Alexander Hall and Sons

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Coordinates: 57°08′37″N 2°04′27″W / 57.1436°N 2.0743°W / 57.1436; -2.0743

Alexander Hall and Sons was a shipbuilder that operated in Aberdeen from 1797 to 1957.[1]


William Hall of Alexander Hall & Sons, Aberdeen shipbuilders
The ship Reindeer by Alexander Hall & Sons, Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Sailing ship "Port Jackson" by Alexander Hall & Sons, Aberdeen Maritime Museum

Alexander Hall (1760-1849) was born in Auchterless, moved to Aberdeen in 1783[2] and took over his father-in-law’s shipbuilding business Cochar and Gibbon in 1790 to found Alexander Hall and Company. Their first ships were wooden sailing vessels. A schooner built in 1839, The Scottish Maid, first used the 'Aberdeen bow' which was designed to improve speed and performance.

When he died in 1849, Alexander Hall left the shipyard to his sons James and William - William taking care of ship design and James running the business. They built many famous clippers, including Torrington and Stornoway, used on the opium and tea routes.

One ship later developed was the Jho Sho Maru, a barque-rigged steamer, built in the 1860s for the Japanese Navy. This vessel carried a belt of iron armour plating at the waterline together with eight 64 pounder and two 100 pounder guns. James suffered a fatal heart attack when a fire broke out in the yard during the ship's construction.

As well as building sailing ships, the firm also constructed steamers. Their first marine engine was produced in 1887, and installed in the launch Petrel. Their first trawler, Maggie Walker, was built in 1888, followed by more trawlers, coasters, tugs and dredgers. During the years of World War II Hall built 26 steam tugs, a large number going to the Admiralty.

The firm became deeply involved with the welfare of their employees, starting a medical fund in 1846 which took care of sick pay, medical attention and medication, and provided for funeral expenses.

Failure to modernise and adapt after the war, caused a downswing in Hall's fortunes and in 1957 Hall, Russell & Company took over the company. Hall Russell became part of British Shipbuilders in 1977. In the latter years the yard focused on ship repair work.[3]


The old Alexander Hall facility was acquired by A&P Appledore closed in 1992 and replaced by River Dee Ship Repairers.[4] Today the site is part of Telford Dock and now a modern drydock facilities belonging to Dales Marine Services Limited (est. 1987), a ship repair and maintenance facility.

Ships built[edit]