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High Dock

South Shields

54.988976, -1.446954

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Nicholson, Horn & Blenkinsop (1790 - 1818), Thomas Wallis, Cuthbert Young (1818), James Edwards (1831 - 1852), Harry Smith Edwards (1857 - 1863)

Types built here:

Brigantine, Brig, Snow, Barque

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



The High Dock was in use by at least 1783.

The yard was operated by Robert Wallis for at least 7 years until he leased the High Dock to Nicholson & Horn. Throughout their time at the yard they constructed rigged wooden vessels for various merchants in the region, probably as part of the coal trade. Nicholson & Horn also repaired vessels after occupying the adjoining with the single docks next door.

By 1817 there was tree dry docks, two slipways, a timber pond, workmens houses, smiths shop, mould loft and cranes. Their partnership ended in 1817 and Cuthbert Young took over the site. A known shipbuilder for his later work at Young's Dock on Thrift Street, Cuthbert started here much earlier constructing rigged vessels for localmen. This continued until the 1830s - Cuthbert may have ceased work as he passed away at his house at West Docks in 1835.

From there, the yard was in the hands of James Edwards. James was married to the daughter of shipbuilder George Straker, and it was him that put James in charge of the High Dock and transferred management to him. He lacked experience and no growth or expansion was borne out of his tenure. His son Harry Smith Edwards took charge in 1857.

The yard was likely in use for the next couple of decades until Readhead's totally renovated the yard and absorbed the land into the huge complex that became Readhead's in 1880.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1857

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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