THE SUNDERLAND SITE - PAGE 211
SUPPLIER COMPANIES TO
THE SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY
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Corrections in any of the material which follows, however tiny, would be most welcome. And additions, of course!
On this page ... Coles Cranes, Craven & Speeding Brothers, G. H. & C. Gowland, D. H. & G. Haggie Ltd., 'Hutchinson & Jackson', 'Richardsons, Westgarth & Co. Ltd.', 'The Sunderland Forge & Engineering Company Ltd.', 'M. Wawn & Son'.
W. L. Byers & Co. Ltd. used to be covered on this page, but now has its own page - here.
To search for specific text on this page, just press 'CTRL + F' & then enter your search term.
I was thinking of including on this page, as a 'supplier' to the shipbuilding industry 'Vaux Breweries'. They surely were 'suppliers' in the broadest sense of the word! But, hoping that more data will emerge about 'Vaux' than is presently available, the brewery has its own page - unfortunately today of limited content.
I know, alas, little about 'Coles Cranes'. This section is started as a result of seeing an image that strongly appealed to me - here - on Facebook's fine 'Sunderdland Tugs and Shipbuilding in pictures' site - of mobile 'Coles' cranes awaiting export at South Docks in or about 1949. Do view it in full size, via the Photo Viewer. The image may very well stir the memories of site visitors. And eventually may result in some meaningful data about the company & its history. I unfortunately do not know whom to thank for posting the fine image.
Doug Wheeler tells me (thanks Doug!) that the image shows 'Coles Cranes' mounted upon 'Amazon' Thornycroft lorries. The large 'T' on the radiator is the Thornycroft symbol. The 'cab over' models further down the row may very well be mounted on Thornycroft lorries also, however other manufacturers did supply chassis to Coles. The webmaster adds that Thornycroft (the vehicle manufacturer) is related to the famous shipbuilding firm of John I. Thornycroft & Company Limited of Woolston, Southampton - both of the companies were founded by engineer John Isaac Thornycroft (1843-1926).
And another image of Coles Cranes being loaded for export at South Dock in 1949 - thanks to Sarah Stoner (Wearside Echoes) via Facebook 'Sunderland Tugs & Shipbuilding in Pictures'. Click the image below to see the complete giant image at Facebook.
I recall that a while back, likely in 2013, a book about the history of 'Coles Cranes' was available via e-Bay. Entitled 'Coles 100 years - The Growth Story of Europe's Leading Crane Manufacturer - 1879-1979'. With a front cover as at left.
I find that the whole 65 page book can be read from cover to cover via this page.
And can be downloaded via the downward arrow at the top of the page that you come to when you click on that link.
Also available, again from cover to cover, is a later volume entitled 'Coles - The Last Years - 1960-1998'. Which covers the history of 'Coles Cranes' to the bitter end in 1998. With a front cover as at right above. Of 31 pages. Downloadable in the same fashion. Now I earlier had difficulty in finding out how specifically to download both 'pdf' files but Arthur O'Brien has kindly come to my rescue. Thank you, Arthur!
Hopefully that 'Coles Cranes' site has a summary history of the company that might be included here. With particular reference to Sunderland. If not, such a history will need to be developed from the almost 100 pages of material which is available via the above two books.
Another 'Coles Cranes' image which was available via the Facebook 'Sunderland in Pictures' site - an image which was posted by Ray Hutcheon. It seems no longer to be available there.
CRAVEN & SPEEDING BROTHERS
I know, alas, little about 'Craven & Speeding Brothers' of Sunderland, who were, amongst other things, manufacturers of hemp & wire ropes. The following splendid image was available, a year or so ago, from Delcampe. About 125 x 90 mm in size, referenced to J. & E. Pulleyn, of Leeds - the card printer maybe. Offered at EUR 20.00. It sold, on Oct. 13, 2010 for EUR 28.00. We thank 'Vives', of West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium, the Delcampe vendor, who clearly is a very large postcard dealer indeed. Can anybody tell us more about 'Craven & Speeding Brothers'?
We now know a lot more, thanks to Bill Greenwell. Who provided a link to a fine 'pdf' about the history of ropes & rope making in Sunderland. That page is the source of the following most interesting text. Which also states that 'Craven and Speeding' was the only British Ropes company still producing fibre ropes in northern England, by the mid 1940s. I could not spot any references to copyright at that site, but regardless thank 'www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk' for their fine data.
Alan Vickers, who has kindly provided the image that follows, advises that the businesses 'Craven & Speeding Brothers' & 'J. Speeding & Co.' are, he believes, related. Both were sail makers. Next is a fine image of a distinguished looking old sign on the side of a Whickham Street, Monkwearmouth, building today. Alan advises that 'J. Speeding & Co.' used to occupy, in fact, three large buildings on that same street.
The following images also relate to 'Craven & Speeding Brothers' of Sunderland, manufacturers of hemp & wire ropes. In May 2010, four real photo postcards were made available on e-Bay, via vendor 'opalay', of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Thanks so very much, 'opalay'! All 4 images were most interesting images indeed which show 'Craven & Speeding Bros.' cable reels loaded aboard sturdy wagons, including wagon No. 42, owned by 'J. Prior, Haulage Contractor' of Monkwearmouth. In the top image (next), with a steam traction engine. Stated to date from c. 1910. The images, sold for U.S. $119.50. As requested above, can anybody tell us about 'Craven & Speeding Bros.'?
Malcolm Fraser has advised (thanks Malcolm!) that the 'Prior' traction engine is delivering the reel of wire rope to Monkwearmouth railway station for loading onto the wagon visible in the background, the loading bay being equipped with a crane for the purpose. Monkwearmouth railway station is now a museum. The present-day Metro trains run through the old station, stopping at a new halt just before the Wear rail bridge - as in this 'Google' street scene of North Bridge Street. Malcolm adds i) that 'Speedings Brothers' also made sails, awnings, lifebelts, life-jackets & flags in Wickham Street for the Admiralty & for the Merchant Navy, and ii) that members of Malcolm's mother's family, the Muirs, worked there & some were in charge of the sail loft & the flag room.
A piece of 1937 letterhead of British Ropes Limited sold via e-Bay in Aug. 2013. The listing image was modest but you can just read the reference to Craven & Speeding Bros. Limited. In Nov. 2013, a 1901 invoice of John Prior, Steam Haulage Contractor, General Carter & Wharfinger, was sold via e-Bay. A portion of the listing image (enlarged) follows, referencing haulage charges re deliveries to the Priestman & Short shipyards. Do from time to time check out 'atlantic-fox', the e-Bay vendor of the item. He frequently offers paper items that relate to Sunderland matters.
The following section, re 'D. H. & G. Haggie Ltd.', includes images of a 'Haggie' rope gauge, sold via e-Bay. On Jun. 6, 2014 another rope gauge, this one bearing the marked/engraved name of Craven & Speeding Bros., was sold via e-Bay - for GBP 36 or approx. U.S. $60.44. A composite of the listing images follows.
A 'Craven & Speeding Bros.' invoice, dated Aug. 23, 1909, is offered for sale via e-Bay in Sep. 2018. It features a fine engraving of what I presume was the 'Red Star Twine Works' at Sunderland. The e-Bay item can be seen here. I will include an image of the invoice on this page once the item sells.
Can you tell us about 'G. H. & C. Gowland', a Sunderland manufacturer & retailer of nautical optical equipment? Now if you Google search for 'Gowland' and 'octant' you will find that the manufacturer is often stated to have rather been of Liverpool. But the partial 1858 advertisement at left, (the entire advert can be seen here) confirms that they were then at least in Sunderland.
And the octant next illustrated was clearly manufactured in Sunderland, witness the prominent engraving on the instrument's measuring scale.
There are many examples of octants, manufactured by Gowland (George Gowland is referenced) dating to 1820.
This section was first added into the page having seen, in Nov. 2014, an eBay listing for a 'G. H. & C. Gowland' octant, a navigational measuring instrument often termed a reflecting quadrant. Such an instrument uses mirrors - the design was later advanced by the sextant but both were commonly used shipboard, the octant being used for most regular measurements. An item of great beauty. It sold, on Nov. 20, 2014, for GBP 256.00 or approx. U.S. $399.06. There were many listing images - a composite image of just two of them follows.
Another late 2014 e-Bay item, also re an octant, stated (thanks!) that 'George Gowland is listed in The London Gazette Oct 17th 1856 at No. 76, South Castle-street, Liverpool, in the county of Lancaster, Chronometer and Nautical Instrument Maker'. It would seem that at some point in time, he must have moved from Sunderland to Liverpool? A puzzle perhaps is that the markings on this octant refer to G. Gowlands (with an s) as you can see next. From one of the 36 eBay listing images.
Can you tell us about 'D. H. & G. Haggie Ltd.', Sunderland rope manufacturers?
I commenced this section having seen, in Mar. 2012, an e-Bay listing for a 'D. H. & G. Haggie Ltd.' brass and boxwood 4 in. rope gauge. Simple, beautiful and decorative. It sold, on Mar. 11, 2012 for GBP 13.50 or approx. U.S. $21.40. The listing images follow.
Can you tell us about D. H. & G. Haggie Ltd.?
Bill Greenwell has provided this link (search for 'Haggie') & has advised us as follows (thank you Bill) - his words verbatim.
This should help a bit.
David Henry Haggie (1820-1895) married Elizabeth Herring, the daughter of William Herring and Elizabeth Hay. One of William Herring's younger daughters, Annie Herring, married my great-great-grandfather, Thomas George Greenwell. Their son is the Thomas William Greenwell who founded Greenwell & Co. (ship-repairers) at the South Dock in 1901. William Herring's son, James, married Mary Ann Newton - their daughter Emma Herring married J(oseph) L(owes) Thompson.
Hood Haggie (as it became) was eventually part of British Ropes. Hood Haggie's chairman, Ernest B. Frail, was my mother's father (she was Grace Muriel Frail - and married T. A. (Thomas Anthony) Greenwell, the grandson of T. W. Greenwell.
Keith Gregson has advised (thanks Keith) that Ada Haggie & family lived on The Elms, Sunderland, next door to #8. No husband then apparently. Keith says also that he 'discovered' the family later in Worcestershire with a reference to Ada's husband being a retired rope manufacturer.
Bill Greenwell has kindly provided a link to a fine 'pdf' about the history of ropes & rope making in Sunderland. That 'pdf' is the source of history data above about 'Craven and Speeding' and is also the source of the following text about D. H. and G. Haggie. I could not spot any references to copyright at that site, but regardless thank 'www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk' for their fine data.
Can you tell us about 'Hutchinson & Jackson', Sunderland manufacturers of sextants, telescopes, barometers & other nautical instruments including barometers?
I commence this section having seen, in May 2012, an e-Bay listing for a 'Hutchinson & Jackson' aneroid barometer, 6 in. in diameter & 2 3/4 in. deep - a most distinguished looking barometer indeed, believed to date from the later 19th or early 20th century. Sold by 'excitingtangibles' of U.S.A., whom we thank & whose store is here. Their listing image is next below.
So far I have found little on the WWW to tell me about the firm though there are a few auction listings re their manufactured instruments, alas without usable images. However, 'Jackson' would seem to have meant Joseph Jackson. And the 'Sunderland Antiquarian Society' advises us, on page 6 of a 'pdf' file, (thanks!), that 'Hutchinson' was a Mr. C. Hutchinson, a ship owner & a partner in Hutchinson and Jackson, 'compass adjusters'. He used to live at Rock Lodge, in Roker, it would seem, either on Park Avenue or on Rock Lodge Road. In 1933/34, the business would seem to have been located at 13 Norfolk Street, in Sunderland.
The firm certainly continued to exist into the 1950s still conducting business out of 13 Norfolk Street in Sunderland.
Via this page, you can view a timing accuracy certificate issued on Jul. 4, 1958 by 'Hutchinson & Jackson' respecting a 'Thomas Mercer' marine chronometer installed aboard Villanger - which vessel was launched on Jan. 22, 1958 & completed in Jul. 1958 by Joseph L. Thompson & Sons Limited of Sunderland.
That is the marine chronometer in question at left, gracing the cover of 'Clocks Magazine' of Dec. 2014.
That is all I can tell you today about 'Hutchinson & Jackson'. Is it possible that you can add anything?
David Humes has kindly been in touch with the following images of a 'Hutchinson & Jackson' ship's clock. A really beautiful clock indeed.
Alan Beresford has kindly been in touch with images of an octant similar to that you can see higher on this page by 'G. H. & C. Gowland', also of Sunderland. But this instrument, which Alan bought at a public auction in Jan. 2019, is rather by 'Hutchinson & Jackson'. Alan is really not sure how old it is, but suspects it dates from about 1900. While the instrument looks to be in perfect condition to my eye, Alan has spent much time cleaning it & putting it into full working condition. He has provided images also to Gracie's Guide.
Last but not least, Gary Shooter reminds me that Cutty Sark, the famous clipper ship built in 1869, is on permanent dry-dock display at Greenwich, London. The 'Hutchinson & Jackson' brass plaque that you can see below is located near to the Cutty Sark's compass.
First a few images. Hover your mouse over each thumbnail to read the subject matter.
I know little about 'Richardsons, Westgarth & Co. Ltd.' ('Richardsons'), of Hartlepool, Middlesbrough & Sunderland, other than what I read here. A long established company indeed, dating back to 1832, now owned by Klöckner & Co. of Duisburg, Germany. An early developer of the marine diesel engine & an engine maker for the shipbuilding industry & much more besides, I suspect. Primarily based at Hartlepool - in 1938 the company acquired the George Clark Engine Works operations in Sunderland.
Perhaps in due course we will learn more about them. A history of the company thru 1994, entitled "Richies" - A History of Thomas Richardson and Sons and Richardsons, Westgarth & Co. Ltd., 1832-1994 was written by Peter W. Hogg (1 & 2) & published in 1994.
The business name is initially included here to be able to present to you the fine e-Bay listing image of a beautiful brass engine plate which bears their name. It is a real beauty. It sold on Feb. 3, 2014 for GBP 100.00 or U.S. $164.35. Are records available, I wonder, that would identify the name of the vessel in which the engine was installed? Click the image to view it in a larger size.
'The Sunderland Forge and Engineering Co. Ltd.', was a long established manufacturer of switchboards, generators, alternators, electric winches, control & switch gear & probably much more besides. In 1954, the company became part of 'Sunderland Shipbuilding Dry Docks & Engineering Company Limited', formed from the merger that year of Sir James Laing & Sons Ltd., Joseph L. Thompson & Sons Ltd. & 'Sunderland Forge'.
Long established? Yes indeed! Witness the following image that was posted by Ray Hutcheon on Facebook's 'Sunderland in Pictures' site - a larger version of the image can be seen here. Ray, we thank you!
I understand that an article about the company with illustrations appeared in the Feb. 07, 1926 issue of 'Fairplay'. If any site visitor has that article & would care to provide a scan of it, I will gladly include it on site. Information generally about the company's history would be most welcome.
The following is an image of a cast iron plaque from 'Sunderland Forge' electrical equipment which was aboard the Isle of Man Steam ferry Manxman - removed from that vessel when it was in dry dock at Hull on Jul. 28, 1997. It sold for GBP 12.06 or U.S. $17.94 on Jan. 28, 2015. I do not have the knowledge to tell you exactly what kind of electrical equipment it was but it seems to have been 'turning gear'.
And a couple of Sunderland Forge related images, thanks to Doug Wheeler of New Zealand.
A 'Sunderland Forge' 1959 brass electric motor plate is available via e-Bay as this page is updated in Aug. 2018. About 5 1/4 by 4 inches in size. I'll include an image once the item sells. Drop by at the link in the meantime.
In Nov. 2009, a decorative bronze propeller blade paperweight was offered via e-Bay. A gift item to shipyard managers, the vendor informed us, by M. Mawn & Son, of Sunderland, a manufacturer of propellers. The paperweight was 4 inches high & 3 1/2 inches in diameter at the base. A pretty item indeed, that sold for GBP 31.00 or U.S. $50.32. There were 8 bids so others must also find the paperweight to be of interest. On Aug. 1, 2012, another was sold via e-Bay, for GBP 47.00 or U.S. $74.79 - an image of the item is here. Another was sold on Jan. 13, 2013, for GBP 40.11 or U.S. $64.68 - you can see it here.
When this section was first added, the name of 'M. Mawn & Son' was new to the webmaster. I asked then if anybody knew anything about them.
Bill Greenwell has advised (thanks Bill!) that he thinks that the name was correctly 'M. Wawn & Son'. And he surely is correct. There were, it would seem, ex some Google 'snippets', two 'Wawn' companies.
Firstly, 'M. Wawn & Son', consulting engineers & ship surveyors, of Sunderland. Thanks to Brian Smith, in a guestbook entry here, we can now tell you a little more about that firm.
I met a Mr. M. Wawn at his office in West Sunniside, Sunderland in January 1959. I had applied for a post as fourth engineer in a West Hartlepool tramp company and was directed there for an interview. He was a very small man, around 5'2'' or so and I met him later on board ship where he was known to staff as 'Middy Wawn', evidently a derivative of Middlemost. Wawns provided technical services for the company and for other North East coast tramp companies I am sure, who did not employ their own superintendents because of the number of ships involved, three being the case in the company I was associated with. I also think that this Middy Wawn had served in the RAF during WW2 but of course can not confirm this - my memory could be playing games after fifty three years.
Brian Smith, Sunderland, U.K., Sep. 2, 2011
And secondly 'M. Wawn & Son (Propellers) Limited', a manufacturer of propellers, established in roughly 1897 thru 1900, also of Sunderland. Three brothers ran the propeller company for a great many years - Dominique (Jul. 29, 1871/Sep. 16, 1956), Tom Noel (1873/1948), & Edgar Allan (1880/1951), at one time the manager of R. Thompson & Sons Ltd. All three brothers were sons of Middlemost Wawn, (Jun. 2, 1845/?) who had a varied career as you can read, thanks to Bill Greenwell, in an article published in 1906, available here. Both companies would seem to have survived until the 1970s or thereabouts.
None of the above tells us a lot about the propeller company. But who knows what new data will emerge in the future?
A family member advises, in Feb. 2014, that there are links between the families of Wawn & Wigham, noted ship repairer of South Hylton. Middy Wawn, son of Alan & Barbara Wawn nee Wigham, of South Hylton, were my correspondent's great aunt & uncle. Because of the family relationship, Wawn and Son shared work & knowledge with John Wigham's Engineers Iron Founders and Ship Repairs of South Hylton. Middy Wawn had a sister Barbara who never married and a son named Nicholas who sadly died unmarried around 20 years ago. Thanks for that data!
The bronze paperweight, sold via e-Bay, is shown above. And a 1946 advertisement for 'M. Wawn & Son' of Sunderland follows.
Another interesting 'Wawn' related item was offered for sale via e-Bay in late Mar. 2013 - a tin desk blotter featuring 'M. Wawn & Son', consulting engineers and propeller makers. The e-Bay item was offered for GBP 45.00 or U.S. $69.08 by vendor 'jsbxxx', of the U.K., whose e-Bay store is here. I mention that because the item did not sell & may yet be available for purchase - you can contact the vendor, of course, via that link. But it may now have long since been sold.
One of the pleasures of maintaining a web site such as this is to open up one's e-mail in-box & find messages from around the world & from out of the blue - from folks who are total strangers to me. In this case, the message was from Graham Bell, of Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Graham was walking along the Hudson River coastal footpath at Jersey City, New Jersey, a river side area that once was, he advises, a bustling seaport & ship building site. And what did he find - at the Newport Center. An 'M. Wawn & Son' propeller, mounted on a plinth in proud public display.
The propeller bears the name of its maker & its serial number. It also states its weight (F 2933 CWT). Might we hope that one day in the future we may learn the name of the vessel on which this particular propeller (No. 5412) was installed.
In Graham's words, 'a piece of Sunderland's skill preserved in a far off land.' Yes indeed. And here is the propeller in situ at the Newport Center, New Jersey. You can see Graham's larger images here & here. Graham, we thank you!
The size of the propeller? About 15 feet across, I read. Its age? A plaque on the display dates the propeller to c.1905. Another image of it can be seen on this page which states that the propeller had been recovered from the sea bed & relocated. 'The plaque on the base said it was "recovered" from the sea bed (I forget from where but I think it travelled a long way to get here). However this page states the propeller to be rather 'the lone remnant of a former ship yard'. Hopefully we will learn more about the propeller's history in the near future.
It would seem that other propeller manufacturers also created paperweight models of their propellers as promotional items. Certainly Steven & Struthers Ltd., of Glasgow did - as you can see here and in the following composite image of the e-Bay listing images. It was offered for sale at GBP 75.00 in Feb. 2014. It may still be available from vendor g.a.collectables.
Of interest also, to the webmaster at least, are key chains stated to have been cast from metal from the propellers of R.M.S. Queen Mary - completed in 1936 by the 'John Brown & Company' shipyard on Clydebank for Cunard-White Star Line Ltd. Of 80,750 or 81,235 gross tons. She saw service thru to Dec. 1967 when she retired, to soon make her last voyage across the North Atlantic, transiting the Panama Canal & ending up at Long Beach, California, where she became a major tourist attraction. It would appear there are at least two different versions of the key chain - with different 'rears' as you can see below.
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