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Stone Quay

South Shields

54.993383, -1.442888

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William Gilley (1787 - 1791) Thomas Metcalf (1814 - 1860s), J T Eltringham (1864 - 1913), Middle Dock Engineering Co.

Types built here:

Snow, Brig, Barque, Tug, Screw Steamer, Steam Lighter, Paddle Steamer, Trawler, Barge, Pilot, Hopper, Drifter, Brigantine

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Bristol & Exeter Railway Co, Clyde Shipping Co Ltd, Ayr Harbour Trustees, North Eastern Railway Co, Waterford Steam Shipping Co Ltd, North Eastern Ice Co, North Steam Herring Fisheries Ltd, County Borough of Gateshead, Government of the Gambia, North British Steam Fishing Co, Wear Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Humber Pilots Steam Cutter Co Ltd, Glen Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Northumberland Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Purdy Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Don Fishing Co Ltd, Manchester Ship Canal Co, Hartlepool Port & Harbour Commission, Prince Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Spillers & Bakers Ltd, The Great Central Railway Co, The Swan River Shipping Co Ltd, Soc Anon les Pecheries de Fecamp

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:

Wood, Iron, Steel



Last Updated:



The first record of this yard in use was with William Gilley in 1787.

Gilley was in partnership with William Oswell until a year later, when Gilley continued solo. Little is known of him apart from the fact he went bankrupt in 1791 and proceeded to let out the yard in 1791. Thomas Metcalf was in control of the yard from 1814. Little is known about him, but he produced an extensive number of wooden rigged vessels between the 1810s and the 1860s. It was known as the Stone Quay as it used to be used to ship limestone from Cleadon and Fulwell. It was later the location of the Shields salt pans but redeveloped by the 1800s. By the 1860s it passed over to the more well known Joseph Eltringham.

Eltringham was born around Prudhoe, and joined his father at the Stone Quay in 1864 after working at Palmers, Hebburn. The dock absorbed the smaller Metcalf Dock, where workmen would passed over the closed lock gates to reach both yards. Joseph Toward Eltringham rose up the ranks in the business and took on the business relatively young in his 20s.

It was in 1878 the company formally bought the Metcalf Yard and fully reconstructed it to produce the Eltringham complex. Much of his work up to 1890 would be sub-contracted from Rennoldson's. It was mainly tugs and smaller vessels, but later expanded into fishing vessels - trawlers and drifters. The yard at this era is shown on the 1890s map with a significant graving dock and bordered by a number of pubs. This includes the Scarborough Castle, aptly where many of Eltringham's customers were based. Many of the Clyde Shipping Co. tugs were also constructed here, as well as for various railway companies and ports around Britain.

Nearly 160 tugs were built here, and with the size of the business by the 1900s land was purchased at Willington Quay. The Eltringham's headquarters soon moved over there after formally opening in the February of 1914. The Stone Quay Yard was acquired by the Middle Dock Engineering Co. to construct their fourth dry dock, which at the time was the second largest on the Eastern coast beyond London.

This dock is still extant alongside the others. One is being infilled due to pollution while three are remaining in situ around the new residential developments as of 2023.

'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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