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Battle Hill, Shipyard


54.977918, -1.535696

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John Coutts (1842 - 1848), Miller, Ravenhill & Salkeld (1851 - 1855), Vernon?

Types built here:

Schooner, Barque, Snow, Screw Steamer, Clipper, Paddle Steamer, Tug

Customers (Not Exhaustive):

Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co, Lloyd Austriaco, Trieste, British Government, Royal Mail Steam Packet Co

Estimated Output:


Construction Materials:




Last Updated:



A small shipyard was located at Battle Hill, which previous a settlement before Walker expanded throughout the area.

It was one of a number in the area, with this one likely owned by Coutts. John Coutts was the former draughtsmen for the Aberdeen firm Vernon, Bourne & Co, who launched John Garrow, an iron vessel in 1835. Coutts specialised in iron ships thanks to his experience, and his vessel the Prince Albert was one of the first full sized iron ships built on Tyneside. The QED was also built here, which was the first vessel to be built with double bottoms which carried water ballast, instead of filling the holds with chalk.

Coutts found difficulty maintaining a positive balance sheet while innovating at the same time, and as a result closed in 1848. In 1848 Coutts went into partnership with John Parkinson at Willington Quay though retired 5 years later. The yard at Walker however is still extant on the 1858 Ordnance Survey map which indicates it was still in use.

It was taken over by Miller, Ravenhill & Salkeld between 1851 - 55. They were shipbuilders and engineers on the Thames with a yard at Blackwall, but moved to Law Walker in 1851. It was managed by John Vernon who later had his own yard here or next door. Hulls were towed to London for installation of the engines, as they were still built at Blackwall.

They ceased production in 1854 on the Tyne, while the Thames works closed in 1872. They produced 7 steamers at the yard for P&O, the British Government and Royal Mail. If Vernon was also based at this yard, he produced a number of rigged steamers here between 1854 and 1857.

The yard was later consumed by the Neptune Yard.

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

Ordnance Survey, 1864

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Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

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