Preparing the cargo ship 'Crofter' for launch

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When: 16 August 1951

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View of the cargo ship ‘Crofter’ being prepared for launch at the shipyard of John Readhead & Sons Ltd, South Shields, 16 August 1951 (TWAM ref. 1061/1086).

This set celebrates the achievements of the shipyard of John Readhead & Sons. The firm has played a significant role in the North East’s illustrious shipbuilding history and the development of South Shields.

The company began in 1865 when John Readhead, a shipyard manager, entered into business with J Softley at a small yard on the Lawe at South Shields. Following the dissolution of the partnership in 1872, it continued as John Readhead & Co on the same site until 1880 when the High West Yard was purchased. After Readhead’s four sons were taken into the business in 1888 the company traded as John Readhead & Sons becoming a limited company in 1908. In 1968 the company was absorbed by the Swan Hunter Group and in 1977 became part of the nationalised British Shipbuilders. In the same year the last vessel was launched and the site was sold off in 1984.

Readheads was prolific and built over 600 ships from 1865 to 1968, including 87 vessels for the Hain Steamship Company Ltd and over forty for the Strick Line Ltd. The shipyard also built four ships for the Prince Line, founded by Sir James Knott. The firm built vessels, which were involved in the major conflicts of the Twentieth Century. During the First World War they built patrol vessels and ‘x’ lighters (motor landing craft used in the Gallipoli campaign) for the Admiralty. During the Second World War the firm built tankers for the Normandy Landings.

(Copyright) We're happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Please cite 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' when reusing. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions and commercial use of the original physical version apply though; if you're unsure please email [email protected].


Owner: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 21863
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    Calgary Doug

    • 18/Dec/2015 16:15:10

    As a pipefitter I can imagine what getting to your work area would be like every morning. That is a long flight of steps to climb. It makes me appreciate what the most famous pipefitter in the world did before he was an entertainer. Of course I mean the great Joe Cocker.

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    Spike (färben Sie mich ein)

    • 18/Dec/2015 19:31:05

    from Name:CROFTER Type:Cargo Ship Launched:16/08/1951 Completed:12/1951 Builder:John Readhead & Sons Ltd Yard:West Yard, South Shields Yard Number:568 Dimensions:8377grt, 4776nrt, 468.0 x 59.9 x 37.9ft Engines:T3cyl (26.5, 44 & 74 x 48ins) + LP turbine, 3750ihp Engines by:John Readhead & Sons Ltd Propulsion:1 x Screw Construction:Steel Reg Number:183830 History: 12/1951 Charente SS Co Ltd (T & J Harrison & Co Ltd), Liverpool 08/1971 Spica Shipping Co Ltd, Famagusta; renamed AGHIOS GEORGIOS 1976 Ifestion SA, Panama; renamed SAN GEORGIO 1977 Broken up Comments: 1977: Broken up at San Esteban de Pravia, left Bilbao 18/05/1977