top of page



North Shields

Bull Ring Docks

North Shields

55.002217, -1.446347

Useful Links:






Edward Collingwood (1750s), Mr Hall (1770s), Laing Brothers, Morrison & Fawcus (1850s), Edwards Bros., Hepple & Co., Baird Bros., Thomas & William Smith, Smith's Dock Co. (1891), A&P

Types built here:

Barque, Snow, Fishing Vessel, Paddle Steamer, Screw Steamer, Factory Ship, Schooner, Pontoon, Barge, Keel

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Corporation of Trinity House, West Hartlepool Harbour & Railway Co, Dublin & Liverpool Steam Packet Co, Dundalk & Midland Steam Packet Co Ltd, Marquis of Londonderry, The Sultan of Zanzibar, Bremen Trading Co Ltd, Boston Sea Fishing Co Ltd, Tyne Improvement Commissioners, Southern Steam Trawling Co Ltd, SA des Sacheries de Morues de Fecamp, Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:

Wood, Iron, Steel



Last Updated:



The Smiths Dock slipways and docks culminate for an interesting but complex history, with the various docks all being seperately owned one time of another.

The first shipbuilder on the site was Collingwoods, commencing in the 1750s to the south of the Bull Ring by landowner Edward Collingwood. Records later dictate it was owned by a Mr Hall and Mr Laing thereafter. This same dock was later utilised by the Smiths, then Edwards, then swallowed up by Smith's Dock Co. The other docks were also owned by various companies and partnerships. The Fawcus, Hepples, Edwards, Baird and Smith families all owned a graving dock or yard at some point in the 18th and 19th centuries. The area is mostly known because of the Smiths, who constructed hundreds of fishing vessels, screw steamers and other such ships here. Vessels were constructed for fishing companies in every corner of Britain as well as the admiralty.

The docks were unconnected to the mainline railway network, but operated their own internal tramway system along the whole of the extensive complex, with umpteen travelling cranes along the narrow site.

The site was owned by A&P for a short period and now forms an interesting residential area.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1915

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

bottom of page