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Blumer Shipyard


54.697091, -1.192860

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Luke Blumer, George Blumer, Madge Blumer, Withy Alexander

Types built here:

Brig, Schooner, Barque, Sloop, Tug

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



The Blumer yard was wedged between the cluster of shipyards which blossomed at Middleton in the mid 19th century. It was a modest setup, initiated by Luke Blumer in 1848. He was born in South Shields in November 1793 to parents from Austria and Bradford.

It was predominantly engaged in vessel repair & rebuild, but actually engaged in building when that side of the business was quiet. They were often contracted work to compliment the work of other local boat builders, almost as an overflow, such as for Denton Gray and the Richardson's next door. Damaged vessels were also tendered, and damaged ship owners were invited to have their ships examined on Blumer's slip. This all tied in with Blumer's other job title as the ship surveyor of the part, and his reputation led him to be a member of Hartlepool Town Council.

The yard can partly be seen on the Ordnance Survey map illustrated from 1857. A modest slipway can be seen facing the old harbour, surrounded by much more extensive iron yards. Given Blumer only ever worked in wood, he would not have required the great facilities others did like engine rooms etc, though this lack of flexibility may have also been the downfall of the family enterprise.

Luke's son George took over the running of the yard in the late 1850s, though Luke did not pass until 1874 at the age of 80. He passed at Rift House in the south west of Hartlepool, leaving an estate of £2000.

At least ten vessels were built here. These included brigs, schooners, barques and sloops. Builds were limited given their primary focus was repairing rather than constructing. In fact, a brig left behind after George's death in 1867 was only the tenth. This vessel, the John & Mary, was launched by his (presumable) widow Madge in 1868.

Sadly, George died prematurely at the age of 50 two days after Christmas, leaving an estate of £7000 with his father outliving. He had previously been an apprentice to Wear shipbuilder James Laing and became a zealous advocate of Methodism in the town. He was noted for his "strongly marked views", and was a gifted orator.

For some reason the family did not continue working from the yard, and instead sold up to their larger neighbours. Denton Gray utilised the slipway and was later owned by Withy Alexander. They leased to Dring and Pattinson before demolishing it entirely in favour of a modern reconstruction of the site.

There is no trace of the yard - The site has been extensively remodelled and dredged. The quay wall is a few metres back these days.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1862

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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