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Friars Goose

Anderson's Slipway


54.963430, -1.566586

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Archibald Irwin, Robert Fairs (1847 - 1895), Tyne Wherry Co. (1901), John Anderson, T Mitchinson Ltd. (1955 - 1963), James Burness & Sons

Types built here:

Sloop, Tug, Screw Steamer, Schooner, Brigantine, Wherry, Barge

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Eskgarth Shipping Co Ltd, Aberdeen Motor Trawlers Ltd, St Andrew's Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Ghana Fishing Corporation

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:

Wood, Iron



Last Updated:



A slipway/boat yard has existed in this location at Friars Goose from the 1830s, when a sloop was constructed here. The builder is not known.

The first confirmed owner of the yard is Archibald Irwin alongside Robert Fairs. They owned the yard collectively between 1847 and 1895, though Archibald Irwin ceased ownership in 1852. They produced a varied array of iron and wood sailing ships and screw steamers, likely for the coal trade.

The history of the yard between the 1890s and 1910s isn't known, though it may have been used by the Tyne Wherry Co. in 1901, when at least one Wherry was produced at Friar's Goose named No. 25. The slipway may have lied in situ until John Anderson took over the site under Andersons Slipway Ltd. The company was established in 1915 with a capital of £2000 as a ship repairer and boat builder.

The venture did not last long as Mitchison took over the yard in 1919. Their first ship was named Greyfriars after being partially build by J&D Morris at Pelaw Main until they went into liquidation in 1923. Other than this, much of the first couple of decades was ship repairs. Servicing was mainly provided to tugs, with a slipway up to 230ft and a repairing quay.

In 1955 the yard was taken over by Burness & Sons and was refitted for shipbuilding. They mainly constructed small fishing vessels and tugs. At this time there was 3 slipways and 2 side launching berths. In 1962 the yard ran into financial difficulties, and was eventually closed in 1964.

The slipway still exists and is used for launching pleasure boats.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1916

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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