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Hurry's Shipbuilding Yard


54.989202, -1.481532

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Francis Hurry (1761-1811), W Wright (1820 - 1838)

Types built here:

Frigate, Brigantine, Brig, Snow, Barque, Paddle Steamer

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Royal Navy

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



Francis Hurry's shipyard at Howdon Pans was in operation for half a century, between 1761 and 1811.

It was a major employer in the area, and one of the main shipbuilders on the Tyne in the 18th century. The Hurry family first constructed their dock here in 1758, with a larger graving dock established a year later. Hurry's shipyard focused primarily on merchant vessels and Royal Navy ships, with many barques, snows and frigates constructed in the yard for use across the wider seas including the Indian subcontinent. Whaling ships were also built here for the Greenland fisheries.

There were four slipways, a double dry dock and a large quay facing the river. Therefore, it can be suggested just as much repair work took place alongside building. According to Tynebuiltships, Hurry's yards both here and North Shields constructed a quarter of all ships on the Tyne through 1787-1799. They also cite the yards had more shipwrights than any other merchant yard in Britain - 90 more than the largest yard on the Thames.

Shipbuilding here ceased in 1811, when the Hurry brothers proceeded to bankruptcy 5 years earlier. The yard is still annotated on the 1860s Ordnance Survey map, so there may have been continued activity here. The yard was certainly used by W Wright throughout the 1820s and a couple in the 1830s, and constructed very early paddle steamers. His last ship was the John & William, which was finished in 1838.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1864

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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