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Ferry Landing, 1910

Name: Palmer's Shipyard

Region: Jarrow, South Tyneside

Date of Origin: 1830s

Site Type: Shipyard

Condition: Derelict

Status: Site currently wasteland. Palmers site in Hebburn used by A&P Tyne for ship repairs.

Last Updated: 20/05/2020

Address: 54.985266, -1.489698, close to the Tyne Pedestrian tunnel and B1297

"Palmers (Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited) was a British shipbuilding company established by Charles Mark Palmer in 1852 . The Company was primarily based in Jarrow, but also with operations in Hebburn and Willington Quay - all on the River Tyne. The company collapsed in 1933 and the Jarrow works were closed. The Hebburn works were purchased by Armstrong Whitworth, though the shipyard was still often referred to as 'Palmers', and later in 1973 sold to Swan Hunter." 


"The company was established in 1852 by Charles Mark Palmer as Palmer Brothers & Co. in Jarrow. Later that year it launched the John Bowes, an iron-screw collier which was much faster than any sailing ship. Eventually the works produced and rolled the steel for the ships on the huge industrial site that was Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company. In 1910 Sir Charles Palmer's interest in the business was acquired by Lord Furness who, as Chairman, expanded the business by acquiring a lease over a new graving dock at Hebburn from Robert Stephenson and Company. In 1919 Palmers laid down a notable ship the , which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1941 carrying the largest precious metals cargo of a vessel ever sunk in world history.


Palmers collapsed in 1933 and the Jarrow yard was sold to National Shipbuilders Securities Ltd, who closed it down, causing much unemployment and the Jarrow March. After the shipyard closed Sir John Jarvis used the building that comprised engine shop as a steel foundry, the steel coming from the breakers yard that scrapped the White Star liner and the Berengaria.


The Company, which still retained the yard at Hebburn, was subsequently acquired by Armstrong Whitworth and became Palmers Hebburn Company Limited. In 1973 Vickers-Armstrongs sold the Palmers Dock at Hebburn to Swan Hunter and developed it as the Hebburn Shipbuilding Dock: this facility was subsequently acquired from the receivers of Swan Hunter by Tyne Tees Dockyard Limited in 1994 and then sold on to A&P Group in 1995. The yard remains in use as a ship repair and refurbishment facility." - Co-curate

"A wood shipyard occupied a stretch of the Jarrow riverside from the 1830s. It was subsumed in Palmer's Shipyard which was founded in 1851 as a dedicated iron shipyard by the Palmer brothers. The main product of the yard was Colliers but steamers and also warships, including submarines during World War One, were built. In 1906 electric overhead trolley cranes on elliptical gantries were installed. The Jarrow yard became almost completely integrated and self sufficient - an engine works was set up in 1853 and in 1857, Palmer purchased ironstone mines at Port Mulgrave, Whitby, North Yorkshire and set up four blast furnaces next to the shipyard. The Bede Metal Co Ltd. was set up in 1862 to supply copper to the shipyard. In 1863 The Engineer commented that Palmer's "was the only works in England where every branch of manufacturing is done on the premises-from the delivery of ore at one end of the yard till it leaves the dock at the other in the form of a finished ship." In 1933 Palmers closed and was acquired by National Shipbuilders Security Ltd. In 1935 the site was demolished, though the 715 feet Hebburn dry dock was taken over by Vickers-Armstrong and continued in use as Palmers Hebburn Ltd. The layout of the works is charted on the 1st to 4th edition Ordnance Survey maps." - Sitelines


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