steamers were built, the founder then having associated with him his two elder sons, the late Sir W. Theodore and Alfred Doxford. In this period several prominent fast-sailing clipper ships were built, and in 1870 the present site east of Pallion village was purchased, consisting of several discarded wood shipbuilding yards, high refuse hills, and a deep limestone quarry at the back. This site was levelled and a yard of 5 berths laid out and a thriving business carried on. Later, from year to year, surrounding property was acquired, and the present site of 36 acres was developed in 1902. Early in this period the founder's two younger sons joined the business (Robert P. and Charles D. Doxford), the former having been trained for marine engineering under the late Sir Wm. Allan at the North-Eastern Marine Engine Works at Sunderland, and Engine and Boiler Shops were added to the shipbuilding business in 1878, and the business steadily extended. At the time of this writing, 1922, these members are the senior officials of the Company, Robert P. in an advisory capacity and Charles D. as manager. Prior to 1902 the west section, or old yard, had been developed for larger vessels by being laid out for only 3 berths, this enabling vessels up to 440 ft. in length being built, and the eastern extension was laid out for 3 berths for vessels 540 ft. and 20,000 tons capacity. The business was then absorbing the whole attention of the living members of the second and third generation, with one exception, the youngest, Charles Doxford, who entered the business later.

In 1904 the first vessel was launched from the east extension.

The diversity of work done is shown in the picture of a large sailing vessel typical of the long period of peace and the destroyer picture typical of war.

Early in 1919, the Company, moving on modern lines, became associated with other large Shipbuilding and Engineering Works forming a group with large facilities for all classes and sizes of vessels, and the Directors of the Pallion Works became-

R. A. WORKMAN, Esq. (Chairman).


The business, primarily shipbuilding, grew from year to year, always moving with or ahead of the times, and in 1904 had utilized all of the 36 acres, and the year's output had reached to 106,000 tons in 1906, the "Blue Ribbon" being twice held by the Company. A view of the Works from the river front in 1904 on page 9 shows on the West Berths the special type of "Turret Deck" cargo vessels in course of construction and two "fitting out" at the wharf. This type of vessel for many years held a prominent position and gave the Works continuous employment in "slack" as well as busy periods. Ultimately their commercial advantages were overtaken by changes in Board of Trade rules enabling the open shelter deck vessel to be built with larger capacity and low tonnage, which type still holds a premier position for many trades.

On page 12 is shown the inverted type of hoisting and travelling winch adopted on the Gantry over East Berths, 27 of these handling all the material, and have shown an increase of 25% production capability over the open berths with derrick cranes.

The building berths are supplemented by sidings and internal railways of over two miles in length and connected direct to North Eastern Railway. The sidings and delivery of material to the constructional area is carried out by a fleet of elephant locomotives with great economy.


The Engineering Works, built under the direction of Mr. Robert P. Doxford and commencing operations in 1878, consist of four bays operated by overhead travelling cranes which extend over the erecting pits, and railway communication passes into all bays and finished engines and boilers are transported to the Finishing Quay direct, where a derrick crane of 150 ton test load handles them into the vessel, this being supplemented by two 7-ton travelling cranes to deal with outfits and auxiliary machinery, etc. First engines were compound, then early in the days of triple expansion the engines were of that system, and were followed by quadruple expansion and turbines, of which latter a great number were built for Government and Merchant Services.

The Boiler Works dealt with the steam-raising by the various types of multitubular cylindrical and water-tube types, the Works dealing with the requirements of the various vessels constructed.

In 1910 the Directors inaugurated the building of Internal Combustion Engines, and built an experimental Unit on the Single Piston Single-Acting Type, and created a test house and laboratory. This engine confirmed the opinion of the staff that it was too limited in its scope and embodied too many inefficient features, and after a month's operation was abandoned, and the Opposed Piston Type was investigated and in 1912 and a single cylinder Unit built for 450 H.P. and erected in the extended test house in 1913/14, it proved itself to be a system  with great possibilities, and it was then decided to commence a four-cylinder Unit of 3,000 H.P. single shaft, and to build a 420 ft. vessel to correspond.

In December that year a five weeks' continuous running test was carried out under day and night supervision of Lloyds Surveyors and justified the type. The operations were suspended owing to the call of the Nation for machinery for immediate War needs, and the whole force of Yard and Engine Works was for four years absorbed by this, during which period 21 Destroyers were built and engined, each carrying 27,000 H.P. on turbines and water-tube boilers amounting to 567,000 H.P.

Early in 1919 the 3,000 H.P. Opposed Piston Engine was proceeded with and erected in a new pit, with testing facilities, including the largest water-brake then built (this was of the Heenan & Froude type to register up to 4,000 H.P. at 70 revolutions), the intention being to bring the Internal Combustion Engine into line with steam practice for single-screw propulsion, while keeping in view the faster running engines suitable for twin and multiple screws.

This development soon showed great possibilities, and steps were taken to gradually displace the facilities for boiler construction and devote the whole power of the Works to engine construction.


In 1872 the Company first undertook Government work, when three composite auxiliary steam Gunboats were built, one of which was in the fight at Alexandria.

These were followed in 1875 by the construction of a composite steel screw corvette "Magician."

In 1886 the Company entered on Torpedo Boat construction, and built on their own account a typical Torpedo Boat of 21 knots at that time the highest speed attained. This vessel was run on trials with coal-burning locomotive boiler and was later fitted with oil burning, and ran very successful trial at full speed without smoke. Being before the times, she was not taken by the British Government, but was later sold to private owners, and was heard of in Venezuela at the time of the Revolution.

In 1897 the Admiralty placed orders with the Company for Torpedo Boat Destroyers, and many of these were constructed by the Company from time to time, and in 1914 the Works, and Engine Works were commandeered for Destroyers, 21 built and engined, all with 27,000 H.P. each.

Visit of King George V and Queen Mary.

In 1917 Their Majesties visited the Works of the Country, and on June 15th visited Pallion, where they met with a magnificent reception by the employees, whose enthusiasm knew no bounds, the graciousness of Their Majesties being appreciated throughout the Country.

Webmaster's Note: The image that follows, of the Royal visit in 1917, is not part of the booklet!


The Work of the Company on Merchant vessels covers many fields, from the old days of sail to motor driven vessels. Many types of these are illustrated in the following pages. Among these developments much was done in increasing deadweight carrying on restricted draught of water where 4,000 tons was the restricted limit. The Company in 1900 built a 7,500 special Ore Carrier for 22 1/4 ft. water, and in 1903 10,000 tons on a little over 22 1/2 ft. with great improvements in cargo facilities.

Oil Tankers were undertaken, and in 1914 two of the largest afloat were built for the Eagle Oil Transport Co., being 15,000 tons capacity, special machinery being installed to deal with the increase in size and weight.

In 1890 the Company built for the British India S.N. Co. two vessels, "Fazilka" and "Fultala," in which were introduced by the builders the then novel feature of twin-derrick posts (photograph on page 53). This system has become universal for many types of large vessels, though when first introduced caused strange comments.

The Company introduced Floating Bunkering Craft with electrical drive for discharging by belts direct into side ports of large vessels. This plant gave a very good account of itself during the War when it handled the bunkering of the Cross-Channel transport to France at Southampton.

Among the prominent Owners and Companies built for are:-


British India Steam Navigation Co.
Clan Line Limited
Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.
Tyser Line Co. Ltd.
Ellerman Line Limited
Furness, Withy & Co., Ltd.
J. & C. Harrison Ltd.
Eagle Oil Transport Co.
Crow, Rudolf & Co.
Angier Bros.
Nautilus S.S. Co.
Moor Line Limited (Walter Runciman & Co. Ltd.)
Jos. Chadwick & Sons, Ltd.
C. T. Bowring & Co., Ltd.





W. J. Tatem & Co.
Thos. Wilson & Sons & Co.
Sutherland S.S. Co.
Edward Nichol & Co. (Cardiff Hall Line)
Geo. Horsley & Sons
Cairns Noble & Co.
McIlwraith McEacherns Line Ltd.
Galbraith Pembroke & Co.
Weddel Turner & Co. (Lion Line Ltd.)
Jos. L. Knott & Co. (Royal Line and Prince Line)
Milburn & Lund
J. Matthias & Sons
Fred Drughorn Ltd.



W. Hartlepool





Bowles Bros.
Maclay MacIntyre & Co.
Stephen Sutton & Stephens
Stag Line Ltd. (Jos. Robinson & Sons, Ltd.)
Union S.S. Co. of New Zealand
Rea Transport Co.
J. Herron & Co. Ltd.
A. Weir & Co. (Bank Line Ltd.)
R. Chapman & Sons
W. Johnson & Co.
Bengal Coal Co.
Houlder Middleton & Co.
Evan Thomas Radcliffe & Co.


North Shields




Hamburg Amerika Line
Hansa Line Ltd.
W. H. Muller & Co.
Axel Brostrom & Sons
A. N. Hansen & Co.
Wihl Wilhelmsen, Esq.
Swedish East Asiatic Co. Ltd.
Transatlantic S.S. Co.
O. A. Stathatos
Tomasso Cossovitch, Esq.



Wiel & Amundsen
Consul Percy Tham, Esq.
Compania Bilbania de Navigazione
Traffik Aktiebolaget Oceana S.S. Co.
Sauber Bros.
N. Banaz & Company
Societe Anonima de Navigazione Lussino


Hamburg Hamburg



Fearnley & Egar
A. A. Embiricos & Co.
A. F. Klaveness & Co.
J. Ludwig Mowinckel
Bruusgaard Kiosterud & Co.
Sigval Bergesen, Esq.
Vergottis & Co.
L. & V. Florio



The Company, after experimental work previously referred to, established themselves on the Opposed Piston type, and their work is now known as the Doxford Opposed Piston Oil Engine.

Their first motor vessel is the "Yngaren," built for the Transatlantic S.S. Co., of Gothenburg, experienced owners of motor vessels. She is at this date on her second round the world trip. Her first voyage included the run home from Australia, developing 10% overload and opened out in U.K. requiring no touching of engine, the condition being entirely satisfactory after the full six months' work under the usual machinery guarantee.

The second is the "Dominion Miller," built for the Norfolk & North American S.S. Co. (Messrs. Furness, Withy & Co., London).

At time of issue, June 1922, she is on her second American voyage. On her first return from the States she met very heavy weather in April, at the time when mail steamers were delayed, and without stop maintained an average 11 1/4 knots. This was the first full trial of the Doxford Patented System of Governing, which was demonstrated day after day, to control the engines automatically within 10 revolutions. This gear acts in an entirely novel method, and each cylinder is controlled independently, and returns into action without any manual interference.

The third engine is built and testing for research work of an intricate and important nature and will be fitted in the "Eknaren," built for the Transatlantic S.S. Co., of Gothenburg, and will be to sea in 1922.

A fourth engine is in course of construction of the same power.

The technical features of the O.P. Engines is dealt with in the Engineering Press, and is of too elaborate a nature to embody in such a historical volume as this is intended to be. But it should be mentioned that one of the advantageous features now embodied is "solid injection," which is a novel system of control.

It is confidently expected that this type, with the developments continually being made by use of the "test bed," will make a great advance in "transport." The reduction of fuel weights being 75% from coal furnishes not only deadweight freight increase of great volume, but also an even greater increase in measurement freights.

The reliability of the type is pronounced, and the method of construction is safe. The work of the engine is self-contained, and the opposed forces being balanced and do not pass through the structure, but are devoted direct to the revolving of the cranks and thence direct to the propeller. It is a "one man operator" for all manoeuvring, and has the biggest power per cylinder, and its capabilities for developments in big powers are now being used on safe lines for important work.

The 3,000 H.P. engine on test bed research work has developed 4,350 H.P. at 102 revolutions with every satisfaction, and has been run as low as 35 revs. per min. and shown proportional power per revolution by steadily lifting the full brake load at that slow speed, indicating special possibilities in new directions, such as towage. While manoeuvring a vessel the engines will continue to run as low as 17 revolutions per minute.

There has also been built to the order of British Admiralty a special submarine unit of 400 B.H.P., which is devoted to research work in Admiralty Engineering Laboratory.

Messrs. Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Workman Clark & Co., Belfast, Messrs. Lindholmen-Motala, of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Sun Shipbuilding Co., of Chester, U.S.A., are Licensees of the Doxford System.


In Jan. thru Mar. 1943, a series of articles were published in 'Engineering' magazine - articles by Dr. W. Ker (not a transcription error!) Wilson, on the development of the Doxford marine oil engine.

The articles were republished, by William Doxford & Sons Ltd. themselves it would seem, with the title 'The Development of the Doxford (opposed piston) Marine Oil Engine'. As you can see at left. Of 16 pages, with 8 black & white photos plus several engineering drawings.

Such a reprinted booklet was offered for sale on eBay in Dec. 2010. The booklet sold for GBP 16.00, about U.S. $25.16, on Dec. 2, 2010.

It would be good to feature the entire booklet in these pages. So if any site visitor has the booklet available, (or instead the earlier 'Engineering' articles), & would like to provide scans of the pages to the webmaster, I will surely find space here for its inclusion.

The listing image re the eBay item is at left.


In 1961 or 1962, William Doxford and Sons (Shipbuilders) Limited published a booklet - a general sales or promotional booklet, it would seem.

The booklet is of 12 pages. Images of the booklet have been provided to the webmaster & I present here 9 of those 12 pages. Why 9 only? I have omitted the 'front inside cover' & the 'back inside cover' both of which are entirely blank. And the rear cover also which is blank except for the name of the designer & printer - Andrew Reid & Company Limited of Newcastle upon Tyne.

A copy of the booklet sold via eBay on Oct. 31, 2012 for U.S. $26.00.

Each thumbnail image below is 'clickable'.


In 1965 or thereabouts, 'The Doxford & Sunderland Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd.' published a booklet about the many & varied companies then included in the group.

The booklet is of 20 pages. Images of the booklet have been provided to the webmaster & I present here 12 of those 20 pages. The others? The purpose of this site is to document the shipbuilding activities at Sunderland; the other pages refer to less related businesses. Or to a second list of the names of the then companies.

Each thumbnail image below is 'clickable'.


For your pleasure and interest.

While this page is devoted to books & booklets published by 'Doxford' of Sunderland, it seems to be the logical spot to refer to a book published in Oct. 2019 not by but about William Doxford & Sons Limited. Written by historian Patricia Richardson, whose lifelong interest has been to preserve the history not only of 'Doxford' but also of all matters relating to the City of Sunderland. The cover of the book is shown below along with an image of Patricia with her husband Richard, in fact a descendent of none other than William Doxford.

A 'Sunderland Echo' article about the book. Pertinent details about the publication are available here. I see that the book is available via e-Bay also - here as this page is updated in late Dec. 2019.

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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