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Winspear Shipyard


54.697406, -1.193636

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John Winspear, Henry Taylor, Mark Dring, John Pattison

Types built here:

Schooner, Brig, Barque

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



This side of the old harbour was first utilised in 1841, when John Winspear came to work at Hartlepool from his birthplace of Whitby.

He was primarily a ship repairer, but built vessels ad hoc upon his own motivation or when his contracts went quiet. Winspear had garnered a great reputation in repairing sunken and stranded vessels across the North East - epitomised in his raising of the Welcome, a London owned vessel which had sunk in the entrance of West Hartlepool Harbour. The Port Authority had requested him to raise it, with he did in good time, and beached it on the sands at Stranton.

John took on a junior partner at the yard from Sunderland, Henry Taylor, who was initially an insurance agent but made good as a grafter.

Winspear carried on work until the late 1850s, with his last vessel built here the "Ellis", a Schooner built for WN Field. This had survived through to 1920 which lays evident his craftsmanship.

Winspear was reputedly an unwell man throughout his life, and was admitted to Sedgefield Asylum sometime after 1858 due to his mental health problems. Winspear died in 1874 at the County Asylum before he turned 60.

His yard can be seen on the Ordnance map surveyed in 1857 in a crammed area with a number of shipyards adjacent. It is likely this complex was adjacent to the two larger patent slips, which were both later constructions for iron vessels. The 1841 plan shows a much smaller slipway here which was likely the one Winspear used. There is no information noting a larger patent slip was used.

The yard was later taken on by Dring & Pattinson who were forced to leave their own premises when Withy Alexander absorbed much of the land into their own complex. Unfortunately for them though, this yard also had to be vacated when contractors moved in to construct the new entrance to the North Basin which still remains, the Central Dock and Union Dock.

No trace of the yard survives as the harbour has been extensively redeveloped and organised.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1861

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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