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Market Place

Forsyth's Dock

South Shields

54.998511, -1.439319

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Simon Temple (Snr & Jnr) (1780 - 1805), James Forsyth & Thomas Forsyth (1811 - 1859), Wilson & Crosthwaite (1863 - 1865), Wilson & Blain (1869), James Nelson, Tyne Dock Engineering Co.

Types built here:

Brig, Snow, Brigantine, Barque

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

East India Company

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



The graving dock on Thrift Street was owned by Simon Temple from around 1780.

Simon Temple was an entrepeneur type character who pops up in various histories, not least shipbuilding and the mining history of South Tyneside. Simon Temple Jnr established a shipyard at Jarrow as well as owning collieries there and at Templetown nr Tyne Dock. He also owned a number of civic buildings at Jarrow such as schools, a fever house and hospital. Though Simon Temple Snr went bankrupt in 1786, he continued the family tradition alongside his brother William Smoult Temple. He was part of this business and likely had other affairs, as by 1802 he was living at Hylton Castle near Sunderland.

As Temple's focuses leant to Jarrow, Thomas Forsyth took over the dock primarily to repair ships. He did however built a good number of wooden vessels throughout his 50+ year tenure at the site until he passed in 1858. His third son sadly died at the dock in 1818, after falling into a ships hold. The yard was later taken over by Wilson from the early 1860s, and was in partnership with a couple of different fellows. The names known are Crosthwaite & Blain.

It appears Wilson was the last shipbuilder at the dock - The Britomart in 1869, which was a Barque which transported coal to various parts of the empire such as India. From the 1870s the dock was in the business of ship repairing. The dock was purchased and upgraded by James Nelson, and from 1885 was owned by Tyne Dock Engineering. From 1889 it became a joint stock company, and continued to be a significant shipbuilder owning yards at Deptford on the Thames and Swansea also.

The outline of the dock still exists, however the dock itself has been filled in following the Riverside Development Scheme.

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

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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