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Pallion, Adamson Shipyard


54.913825, -1.412013

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William Adamson (1855 - 1870)

Types built here:

Brigantine, Barque, Brig, Schooner, Snow

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




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William Anderson (either a blood relative of Adamson who ran the North Sands & Panns shipyard, or a separate figure altogether) opened a shipyard at Pallion, where the Doxford Yard would later be located.

William Adamson was born in Easington, Yorkshire in 1815 and came to Sunderland by the 1840s when he married Mary Ann Robinson at Bishopwearmouth Parish Church. An excellent profile of him can be found here:

Little detail exists of the yard, especially because it falls between the remit of published Ordnance Survey maps. It is known at least 33 ships were constructed by Adamson at Pallion, mainly for himself aside from one Danish figure and John Adamson (presumably his brother). Adamson also operated the Pallion Foundry in at least the 1860s, presumably the brass foundry seen on 1890s maps, as he advertises in local newspapers for skilled and active foundry travellers. For this reason, we can safely assume his yard was at this site, as well as the plain suggestion Adamson Street also sat adjacent.

Vessels appear to have ceased being constructed by 1870. There was a fire at the site in 1868, however this is unlikely to have attributed to closure. It appears Adamson retained his portfolio of ships after ceasing construction, so he may have focused attention on his cargo fleet. He bought a vessel from Short Brothers Ltd in 1876, showing he was still active.

William Adamson died at 40 Fawcett Street, his residence, in 1884 and is listed as a shipowner until his death. He was interred at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.

The site later became part of the huge Doxford shipbuilding complex.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1890s

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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