Postcard showing the launch of HMS Manchester, April 1937

This postcard shows HMS Manchester on her launch on Monday, April 12, 1937.

A cruiser, ordered for a cost of over £1m in 1935, HMS Manchester was a product of the successful shipbuilding yard of Messrs Hawthorn, Leslie and Co. Ltd, Hebburn.

The Shields News of Tuesday, April 13, 1937, described how big crowds turned out to watch the launch.

Sixteen months later, the Evening News of Thursday, August 4, 1938, reported that HMS Manchester left ‘for acceptance trials off the Tyne after which she will be handed over and go to Portsmouth, her home port’.

The same newspaper article refers to two sister ships, HMS Newcastle and HMS Sheffield, that were built on the Tyne at Messrs Vickers Armstrong’s yard, Walker.

The Hebburn shipyard was founded by Wallsend resident Andrew Leslie, who was born in Aberdeen on September 1, 1818.

The 1861 census shows Mr Leslie living in a property listed as Wallsend Manor with his wife Margaret and two servants.

The 1871 census lists the same property as Buddels House and Andrew and Margaret Leslie are living with their 21-year-old niece Annie Macintosh and three servants.

Mr Leslie was not the only Wallsend resident to travel daily across the Tyne to Hebburn for work.

The Wallsend Herald of January 8, 1904, reiterates this fact in its celebration of ‘two well equipped ferry-boats’ and acknowledgment that ‘the needs of the people who cross from side to side must be supplied for some years to come’.

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