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St Peters

St Peter's, Smith's Dock


54.965677, -1.571520

Useful Links:






William Rowe (1756 - 1810), Thomas & William Smith (1810 - 1861), Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (1862 - 1866), R&W Hawthorn

Types built here:

Brigantine, Snow, Schooner, Brig, Sloop, Barque, Paddle Steamer, Ferry, Screw Steamer,

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

British Royal Navy, Tyne General Ferry Co, General Steam Navigation Co

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:

Wood, Iron



Last Updated:



The Rowe and Smith's dock was located on the eastern periphery of St. Peter's.

It was first established by at least the 1750s, when William Rowe ran and owned the yard. In 1804 there were 61 shipwrights working at the yard, and featured the Tyne's largest graving dock at the time. During the Napoleonic Wars 12 vessels were constructed here. It was taken over by Alderman Thomas Smith in 1810. He was a rope manufacturer first and foremost, but joined the shipbuilding industry with his sons William and Thomas.

His sons carried on the business after his death and became known as T&W Smith. They primarily built wooden ships until the 1860s after already opening an iron shipyard at North Shields. Smith's produced a number of notable ships here including Ptarmigan, which is a story in itself - its timbers went on to be used for the Resolute desk in the White House. In 1863 this yard was combined with Rogerson's Yard to become the Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Company Ltd. From 1862 to 1866, the company produced iron steamers for various merchants and companies. They also constructed ferries to work on the Tyne. They were short lived however, only lasting four years but their yard was at this point one of the biggest and most advanced with covered berths constructed by Smith's in 1851 and capable or producing iron ships.

Hawthorn's later took over the site and redeveloped it, covering the docks and making use of the space for marine engines. There is no trace of the dock today.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1859

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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