A list of the Sunderland built vessels referenced in these pages is at the top of page 040. I read that Peter Austin (1)'s 'first registered launch was in 1831, a brig. Samuel Austin, I read, 'laid down a patent repair slipway, also two building berths .......' Just who is Samuel Austin? And probably other yards also, until the yard ran right up to the 'Scotia Engine Works' facilities. Hunter is in fact George Burton Hunter later Sir George B. Austin 'pontoon' which opened in 1903 (but City of Sunderland says in 1904). 2012, I saw that a stereo image of the pontoon was published by 'Realistic Travels', which company while based in London had offices around the world including one in Toronto, Canada. The name of the ship on the pontoon is, however, another matter! For service from Sunderland to Whitby in 1851/52, from London to the West Indies in 1852/53 & 1853/54, from Sunderland to the Mediterranean from 1854/55 thru 1859/60 & then for service as a Liverpool coaster. The Mercantile Navy Lists of 1861 thru 1876 list the vessel as registered at West Hartlepool ('WH'), certainly, from 1865 owned by Isaac Bedlington of WH. The vessel is Lloyd's Register listed from 1856/57 thru 1886/87 (as far as I have checked) and probably is listed after that edition. For a number of years was on the London to Australia route.
A list of the Sunderland shipbuilders referenced in these pages is a little lower on page 040. This was on ground called Nova Scotia, near Dame Dolly's rock.' Brian Dodds states, however, that not only was the site called Nova Scotia, additionally the shipyard itself was called 'Nova Scotia' & was at Sand Point, near Dame Dolly's Rock, which rock was so named as it was the viewpoint from which Dame Dorothy Williamson and her maids would gather to watch ships sailing out to sea. I read that in 1874 they started a branch yard with G. Hunter, who later went across to the Tyne to start Swan Hunter's yard. Hunter, famous for his leadership role in what became Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Ltd., of Wallsend-on-Tyne. In 1890 they expanded into shipbuilding premises previously owned by John Hutchinson which included two small graving docks. I suspect, however, that he was Chairman in relatively recent years (by that I mean the 1940s or 1950s), though exactly when it was I do not presently know. A 'webmaster modified' version of the e Bay image is next, available in a slightly larger size here. Next is a simply splendid image of the pontoon & yard in Jun. An even larger version of the image is available by clicking the image. Marwood's North of England Register of 1854 still records the vessel as registered at Sunderland & owned by Thos. LR of 1874/75 thru 1876/77, records the vessel as owned by 'Bedlington', while LR of 1876/77 notes that the vessel had been 'Wrecked'. 5, 1876, Mora, then owned by 'Isaac Bedlington and others' & registered at WH, with Henry Beane ('Beane') in command, left Hartlepool with a cargo of 308 tons of coal for Flemsburg, (Flensburg, Germany, I believe), with a crew of 6 all told. 16, 1876, the vessel sighted Ohlenborg Light, but the light was only occasionally visible as the weather at the time was thick & the wind was blowing hard. it struck Puttgarden Reef (off Puttgarden, Germany & Femern island). Per 1 (data, Birch Grove - 1872), 2 (converted into a lighter in 1888), 3 (Sir John Grice, 'John Grice & Co.'), 4 (towed out to sea in 1932).
Anyway, in 1826 he changed occupations & started a ship repair facility on North Sands 'with a repair slipway up which the ships were hauled by capstans worked by horses'. The word 'graving' was used, but perhaps is no longer used, to refer to the cleaning of a ship's bottom, the term being derived, perhaps from a French word which meant 'beach'.) I am advised that that graving dock is still there today - in Jun. A Melbourne, Australia, ship from 1871 it would seem but LR of 1876/77 first mentions the registry at Melbourne of the vessel now (LR') of 543 tons. Grice of Melbourne as her then owner - thru, per LR, 1883/84.
These two pages summarise what Corder wrote about the history of the many 'Austin' businesses & companies over the years, as you can see here. It would seem that the shipyard came into existence way back in 1826! Founded by Peter Austin, born in 1770, whose name this site knows because he was in 1805, I understand, a partner with Samuel Moore in the Wear Pottery & had earlier than 1805 been trained in the pottery business by Robert Fairbairns at High Pottery in Newbottle, located just a few miles away from Sunderland. Austin and Son' does not seem to make sense - where perhaps 'S. (A graving dock is, for those like me who do not know these things, is a multi-purpose dry-dock, which can be used for a variety of purposes - for new ship building, for ship repair, & for ship maintenance. (An 1876 Register of Australian & New Zealand ships lists (on page 23) R.
The Austin 'pontoon' was located on the south bank of the River Wear, just east of the railway & road bridges. Part of the above text originates with a paper written by J. 138, 171, 203, 233, 263, 303, 324, 354, 384, 414, 420.
Visible to all who crossed that bridge, since they just had to look down to see the pontoon & its activity laid out before them. There must be hundreds if not thousands of photos of the pontoon, 'out there' somewhere, taken by passers-by over 60 or more years. In a snippet of data, I read that the yard made a net profit of 51,900 in the year to Apl. And on this site, at page 140 is a list of 'Austin' built vessels, starting in 1831 & ending in 1959. A 2 masted sailing ship carrying square sails & a trysail on a small jackmast.
Austin, page bottom (have had to disable it, a beautiful Lake Applet featuring a frog, since it makes access to the whole page impossible. To search for specific text on this page, just press 'CTRL F' & then enter your search term. At a date after 1826, but at a date unstated, Peter Austin was joined in the business by his son, also named Peter Austin. It is interesting to read there that Robert Thompson, (1797-1860), also served his apprenticeship at the Allison yard. I presume, however, that they mean a site on the south bank of the River Wear, east of but close to the road bridge. I am advised, however, that 'The Standard' of London, referred on Nov. I think that the vessel was 'Choice' rather than 'The Choice' however. And that the company published a large series of stereo images of WW1, 'The Great War'. In 1856, per Turnbull's Register, & in Christie's Shipping Register of 1858 the vessel was owned by Thomas Wilson, & Wm. Now LR continues to record 'Wilson' as the vessel's owner & J. That is good information, but can anyone tell us exactly where 'Dame Dolly's rock' was located? And in 1897 they expanded westwards to take over a bottling plant located, it would seem, immediately to the east of the Sunderland road bridge. Every time I read new data, many changes are required to the data which is already on site! But do, by all means, view the original e Bay image as was offered by vendor 'claudiacaroline' - the card is long sold. I cannot, alas, tell you the origin of the image which was provided to the webmaster by a site visitor. It is of an 'Austin' launching party at Wear Dockyard in the 1950s but the name of the ship being launched is not known. The image was kindly provided by Tom Millar, whose father, Thomas (Tom) Millar, was General Manager of 'Austins' from about 1950 through 1957/58. The vessel is Lloyd's Register ('LR') listed from 1849/50 thru 1869/70 & from 1874/75 thru 1876/77. Austin of Sunderland, presumably builder related, likely built on speculation. At 4 p.m., Darss Point, Germany, was 4 miles distant, & the vessel followed a course to pass through Femern Belt (Fehmarnbelt). The seas broke violently over the ship & the crew took to a boat & sheltered to leeward of the hull until daylight. The yard would seem to have been known as the 'Wear Dockyard'. It would be good to be able to provide on this page some images of the early members of the Austin family, from contemporary prints or from other sources. The 'pontoon' is under Westburn, the vessel at right, built in 1929. I understand it was a giant platform which essentially rested on the bed of the River Wear & could raise a vessel out of the water & lower it back down again. 'Imagine' calls it a 'submersible barge' in their page re 'Austin's Pontoon, Sunderland', which features a print (of unknown date) by Herbert William Simpson (1907-1972). I think that the main 'Austin' yard may have closed in early 1960 & the business was relocated to Pallion. Tom's father and mother are both in the launching party - his father 8th from the right & his mother 5th from the left. For service from Sunderland to the Mediterranean, with J. The ship was then abandoned & became a total wreck. The Court concluded that Beane had caused the loss of Mora by neglecting to verify the vessel's position by the frequent use of the lead. The only image I have seen so far, related to the yard at all, is an image of Mr. Fireside, built in 1942, is beside her & Borde, built in 1953, is the ship in the near left rear. Can anybody advise re the origin of what is a truly fine image. The first image on this 'pdf' page (thanks City of Sunderland! Tom has provided launch images with everyone identified re 4 vessels (Ardingly, Borde, Hackney & Wallarah) & also another launching image with an 'identity' problem. Per 1 (Board of Trade inquiry into 1876 grounding & loss, ex 'Accounts and Papers', published 1876, a 'Google' book), 2 (ownership in 1858). The Court suspended his certificate for 3 months, but suggested he should be granted a mate's certificate. I am advised, (thanks John Rowson), that the pontoon was built by Swan Hunter. ) shows 'Austin's pontoon' with a ship on it - in 1962. I have placed all material where your help would be welcomed, together, on page 105.
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The images I have seen do not, however, date from 1903 - or 1904 for that matter. And here is the Herbert Simpson print:- When other quality postcard or other images of the pontoon become available, I will add it them in also. I read that 'in 1958, more than 600 ships underwent repair at the yard of Wear Dockyard, adjacent to the Wearmouth Bridge.'Austins have always specialised in building colliers and coasters, the demand for which has been falling off in recent years, so that now (early 1961 perhaps in that context) Austins are building a luxury yacht, the first, they hope, of many to come. 1959, but was reopened 6 months later to build Radiant II, a luxury motor yacht.