Plater's Shed at Readhead's shipyard, South Shields

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When: 01 May 1963

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Profile burning machine in operation in the Plater’s Shed at the shipyard of John Readhead & Sons Ltd, South Shields, May 1963 (TWAM ref. 1061/1196).

This set celebrates the achievements of the shipyard of John Readhead & Sons. The firm has played a significant role in the North East’s illustrious shipbuilding history and the development of South Shields.

The company began in 1865 when John Readhead, a shipyard manager, entered into business with J Softley at a small yard on the Lawe at South Shields. Following the dissolution of the partnership in 1872, it continued as John Readhead & Co on the same site until 1880 when the High West Yard was purchased. After Readhead’s four sons were taken into the business in 1888 the company traded as John Readhead & Sons becoming a limited company in 1908. In 1968 the company was absorbed by the Swan Hunter Group and in 1977 became part of the nationalised British Shipbuilders. In the same year the last vessel was launched and the site was sold off in 1984.

Readheads was prolific and built over 600 ships from 1865 to 1968, including 87 vessels for the Hain Steamship Company Ltd and over forty for the Strick Line Ltd. The shipyard also built four ships for the Prince Line, founded by Sir James Knott. The firm built vessels, which were involved in the major conflicts of the Twentieth Century. During the First World War they built patrol vessels and ‘x’ lighters (motor landing craft used in the Gallipoli campaign) for the Admiralty. During the Second World War the firm built tankers for the Normandy Landings.

(Copyright) We're happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Please cite 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' when reusing. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions and commercial use of the original physical version apply though; if you're unsure please email [email protected].


Owner: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 22987
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    outgoing floor

    • 06/Nov/2015 09:22:14

    Excellent shot, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums=)))

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    optimal chicken

    • 06/Nov/2015 18:35:29

    It proves that the yards were very much up to date with equipment and skills at the time. A unique picture this and one I've not seen before. It reminds me of the photo series of Doxford Engines before closure. If you'd like I could link directly to here??

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    Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

    • 06/Nov/2015 18:57:14

    Hi Paul, yes please do feel free to include a link to the Doxford Engines photos. Glad you like the image, there are some more great Readhead's shots to come.

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    optimal chicken

    • 06/Nov/2015 21:06:21

    [] Good stuff! OK now I do not own these images nor claim the rights to them. They were linked onto a ships enthusiasts website and took the world by storm when folk saw them. They show British engineering at its best. They're also taken before health and safety became a thing! Enjoy :)