Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,365 pages of information and 245,906 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Bartram and Sons

From Graces Guide
Model of HMS P23 on display at Sunderland Museum. Built in 1916, P23 was one of 43 anti-submarine vesssels built under the Admiralty Emergency War Programme

Bartram and Sons of Sunderland were a shipbuilding company

1837/8 Company founded at Hylton by George Bartram who had a long and involved relationship with shipbuilding. He established a shipyard at Hylton in 1838 in partnership with John Lister. Bartram had previously been a manager at Dryden and then Reay at Biddick Ford and Hylton.

1838 The yard's first ship, Crown, was launched on 7th July. The yard went on to build 40 barques, schooners, snows, brigs and brigantines with the largest being John and Mary. It was over 100 feet in length and 400 gross tons.

1852/4 The partnership with Lister was dissolved. Bartram continued business in partnership with his son Robert Appleby Bartram.

1871 The Company transferred to a new yard at the South Docks facing the sea. George Bartram retired. Robert went into business with George Haswell and the company was known as Bartram, Haswell and Co. They were originally wooden shipbuilders but now began the construction of iron vessels.

1870s The area of Haswell's yard seems to have been divided between Bartram’s and Mounsey and Foster which later became Sunderland Shipbuilding Co[1]

1872 The yard focused on iron shipbuilding and their first ship, Ardmore was launched on 6th June. The yard continued to manufacture sailing ships however, the last of which was a four-masted barque called Mercia which sailed away in 1876.

1890 John Haswell retired and Robert Bartram's two sons - George and William - joined the Company which was renamed Bartram and Sons.

1902-1914 Ten clipper-bowed cargo-liners were built for Ben Line of Leith. 20+ tramps were also built for various companies during this period.

1914 Directory: Listed as ship builders of South Docks, Sunderland. [2]

1914 Shipbuilders and repairers. Speciality: large cargo-carrying vessels. Employees 600. [3]

WWI 12 ships of 41,658 grt were built, mostly to private order. Ten standard "WAR" "B" tramps were built , the last of which was Stonewall. After the War, the yard returned to building steam tramps as well as one tanker, Malistan.

1920s More than 17 steam tramps were built by the yard between 1921 and 1930.

1921 Robert Bartram was knighted and survived both of his sons. He died in 1925 aged 90.

1922 Bartram and Sons became a limited liability company. Robert and George Bartram remained in charge of the yard until the yard was taken over by Austin and Pickersgill in 1968. Robert Bartram was also known as Colonel R. A. Bartram.

1930 The yard ran out of orders this year due to the Depression. The yard only built one ship "on speculation" between 1930 and 1936. This was a hi-tech ship built by a small number of men. She was completed as Eskdene in October 1934.

1935 The yard experienced an upturn in work with two tramps commissioned by one company and a further four orders gained from the Government's Scrap & Build Scheme of 1935.

1936 Eleven tramps were completed between 1936 and the outbreak of war in September 1939.

1939 The yard closed down briefly due to lack of orders.

WWII The yard had a huge output during the Second World war with an initial order of 24 ships with two tramps: nine were Government standard, five to the Empire "B" design followed by four to the "C" type design.

1943 This was the yard's best year where five tramps were launched and conversion work also carried out on four ships. A new berth was built to cope with the orders and the rest of the yard was modernised as well. The yard also had the first female welder admitted to the boilermaker's union; Mrs Collard, who worked until the end of the War.

1945 The yard benefited with a number of orders after the War, with orders coming in from Portugal, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, and Greece.

1946 Between 1946 and 1967 a total of 85 ships were built by the yard which averaged out at four ships per year.

1952 The area of the yard was increase by one fifth and one berth was extended by 30 feet. The yard was the first in the field with a number of innovations: x-ray examinations of welding, optical lofting procedures, shot-blasting of all steel and the use of paint primer. The yard began receiving regular orders for cargo liners with over 30 of these being made for different companies between 1953 and 1967.

1958 La Marea, launched on 3rd July was the first ship to have engines and bridge moved aft.

1961 1,200 employees. [4]

1964 Bartram's acquired the fitting out quay of Short Brothers yard at Pallion which meant that larger ships could now be built and launched by the yard rather than sent to the Tyne.

1965 The Geddes Report recommended amalgamation of the yard with others.

1968 The yard was bought by Austin and Pickersgill in November. The yard began building "SD14" ships. The first of which was Mimis N. Papalios.

1971 Colonel R. A. Bartram retired. He died ten years later in 1981 and was one of the last Sunderland family shipbuilders.

1978 The yard was closed after the launch of Australind on 23rd March. The workforce were integrated into the Austin and Pickersgill workforce. The yard itself was demolished and used as container storage areas by the Port of Sunderland.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • L. A. Ritchie, The Shipbuilding Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (1992)
  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
  • [2] Wikipedia