Readhead’s quality ships

Shahristan built in 1965.
Shahristan built in 1965.

Today John Bage concludes his fascinating look-back at how a ship was “born” at Shield’s Readhead’s yard.

He reveals that: “The electricians covered all aspects of installation of the ships electrics, and included miles of wiring from switchboards and navigation equipment, as well as all of the lighting systems.

“The riggers were responsible for all of the steel wire rope and fibre ropes, and the associated thimbles, shackles, etc. necessary for all the ship’s derricks.

“They had a rigging loft in the roof of the main fabrication shed.

“They also maintained the yard’s crane ropes and lifting slings, and were responsible for the inspection and testing of lifting appliances.”

John explains that the crane operators were an essential part of the shipyard, and were required to be “very careful and skilful in moving their loads around the yard or onto the ship”.

He goes on to say that the joiner’s work consisted of manufacturing and installing the wood bulkheads in the accommodation sections, as well as making and installing all of the furniture in the cabins and public rooms of the ship.

“The painters carried out the finished painting of the external deck-house and all of the internal painting in the accommodation spaces.

“The spray painters would use a compressed air-operated spray gun to spray paint the ship’s plates and sections.

“Once the ship was launched, the design office staff would do their assessment of its condition, and complete their final calculations so that all relevant paperwork and certification could be completed.

“Finally the ship would begin its sea trials, to determine its speed and sort out any teething problems.

“Once that was completed, it was handed over to the owners and sailed off on its maiden voyage. Many of Readhead’s customers were so impressed with the quality of the ships that they came back again and again for their new ships.

“Readhead’s built multiple ships for the likes of the Strick Line, Stag Line and the Hain Line.

“In all, they built 87 ships for Hains , which was claimed to be a world record at one time.”

l Please let me know about your time working at Readhead’s. You can contact me on peter.french@jpress.co.uk or phone me on (0191) 5017476 or alternatively you can drop me a line at 7 Beach Road, South Shields, NE 33 2QA.