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Swan Hunter (Coulson & Co) Shipyard


54.986815, -1.527397

Useful Links:






Coulson, Cooke & Co (1873 - 1874), John Coulson & Co (1876 - 1879), Swan Hunter (1896 - 2007)

Types built here:

Screw Steamer, Tug, Barge, Tanker, Pontoon, Floating Dry Dock, Caisson, Passenger Liner, Floating Coal Depot, Floating Workshop

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Nordre Bergenhus Amtskommune, Mercantile Steam Ship Co Ltd, Tyne & Wear Steamship Owning Co Ltd, Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Co, English & American Steam Shipping Co Ltd, Anglo-Scandinavian Steamship Co Ltd, James Knott, Elderslie Steam Ship Co Ltd, Indralema Steamship Co Ltd, New Zealand & Australian Steamship Co, British & Foreign Steamship Co Ltd, Newcastle Steamship Co Ltd, Pacific Steam Navigation Co, Government of Spain, Cunard Steamship Co Ltd, AC de Freitas & Co, English & American Shipping Co Ltd, The Admiralty, Beaver Line, Shell Transport & Trading Co Ltd, Pensacola Trading Co Ltd, Canadian Pacific Railway Company, Ellerman Lines Ltd, Government of Natal

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:

Iron, Steel



Last Updated:



A yard was established between the Schlesinger yard and Mr Allen's chemical factory in 1873, with ships first launched in 1874.

The yard was formally owned by Charles Mitchell, but was operated by two of his associates - Couldon & Cooke. They previously operated at St Peter's but required further space so a yard was built here. Screw Steamers were constructed for around a year until the firm ran into financial difficulties. Charles Mitchell then oversaw the running of the yard. Mitchell passed the yard onto C S Swan, his brother in law, who continued work until his untimely death in 1879.

George Burton Hunter, a Wearside shipbuilder, then entered negotiations with Swan's widow and Mitchell to form C S Swan & Hunter with him as managing director. From there the yard boomed constructing passenger liners, tankers and large cargo ships for companies around the world. Carpathia was built here as well as a number of other trans-atlantic liners. This continued through to 2007, though its last couple of decades saw only ad-hoc repairs and small Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships.

In 2006, Swan Hunter were put up for sale due to expensive and delayed projects which froze them out of future contracts. The yards cranes were put up for sale and moved to the Bharati Shipyards in India. Swan Hunter still remain in a much smaller and specialised form for offshore engineering services and design.

The site has been sold to Shepherd Offshore.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1917

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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