Agency dating hull
And perhaps, if it is replaced, consideration might just be given to improving the wording? The 'pontoon' used to be located at bottom left of the image that follows, parallel of course to the river bank.
The sign is affixed, I believe, to the railing that is visible at dock side. Of 'Austin' workers walking up to the bridge in the early 1950s.
These two pages summarise what Corder wrote about the history of the many 'Austin' businesses & companies over the years, as you can see here. It would seem that the shipyard came into existence way back in 1826! Founded by Peter Austin, born in 1770, whose name this site knows because he was in 1805, I understand, a partner with Samuel Moore in the Wear Pottery & had earlier than 1805 been trained in the pottery business by Robert Fairbairns at High Pottery in Newbottle, located just a few miles away from Sunderland. Austin and Son' does not seem to make sense - where perhaps 'S. (A graving dock is, for those like me who do not know these things, is a multi-purpose dry-dock, which can be used for a variety of purposes - for new ship building, for ship repair, & for ship maintenance. In 1888, the vessel was hulked (which is this case means converted to a lighter), at Melbourne, & became 243 tons only. Name changed to Birchgrove - earlier than 1910, but was it truly so? Nicholas, of Ballarat (near Melbourne), as the then owner of the 219 ton Birch Grove.
(Watson) Corder (1867/1953), whose lifetime work is now held in the Sunderland Central Library. There was, it would seem, another partnership, named 'S. A 300 foot graving dock, opened in 1870, took its place.
The Austin 'pontoon' was located on the south bank of the River Wear, just east of the railway & road bridges. Part of the above text originates with a paper written by J. 138, 171, 203, 233, 263, 303, 324, 354, 384, 414, 420.
Which postcard was sold for GBP 6.00 via e Bay in Mar. The vessel was not identified on the rear of the postally-unused card. I am advised that the tower cranes of Austin's Shipyard were dismantled in about 1968/69, and one of them fell into the river blocking it to traffic for 14 days or so - 'which cost the contractor dearly'. Miramar lists, 11 pages, (highest hull number on each page).
It would be good to have one or two of those images on site, wouldn't it! Which list includes unnumbered vessels built as much as 43 years prior to the very first Miramar listing.
The main Austin yard would however seem to have been just a short distance away, on the same bank & a little closer to the sea. Names of just a few of the vessels constructed by 'Austin' of Sunderland - added as I happen to spot references to them.
The yard would seem to have been known as the 'Wear Dockyard'. It would be good to be able to provide on this page some images of the early members of the Austin family, from contemporary prints or from other sources. The 'pontoon' is under Westburn, the vessel at right, built in 1929. I understand it was a giant platform which essentially rested on the bed of the River Wear & could raise a vessel out of the water & lower it back down again. 'Imagine' calls it a 'submersible barge' in their page re 'Austin's Pontoon, Sunderland', which features a print (of unknown date) by Herbert William Simpson (1907-1972). For service from Sunderland to Whitby in 1851/52, from London to the West Indies in 1852/53 & 1853/54, from Sunderland to the Mediterranean from 1854/55 thru 1859/60 & then for service as a Liverpool coaster. The Mercantile Navy Lists of 1861 thru 1876 list the vessel as registered at West Hartlepool ('WH'), certainly, from 1865 owned by Isaac Bedlington of WH. The vessel is Lloyd's Register listed from 1856/57 thru 1886/87 (as far as I have checked) and probably is listed after that edition. For a number of years was on the London to Australia route.
The only image I have seen so far, related to the yard at all, is an image of Mr. Fireside, built in 1942, is beside her & Borde, built in 1953, is the ship in the near left rear. Can anybody advise re the origin of what is a truly fine image. The first image on this 'pdf' page (thanks City of Sunderland! Marwood's North of England Register of 1854 still records the vessel as registered at Sunderland & owned by Thos. LR of 1874/75 thru 1876/77, records the vessel as owned by 'Bedlington', while LR of 1876/77 notes that the vessel had been 'Wrecked'. 5, 1876, Mora, then owned by 'Isaac Bedlington and others' & registered at WH, with Henry Beane ('Beane') in command, left Hartlepool with a cargo of 308 tons of coal for Flemsburg, (Flensburg, Germany, I believe), with a crew of 6 all told. 16, 1876, the vessel sighted Ohlenborg Light, but the light was only occasionally visible as the weather at the time was thick & the wind was blowing hard. it struck Puttgarden Reef (off Puttgarden, Germany & Femern island). Per 1 (data, Birch Grove - 1872), 2 (converted into a lighter in 1888), 3 (Sir John Grice, 'John Grice & Co.'), 4 (towed out to sea in 1932).
The vessel would seem to have traded initially to India & later to Japan. Nilsen' chosen to change the name of the vessel or had sold it.