Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company
Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited, often referred to simply as "Palmers", was a British shipbuilding company. The Company was based in Jarrow, County Durham, in north-eastern England, and also had operations in Hebburn and Willington Quay on the River Tyne.
Launch of HMS Queen Mary beneath the distinctive gantry cranes of Palmers' yard
Early history and growthEdit
The company was established in 1852 by Charles Mark Palmer as Palmer Brothers & Co. in Jarrow. Later that year it launched the John Bowes, the first iron screw collier. By 1900 the business was known as Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company.[Fn 1] At that time, besides building ships, it manufactured and processed its own steel and other metals, and its products included Reed water tube boilers and marine steam engines.[Fn 2] By 1902 Palmers' base at Jarrow occupied about 100 acres (41 hectares) and included 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometres) of the southern bank of the River Tyne, and employed about 10,000 men and boys. In 1910 Sir Charles Palmer's interest in the business was acquired by Lord Furness who, as Chairman, expanded the business by acquiring a lease over a new graving dock at Hebburn from Robert Stephenson and Company. In 1919 Palmers laid down the SS Gairsoppa, which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1941, causing the loss of 84 lives and 200 long tons (203 tonnes) of silver.
Depression and collapseEdit
The Great Depression, which began in 1929, all but destroyed the shipbuilding industry, which would not rebound until the Second World War. In 1931, Palmers posted a loss of £88,867 (equivalent to £6,083,000 in 2019). The company received a moratorium from its creditors in order to extend repayment. In January 1933, the majority of the company's unsecured creditors met in London and agreed to extend the moratorium a further six months.
However, Palmers' was unable to survive and collapsed by the end of the year. The company's blast furnaces and steel works—which covered 37 acres—were put up for auction. The Jarrow yard was sold to National Shipbuilders Securities, which closed it down in order to sell it, causing much unemployment and leading to the Jarrow March. After the shipyard closed Sir John Jarvis used the engine shop as a steel foundry, the steel coming from the breaker's yard that scrapped the White Star liner Olympic and the Berengaria.
The company retained the yard at Hebburn and was subsequently acquired by Armstrong Whitworth, becoming Palmers Hebburn Company. In 1973, Vickers-Armstrongs, successor to Armstrong Whitworth, sold the Palmers Dock at Hebburn to Swan Hunter and developed it as the Hebburn Shipbuilding Dock. This facility was acquired in turn from the receivers of Swan Hunter by Tyne Tees Dockyard in 1994, which sold it to Cammell Laird in 1995. When the latter entered receivership in 2001, the dock was acquired by A&P Group. The yard remains in use as a ship repair and refurbishment facility.
Ships built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron CompanyEdit
Ships built by Palmers included:
- HMS Queen Mary Royal Navy (1912)
- HMS Defence Royal Navy (1861)
- HMS Hercules Royal Navy (1910)
- HMS Lord Nelson Royal Navy (1906)
- HMS Resolution Royal Navy (1892)
- HMS Resolution Royal Navy (1915)
- HMS Revenge Royal Navy (1892)
- HMS Russell Royal Navy (1901)
- HMS Swiftsure Royal Navy (1870)
- HMS Terror Royal Navy (1856)
- HMS Triumph Royal Navy (1870)
- HMS Alacrity Royal Navy (1885)
- HMS Dauntless Royal Navy (1918)
- HMS Orlando Royal Navy (1886)
- HMS Pegasus Royal Navy (1897)
- HMS Pique Royal Navy (1890)
- HMS Pyramus Royal Navy (1897)
- HMCS Rainbow Royal Canadian Navy (1891)
- HMS Retribution Royal Navy (1891)
- HMS Surprise Royal Navy (1885)
- HMS Undaunted Royal Navy (1886)
- HMS York Royal Navy (1928)
- HMS Bat Royal Navy (1896)
- HMS Chamois Royal Navy (1896)
- HMS Cherwell Royal Navy (1903)
- HMS Crane Royal Navy (1896)
- HMS Dee Royal Navy (1903)
- HMS Diana Royal Navy (1932)
- HMS Duchess Royal Navy (1932)
- HMS Erne Royal Navy (1903)
- HMS Exe Royal Navy (1903)
- HMS Ettrick Royal Navy (1903)
- HMS Fawn Royal Navy (1897)
- HMS Flirt Royal Navy (1897)
- HMS Flying Fish Royal Navy (1897)
- HMS Janus Royal Navy (1895)
- HMS Kangaroo Royal Navy (1900)
- HMS Lightning Royal Navy (1895)
- HMCS Margaree Royal Canadian Navy (1932)
- HMS Myrmidon Royal Navy (1900)
- HMS Peterel Royal Navy (1899)
- HMS Porcupine Royal Navy (1895)
- HMS Rother Royal Navy (1904)
- HMS Spiteful Royal Navy (1899)
- HMS Star Royal Navy (1896)
- HMS Swale Royal Navy (1905)
- HMS Syren Royal Navy (1900)
- HMS Ure Royal Navy (1904)
- HMS Wear Royal Navy (1905)
- HMS Whiting Royal Navy (1896)
- HMS Wryneck Royal Navy (1918)
- HMVS Cerberus Victorian Navy (1868)
- HMS General Wolfe Royal Navy (1915)
- HMS Gorgon Royal Navy (1871)
- HMS Marshal Ney Royal Navy (1915)
- HMS Marshal Soult Royal Navy (1915)
- HMS Dee Royal Navy (1877)
- HMS Don Royal Navy (1877)
- HMS Esk Royal Navy (1877)
- HMS Medina Royal Navy (1876)
- HMS Medway Royal Navy (1876)
- SMS Planet Austro-Hungarian Navy (1889)
- HMS Sabrina Royal Navy (1876)
- HMS Slaney Royal Navy (1877)
- HMS Spey Royal Navy (1876)
- HMS Tay Royal Navy (1876)
- HMS Tees Royal Navy (1876)
- HMS Trent Royal Navy (1877)
- HMS Tweed Royal Navy (1877)
Merchant and leisureEdit
- Anne Thomas Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1882)
- Anthony Radcliffe Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1893)
- Automedon Alfred Holt and Company (1922)
- Clarrisa Radcliffe Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1889)
- Douglas Hill Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1890)
- Gairsoppa British-India Steam Navigation Company (1919)
- Gwenllian Thomas Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1882)
- Iolo Morganwg Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1882)
- John Bowes Charles Palmer (1852)
- Kate Thomas Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1884)
- Lady Palmer Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1889)
- Mary Thomas Evan Thomas Radcliffe (1889)
- Meriones China Mutual Steam Navigation Company (1922)
- British Ardour British Tanker Company (1928)
- British Aviator British Tanker Company (1924)
- British Captain British Tanker Company (1923)
- British Chemist British Tanker Company (1925)
- British Chivalry British Tanker Company (1929)
- British Corporal British Tanker Company (1922)
- British Freedom British Tanker Company (1928)
- British General British Tanker Company (1922)
- British Honour British Tanker Company (1928)
- British Industry British Tanker Company (1927)
- British Inventor British Tanker Company (1926)
- British Justice British Tanker Company (1928)
- British Light British Tanker Company (1917)
- British Loyalty British Tanker Company (1928)
- British Mariner British Tanker Company (1922)
- British Officer British Tanker Company (1922)
- British Premier British Tanker Company (1922)
- British Science British Tanker Company (1931)
- British Sergeant British Tanker Company (1922)
- British Splendour British Tanker Company (1931)
- British Strength British Tanker Company (1931)
- British Yeoman British Tanker Company (1923)
- SS Connaught (1860)
- Some 19th-century and later sources refer to the company as "Palmer's Shipbuilding and Iron Company", with an apostrophe, but in Some Account of the Works of Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Company Limited, which was compiled by the business's company secretary Malcom Dillon and published in 1900, the name is given throughout as "Palmers ...", without the apostrophe.
- "A speciality of [Palmers' engine works] is the manufacture of the 'Reed' water-tube boiler, the invention of Mr J. W. Reed, manager of the engine works department, which has been adopted with well-known results in ... high-speed [torpedo boat destroyers] ..., and also in vessels constructed for the Admiralty on the Clyde. It may be observed that nearly 25 miles [40 km] of tubes are used in the manufacture of the boilers and machinery of each 30-knot destroyer."
- "Building for the world". The Journal. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- Dillon 1900, pp. 16–7.
- Dillon 1900.
- Gibbs 1896, p. 8.
- Anon. 1899, p. 475.
- Dillon 1900, pp. 28–50.
- Dillon 1900, pp. 33–4.
- Anon. 1902, pp. 613, 616.
- "Christopher Furness, Obituary". The Times. 11 November 1912. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "Shipwreck of SS Gairsoppa reveals £150m silver haul". BBC News. 26 September 2011. Archived from the original on 26 November 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- C. Michael Hogan (Lead Author); Peter Saundry (Topic Editor) (21 May 2012). Cleveland, Cutler J (ed.). "SS Gairsoppa recovery". Encyclopedia of Earth. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- "Palmers' Moratorium". Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette. 14 January 1933. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "Steel Works to be Sold at Auction". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 10 July 1934. p. 11.
- Charles Palmer Archived 8 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Crockett, Margaret; Foster, Janet (October 2005). "Report on the Access to Shipbuilding Collections in North East England (ARK) Project" (PDF). Tyne & Wear Archives. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "Swan Hunter History: Naval ships". swanhunter.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "Shipbuilder: Palmers Hebburn Co Ltd, Hebburn (1934 – 1973)". Tyne Built Ships. n.d. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- "UK north east yards extend dock capacity". Motor Ship. 1995. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "New owner for A&P Tyne shipyard". The Journal. 2 March 2011. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- Anon. (1899), "Launches and Trial Trips", The Marine Engineer, 20: 474–6, OCLC 10460390
- Anon. (1902), "Palmer's Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow-on-Tyne", Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers: 613–6, OCLC 863604422
- Cuthbert, Jim; Smith, Ken. Palmers of Jarrow 1851-1933. ISBN 1-85795-196-4.
- Dillon, Malcolm (1900), Some Account of the Works of Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Company Limited, Franklin, OCLC 68103311
- Gibbs, Frederick T. M. (1896), The Illustrated Guide to the Royal Navy and Foreign Navies; Also Mercantile Marine Steamers Available as Armed Cruisers and Transports, &c., Waterlow Bros. & Layton, OCLC 12714917
- Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9.
- Johnston, Ian; Buxton, Ian (2013). The Battleship Builders - Constructing and Arming British Capital Ships (Hardback). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-027-6.
- Wilkinson, Ellen (1939). The Town That Was Murdered, The Life-Story of Jarrow. Victor Gollancz Ltd.
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