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Anyway, in 1826 he changed occupations & started a ship repair facility on North Sands 'with a repair slipway up which the ships were hauled by capstans worked by horses'. The word 'graving' was used, but perhaps is no longer used, to refer to the cleaning of a ship's bottom, the term being derived, perhaps from a French word which meant 'beach'.) I am advised that that graving dock is still there today - in Jun. A Melbourne, Australia, ship from 1871 it would seem but LR of 1876/77 first mentions the registry at Melbourne of the vessel now (LR') of 543 tons. Grice of Melbourne as her then owner - thru, per LR, 1883/84.

These two pages summarise what Corder wrote about the history of the many 'Austin' businesses & companies over the years, as you can see here. It would seem that the shipyard came into existence way back in 1826! Founded by Peter Austin, born in 1770, whose name this site knows because he was in 1805, I understand, a partner with Samuel Moore in the Wear Pottery & had earlier than 1805 been trained in the pottery business by Robert Fairbairns at High Pottery in Newbottle, located just a few miles away from Sunderland. Austin and Son' does not seem to make sense - where perhaps 'S. (A graving dock is, for those like me who do not know these things, is a multi-purpose dry-dock, which can be used for a variety of purposes - for new ship building, for ship repair, & for ship maintenance. (An 1876 Register of Australian & New Zealand ships lists (on page 23) R.

A sign at the site today, shown here (& in the image strip above), in an Alan Collie image, advises us that the pontoon was towed half way around the world to a shipyard in Hong Kong a year or so after the 'Austin' ship building yard was closed. Now it is really not for the webmaster to criticise from afar re such matters, but the sign looks to my eye to be have been 'low budget' - a more distinguished sign, perhaps illustrating the pontoon, might better have been commissioned in the first place to commemorate such a significant part of the city's history.

Certainly the sign, in the summer of 2011, was in urgent need of repair or replacement.

The entire crew took to a longboat which stood by Madeline for a while, lost sight of her in a squall, & never saw her again.

The boats were ordered out & a gig with all the ship's papers was swamped & lost.

That is good information, but can anyone tell us exactly where 'Dame Dolly's rock' was located? And in 1897 they expanded westwards to take over a bottling plant located, it would seem, immediately to the east of the Sunderland road bridge. Every time I read new data, many changes are required to the data which is already on site! But do, by all means, view the original e Bay image as was offered by vendor 'claudiacaroline' - the card is long sold. I cannot, alas, tell you the origin of the image which was provided to the webmaster by a site visitor. It is of an 'Austin' launching party at Wear Dockyard in the 1950s but the name of the ship being launched is not known. The image was kindly provided by Tom Millar, whose father, Thomas (Tom) Millar, was General Manager of 'Austins' from about 1950 through 1957/58. The vessel is Lloyd's Register ('LR') listed from 1849/50 thru 1869/70 & from 1874/75 thru 1876/77. Austin of Sunderland, presumably builder related, likely built on speculation. At 4 p.m., Darss Point, Germany, was 4 miles distant, & the vessel followed a course to pass through Femern Belt (Fehmarnbelt). The seas broke violently over the ship & the crew took to a boat & sheltered to leeward of the hull until daylight.

The yard would seem to have been known as the 'Wear Dockyard'. It would be good to be able to provide on this page some images of the early members of the Austin family, from contemporary prints or from other sources. The 'pontoon' is under Westburn, the vessel at right, built in 1929. I understand it was a giant platform which essentially rested on the bed of the River Wear & could raise a vessel out of the water & lower it back down again. 'Imagine' calls it a 'submersible barge' in their page re 'Austin's Pontoon, Sunderland', which features a print (of unknown date) by Herbert William Simpson (1907-1972). I think that the main 'Austin' yard may have closed in early 1960 & the business was relocated to Pallion. Tom's father and mother are both in the launching party - his father 8th from the right & his mother 5th from the left. For service from Sunderland to the Mediterranean, with J. The ship was then abandoned & became a total wreck. The Court concluded that Beane had caused the loss of Mora by neglecting to verify the vessel's position by the frequent use of the lead.

I am advised, (thanks John Rowson), that the pontoon was built by Swan Hunter. ) shows 'Austin's pontoon' with a ship on it - in 1962. I have placed all material where your help would be welcomed, together, on page 105.

The images I have seen do not, however, date from 1903 - or 1904 for that matter. And here is the Herbert Simpson print:- When other quality postcard or other images of the pontoon become available, I will add it them in also. I read that 'in 1958, more than 600 ships underwent repair at the yard of Wear Dockyard, adjacent to the Wearmouth Bridge.'Austins have always specialised in building colliers and coasters, the demand for which has been falling off in recent years, so that now (early 1961 perhaps in that context) Austins are building a luxury yacht, the first, they hope, of many to come. 1959, but was reopened 6 months later to build Radiant II, a luxury motor yacht.

A 'Valentines's Series' postcard of the pontoon, #57739, of British manufacture. I am advised that the tower cranes of Austin's Shipyard were dismantled in about 1968/69, and one of them fell into the river blocking it to traffic for 14 days or so - 'which cost the contractor dearly'. Miramar lists, 11 pages, (highest hull number on each page).

And in 1874/75 Lloyd's Register, the owner is recorded as being G.

13, 1875, the vessel, under the command of Alexander Oppen & with a crew of 13 all told, left Demerera, (South America, now Guyana) bound for London with a general cargo.

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