William Doxford & Sons

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William Doxford & Sons
Former type Private
Industry Shipbuilding
Diesel engines
Fate Acquired
Successors A&P Group
Founded 1840
Defunct 1986
Headquarters Sunderland, UK
Key people William Doxford

William Doxford & Sons Ltd, often referred to simply as Doxford, was a British shipbuilding and marine engineering company.


William Doxford founded the company in 1840.[1] From 1870 it was based in Pallion, Sunderland, on the River Wear in Northeast England. The Company was managed by William Doxford's four sons following his death in 1882.[1] It was renamed Doxford & Sunderland Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd in 1961 and Doxford & Sunderland Ltd in 1966.[1] Court Line took it over in 1972 and renamed it Sunderland Shipbuilders Ltd.[1]

William Doxford & Sons' shipyard, River Wear 1967

In the 1970s a new all-weather Pallion yard was built which could build two ships of up to 30,000 tons deadweight side-by-side. The steel came in at one end, and the completed ship left from the other with engines installed and sometimes with the machinery running.[2]

Court Line collapsed in 1974 and the company was nationalised.[1] It was privatised in 1986 when it was merged with Austin & Pickersgill to form North East Shipbuilders.[1] However, within two years of the merger the Doxford Pallion yard was closed down. Sunderland Wall climbing centre now occupies a section of the building. [3]


Doxford was a major British shipbuilder. It also made marine diesel engines, the last of which it built in 1980. An example is preserved in the Regional Museums Store at Beamish Museum.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Crockett, Margaret; Foster, Janet (October 2005). Report on the Access to Shipbuilding Collections in North East England (ARK) Project. The Archive – Skills Consultancy. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Bill (2 September 1992). "Obituary: James Venus". The Independent. 
  3. ^ "Last shipyard". BBC Online. 28 November 2008. 

External links[edit]