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Archivists unearth old yard registers

IN THE BEGINNING...apprentice records have come to light for Hawthorn Leslies yard. (Photo: Kevin Blair).

IN THE BEGINNING...apprentice records have come to light for Hawthorn Leslies yard. (Photo: Kevin Blair).

APPRENTICESHIP records from the 19th century have come to light, adding to the story of one of the Tyne’s greatest shipbuilders.

Archivists working at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, it’s been thrilling to learn, stumbled on the registers, which date back more than 130 years, while working on the Sunderland shipbuilding archives project mentioned in Cookson Country the other week,

The museum holds shipyard records, many of which were donated in large quantities in the late 1970s and 1980s and stored for future cataloguing and research.

One of the most exciting finds relates to R & W Hawthorn Leslie & Co Ltd, renowned around the world as builders of ships, locomotives and marine engines. The company was formed in the 1880s by the amalgamation of two firms – the Newcastle engineers R & W Hawthorn, who had works at Forth Banks and St Peter’s, and the shipbuilding company of Andrew Leslie & Co, based at Hebburn.

The two Hawthorn Leslie apprenticeship registers date from 1877 to 1978 and give details of those folk who served apprenticeships at Hawthorn Leslie’s marine engineering works at St Peter’s in Newcastle.

The earliest entries, up to 1886, relate to the firm R & W Hawthorn before it merged with Leslie & Co.

The information includes the name of the apprentice, their trade, their date of indenture and rate of pay, and home address. Read more at www.twmuseums.org.uk

 

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