Looking Back at Wilkie’s Ropery

Alexander Wilkie supervising the hand rope making process in his ropery at Percy Square, Tynemouth.
Alexander Wilkie supervising the hand rope making process in his ropery at Percy Square, Tynemouth.

Alexander Wilkie supervises the hand rope-making process in his ropery at Percy Square, Tynemouth. The original Rope Walk is on the 1896 Ordnance Survey map, and the 1901 census lists Alexander living with his wife Mary at Linskill Street, North Shields.

The business was founded by Alexander’s father John around 1870. In the Shields Evening News in 1939 Alexander explained how his father was the only rope-maker on Tyneside who could “spin double” and that he could walk up to 25 miles in a day’s work.

Technology gradually replaced hand rope-making with more efficient machine-led processes and Wilkie’s Ropery did not continue following Alexander’s death in 1941.

If anyone has information contact Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre on 0191 643 5270 or email discover@northtyneside.gov.uk