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Wapping Street

Low Dock (Brigham & Cowan Yard)

South Shields

55.001735, -1.439962

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Thomas Winship, Brodericks (1773 - 1802), Brigham & Cowan, British Shipbuilders

Types built here:

Barque, Snow, Sloop, Steam Launch, Yacht, Hopper

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

British Royal Navy, River Tyne Port Sanitary Authority

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:

Wood, Steel



Last Updated:



A yard was first documented here back in 1750s, though the first documented owner was Thomas Winship.

It was operated by the Brodericks by 1773. The family originally came from Whitby and became the owner of the Low Dock where both building and repairs took place. They built significant rigged vessels, some for the Royal Navy at this site.

It appears operations ceased upon the death of Lockwood Brodrick in 1802, when the yard was taken over by the Crasters a year later. From here the history of the Low Dock is a little murky as there were a number of shipbuilders in this area who were leased the yard through to the absorption through the Brigham & Cowan yard.

The repair yard and Low Dock was bought in 1876 by Thomas Brigham and Malcolm Cowan, and were incorporated as Brigham & Cowan Ltd. In their early years they manufactured yachts and engineering equipment though focused primarily on repair work. In 1924 they acquired the Hepple shipyard directly south, and already had a dry dock operating in Hull by this time.

As a result of this acquisition, they operated 3 dry docks throughout much of the 20th century. The yard was closed in 1977 and nationalised as part of British Shipbuilders, and finally closed in 1982.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1896

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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