Above: Select the required shipyard by using the initial letter of the Surname eg: Eltringham, Hepple or Rennoldson.
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William Dobson & Co Ltd, Walker
William Dobson set up a yard at Wincomblee village, Walker in 1883. He had been a manager at nearby Mitchell's Yard at Low Walker.
William was a Scot and had worked in shipbuilding on the Clyde before coming to the Tyne.
The location of the Dobson Yard was off Wincomblee Road, between Mitchell's Low Walker Yard and the land which would become the site of the Walker Naval Yard.
Dobson's had three berths for vessels up to 10,000 tons and a smaller berth for craft such as tugs and hopper barges. The firm was prepared to build a wide variety of river and coastal vessels. Many of the smaller vessels were built in "kit form", a common practice in the days of riveted construction. The vessel would be assembled in the yard with the frames and plates held together by bolts. All the rivet holes would be positioned and drilled but not riveted. The vessel would then be taken apart and all the components shipped in the hold of a cargo vessel to a yard overseas where it would be re-assembled and finally riveted.
A range of unusual specialist ships and Russian contracts indicates that Dobson retained, or exploited, contacts and experience gained during his years working for Mitchell. World War I saw a mixture of private and Government orders and the total war production was 16 tramp steamers and a number of 'X' lighters for use by the armed forces.
But like so many others, the 1920s slump brought problems for the business and the company was aquired by Armstrong Whitworth in 1928. Dobson's was sold to the National Shipbuilders Security Ltd in 1934 and its plant and machinery was auctioned off the following year.
The Second World war briefly revived the yard when the Shipbuilding Corporation, a wartime creation, built cargo vessels and other craft there. After the war, Dobson's closed again for the final time.
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