Archive building a record of ship firm

RIGGED OUT...workmen at TDE just after the end of the last war.
RIGGED OUT...workmen at TDE just after the end of the last war.

THE proximity of shipyards to the Market Place in Shields, once upon a time, was mentioned yesterday.

The particular yard concerned was Brigham and Cowan’s but look at what has since reached me – a smashing snap taken at its neighbour, the old Market Dock of Tyne Dock Engineering (TDE).

The hope is that readers can tell us a bit more about these lads, maybe even what they had been working on at the time.

The picture, which appeared in the recent film, Skuetenders, about folk born on the Lawe and near the river in Shields, was taken in 1948.

The man on the far left is Cornelius Jarvis, who worked in the yard as a rigger. His family would love to know more about the picture. You can get in touch with me.

Meanwhile, it’s been interesting to hear through Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums of the progress being made on a project to catalogue the very extensive records of Wearside shipbuilders, Bartram & Sons Ltd, hopefully to make the completed catalogue available to researchers in the near future. Many of the firm’s ships’ plans were deposited with the archives service in the 1970s but hitherto have been unavailable to folk wanting to undertake research.

There are more than 800 of them, some for important vessels, such as the Mimis N Papalios, the first SD14 (shelter deck) ship ever launched, the design being a replacement for what was left of the Liberty Ships built by the Americans during the Second World War.

The records also contain hull and machinery specifications from as far back as the late 19th century, cost books, and ships’ files.

There are also photographs of the shipyard, some taken at the firm’s annual sports days, and those undertaking the cataloguing would love it if anyone could identify themselves and tell them more about the events they depict.

You can follow the progress of the cataloguing and see the photographs on a blog at

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