Smiths Dock Company
|Headquarters||South Bank, UK|
The company was originally established by Thomas Smith who bought William Rowe's shipyard at St. Peter's in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1810 and traded as William Smith & Co. The company opened its dock in North Shields in 1851. One of the first ships to be launched at the yard was the Termagent in 1852. The company changed its name to Smith's Dock Co. in 1891.
The company became associated with South Bank in Middlesbrough on the River Tees in Northeast England, after opening an operation there in 1907. Smiths Dock increasingly concentrated its shipbuilding business at South Bank, with its North Shields Yard being used mainly for repair work (in particular oil tankers) from 1909 onwards. Despite the shift of focus, The Company's headquarters remained at North Shields.
Smiths Dock built many ships that served during World War II, including trawlers that the Admiralty requisitioned and converted to armed trawlers of the Royal Naval Patrol Service such as HMT Amethyst, or more notably, HMT Arab, in which Lieutenant Richard Stannard (RNR) won the Victoria Cross. Smiths Dock are perhaps most famous for preparing the design of the Flower-class corvette, an anti-submarine convoy escort of World War II celebrated in the novel The Cruel Sea.
In 1968, the company completed the first British-built and owned container ship, the Manchester Challenge of 12,039 gross tons, for operation on Manchester Liners new container service to ports on the St Lawrence Seaway, Canada. By 1971, the company had delivered three further ships of this design to Manchester Liners.
- From bustling docks to a new community Evening Chronicle, 13 February 2007
- The Sound of Silence Evening Gazette, 18 April 2002
- Smith's Dock Monthly April 1924 pp 186, 193
- Fears for Tyneside tradition as Swan Hunter ship is towed to Govan for completion Guardian, 15 July 2006
- Stoker 1985, p. 43
- Kirkleatham Museum