S.P. Austin and Son Ltd
S.P Austin and Son Ltd was founded in 1826 by Peter Austin, who started by building wooden collier brigs on the north side of the River Wear.
In 1846, the firm was moved over the river to a site near Wearmouth Bridge, which the firm occupied until it closed.

In 1866 Peter Austin retired and his son Samuel Peter Austin, Junior and took over the yard and moved it to the South side of the river.

In 1869 the last wooden ship was built in the yard and in the 1870s repairs started on iron ships.   By 1881 the yard employed 396 men and 54 boys.


1890 to 1956
In 1896 the company was incorporated as a Private Limited Company and in 1899 Re-registered as a public company. The company was registered on 25 September, to acquire the shipbuilding and ship repairing business of a company of the same name.Austin’s was famous for its pontoon, which opened in 1904. The pontoon was a platform that could be sunk below a ship, then re-floated to raise the ship out of the water.

1914 Directory: Listed as Iron Ship Builders of Bishopwearmouth panns, Sunderland.WWI Output during the War was 13 colliers of 28,979 tons along with five small naval craft. One of these vessels, Icemaid became the prototype for war standard colliers of that size during World War II.1914 Shipbuilders, Ship Engine and Boiler Repairers. Specialities: building steamers for cargo carrying purposes, chiefly vessels adapted for the coal trade. Employees 800.1932 Only two colliers were made due to the Depression.1954 Austin’s merged with W. Pickersgill and Sons in 1954 to become Austin and Pickersgill in 1956 the yard closed.

J.L. Thompson and Sons

J.L. Thompson and Sons was a shipyard on the River Wear, Sunderland, which produced ships from the mid-18th century until the 1980s. The world-famous Liberty Ship was among the designs to be created, produced and manufactured at the yard's base at North Sands.

More shipyards to come.  Visit us again for further updates.

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