Your chance to be put in the picture about North Shields shipbuilder

Workers at Smith's Dock Company in North Shields in 1920.
Workers at Smith's Dock Company in North Shields in 1920.

Thomas and William Smith purchased Limekilns Shore at North Shields in 1849 to expand their shipbuilding business.

Thomas Mather, of Rudyerd Street, North Shields, served his time as a shipwright from January 2, 1846, with T&W Smith as one of 50 apprentices.

He recalled, in a Shields Daily News article of 1906, delays caused by local unrest as a new highway had to be built from Whitehill Point to Milburn Place through the boundary wall between Chirton and North Shields.

T&W Smith became Smith’s Dock Company in 1891, and in 1899 it amalgamated with H S Edwards and Sons, at Bull Ring Docks since 1883, and Edwards Bros, the four sons of Harry Edwards, who set up their own company in 1893 to build barges,

coasters, fishing vessels and tugs.

The Shields Hustler magazine in September 1919 reported that Hastie D Burton had been contracted to build a huge staff canteen at the corner of Coach Lane and Addison Street, seating up to 600 Smith’s Dock workers.

William Joseph Thewlis is in this group picture from 1920, second left in the third row.

On January 2, 1954, the Sphere reported on the construction of the first new dry dock, to house tankers of up to 38,000 tons deadweight.

That new dock was officially opened by James Thomas, the first Viscount Cilcennin and first lord of the Admiralty, on June 18, 1954, hosted by director Tristram Edwards.

The firm took over the Shields Engineering & Dry Dock Co in 1955.

If anyone has further information on Smith’s Dock Company, they can tell Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre on 0191 643 5270 or email discover@northtyneside.gov.uk