William Doxford & Sons

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

William Doxford & Sons
Company typePrivate
Diesel engines
SuccessorA&P Group
HeadquartersSunderland, UK
Key people
William Doxford


HMS Opal at Doxford, ready for launch, 11 September 1915.

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 acquired by Northumberland Shipbuilding Company in 1918.[2]

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]

Cargo ship Finix ready for launch, 18 April 1969

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.[3]

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, the last ship built at Pallion was floated out of the yard in 1989 after which it closed as a shipbuilding yard. The old shipyard is now occupied by Pallion Engineering Limited, whilst the former marine engine works is occupied by W.H.Forster (Printers) Ltd.


The engine shop at Doxford's shipyard during the Second World War: the diesel engine of a merchant ship is undergoing tests.

Doxford was a major British shipbuilder. It also made marine diesel engines, the last of which it built in 1980.

See also



  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 (PDF). The Archive – Skills Consultancy.
  2. ^ "Northumberland Shipbuilding Company". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  3. ^ Wilson, Bill (2 September 1992). "Obituary: James Venus". The Independent.