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North Sand Point Shipyard


54.914653, -1.369417

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David Baxter

Types built here:

Screw Steamer

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Lübeck – Königsberger Dampfschifffahrts Ges., Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co., Det Forenede D/S, Devon SS Co.

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



*Please note the information with this yard may be incomplete as data is being added by owner, rather than chronologically. As a result, this yard may have been worked before and after the dates listed.

North Sand Point at Monkwearmouth was the site of David Baxter's shipyard in the early 1880s. As far as we're aware Baxter first started operations in 1881, and before this he is listed as a Master Mariner. He perhaps took up the vocation of shipbuilder after suffering injury or as a change of scenery. It is verified by a Shields Daily News piece from July 1884 that he did start in this year, as it notes Baxter opened the yard "a few years ago" during an assizes case at Newcastle.

Baxter built at least 13 ships here. The yard numbers for the vessels begin at 20, so it is likely there was another owner at least for a short time before Baxter. His sole production was of iron screw steamers for merchants around the North Sea as well as a one off for Palmers and the Devon Steam Shipping Co. It was likely to have been located at modern day Topcliff. Formerly Sand Point Road came through this site for a ferry to the other side of Sunderland Harbour. We cannot visualise this site in the 1880s as there is no maps, but those illustrated in the 1850s shows a modest timber shipyard with saw pits, a workshop and smithy. If this is the Baxter, it undertook extensive modernisation given the construction of iron vessels.

Baxter was being sued for not paying towards the engine fitted in 1884, which led to his demise. The engine builders Ross & Duncan for his ship Greetlands, which was launched despite lack of payments towards the engines and furnishings. It's clear they were already seeing some financial troubles given the non payment, and Ross & Duncan were expected to lodge the case through Baxter's bankruptcy. This hammered the nail of any wish to restart operations.

The site, if it is to be believed north of Sand Point Road, was cleared through the 1880s and by the 1890s was unused industrial land except for the East House public house. It is possible Baxter was the last tenant of the land for shipbuilding.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1897

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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