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Low Street, Alcock Shipyard


54.909475, -1.374908

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John Thomas Alcock, Charles Alcock, Robert Hutton Potts

Types built here:

Snow, Brig, Barque, Barge, Hopper

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Jarrow Chemical Co. Ltd.

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



The first mention of the Alcock family operating a shipyard is in October 1834, the same year their first known vessel "Gosforth" launched as a Snow vessel. The primary builder here was John Thomas Alcock, born in 1799 though collaborated with his brother Charles. They were the son of John, who was a carpenter and upholsterer at Sunderland.

Business appeared to remain steady for the next few decades. All but one of the ships built here were rigged vessels for general cargo, either for merchants on the East Coast or themselves. J T Alcock was a known shipowner, and probably traded and leased them as a main trade. They also built a one off barge for the Jarrow Chemical Co., operating at Temple Town and early proponents of progressive working conditions (

After 1841, the partnership with Charles ended, with him moving south in the Essex/London area. John continued the practice until around 1880 and bought the yard from the Brancepeth Estate in the mid 1850s, after it was put up for sale. The business at this time was clearly profitable, as Alcock moved into Grindon Hall near Silksworth.

It appears Alcock ceased building vessels in the mid 1860s. Any references to new vessels dry up, The neighbouring Potts Brothers took over the site in the mid 1860s. In the 1880s, Alcock resided at 9 Percy Terrace in Jesmond and died there in 1884. Upon retirement he likely sold his residence at Grindon.

The yard was at Low Street, "at the foot of Russell Street" as per a sale listing in the Daily Echo of 24/07/1880. In the 1850s it had a patent slip, engine house, boiler house, multiple warehouses, a smithy and an on site office. There were also three cranes illustrating, highlighting that despite not constructing iron or steamer vessels their working practices were still modern.

It is worth noting his second son Charles William Alcock was the creator of the FA Cup, and pioneering both international football and cricket. He played for England 5 times in the 1870s, and was responsible for the first international match between England and Scotland. He formalised the use of the Sheffield rules and professionalised the game.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1858

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