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Bill Quay

Harrison's Shipyard


54.961415, -1.536381

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William M Boutland (1818 - 1854), Robert Maddison (1834 - 1852)William E Boutland (1872 - 1879), RB Harrison & Sons Ltd. (1921 - 1960), MEP Group (until 1980s)

Types built here:

Sloop, Brig, Snow, Schooner, Barque, Screw Steamer, Wherry, Trawler

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

General Shipping Co, Berwick, Wear Steam Shipping Co, Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:

Wood, Iron



Last Updated:



This yard was first established in 1818 by William Boutland constructing primarily Sloops, which were sailboats with a single mast. The sloops were colliers, which probably took coals from local staiths to larger ships other other ports nearby. He was also a well known salvage operator throughout the North East.

A plan of Heworth by Andrew Stoddart depicts the shipyard on the Tyne next to a waggonway and coal staiths. The yard had a launch and quay, as well as several ancillary buildings adjacent to a substantial house and gardens.

Upon his death, the business was inherited by his son William Edward. This terminated in 1879. Robert Maddison also leased part of the yard from the Boutlands between 1834 and 1852, constructing wherries and sloops for local merchants.

During dormancy in the 1890s, the two slips are still in situ but the area does not seem to be in use. In the mid 20th century, the yard was reopened and primarily become a repair facility until the 1980s as part of the R B Harrison Complex and the MEP Group. Some ships were constructed here such as wherries and fishing trawlers.

The yard is now closed though part of the slips can still be seen.

'Sketches of The Coal Mines in Northumberland and Durham' T.H.Hair, published in 1844

Ordnance Survey, 1947

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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