Parkin & Richardson Shipyard
Joseph Parkin, Thomas Richardson
Types built here:
Customers (Not Exhaustive):
The first 'modern' shipyard at Hartlepool was the Parkin & Richardson shipyard on the Headland - specifically on the westernmost edge of the town wall where the New Ferry and Coal Exchange public house would be later situated. The plot at this time was vacant - yet to be developed by the old Headland terraces we know today.
It was an informal piece of land - an incline towards the water. Before complex and industrial ships, this is all what was needed to produce adequate vessels.
Joseph Parkin was from Sunderland, while the Richardson's were known blacksmiths in the area, having their own forge at Castle Eden just north. They went on to own an engine works - both locomotives and standing engines, and went on to have an illustrious industry and only became defunct in 2000. The knowledge already gained from this industry put them in good stead for fitting out wooden vessels, and gave better opportunity to flourish with a pre-existing supply chain. Even the wood was felled at Castle Eden for their ships, sourced from the dene and around the local village then taken by cart to Hartlepool.
The first ship produced by the partnership was conveniently named the "Castle Eden", a brig for the Hartlepool General Shipping Co. They had operated between 1836 and 1844.
The site quickly became difficult, given the scale of ships that were needing to be produced at the eve of the industrial revolution. Though the actual building site was well suited with its natural slope and abundance of resources in its locality, it was confined and required part of the ancient town wall to be lifted and dismantled every time a ship was launched. Spaldin notes a horizontal beam was, and still is, set in the wall to lift the wall to allow clearance for ships to move down the incline. The wall would have to be quickly rebuilt because of potential floods, bad weather and damage to adjacent properties. The yard would be liable for this. This bottleneck forced the hand of the partnership to move across the harbour to a vacant plot.
They had finally moved in 1838, with only around 4 vessels built here. By the end of the next decade, the area became fully developed. This can be seen on the 1850s Ordnance Survey town plan. The old ferry was rerouted into a straight 100m course on the site, and the terraces of the Town Wall were completed. There is no trace today, except the horizontal beam in the wall. Both the old ferry landing and the new can still be seen here however.
Ordnance Survey, 1862
Have we missed something, made a mistake, or have something to add? Contact us
Historic Environment Records
Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past
Tyne and Wear: Sitelines
HER information as described above is reproduced under the basis the resource is free of charge for education use. It is not altered unless there are grammatical errors.
Historic Maps provided by