TYNE TUGS AND TUG BUILDERS
A history of Tyne Tugs, their builders and owners

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Above: Select the required shipyard by using the initial letter of the Surname eg: Eltringham, Hepple or Rennoldson.
KEY BELOW: D / H / P (D = basic dimensions are shown; H = a history is given; P = one or more photographs are available)

The various Hepple companies

1852 - 1861 Hepple & Landells, North Shields & Low Walker
1862 - 1872 T Hepple & Son, Low Walker
1881 - 1893 Hepple & Co, North Shields
1894 - 1919 Hepple & Co Ltd, South Shields
1919 - 1924 Hepples (1919) Ltd, South Shields

Thomas Hepple had a millwright’s business at Mitford, Northumberland and came to Coble Dene, North Shields, where he set up in partnership with Richard Landells in the early 1850s. They devoted much of their attention to the building of tug boat engines and then to tug boats themselves.

In 1857 they established another shipbuilding & engineering yard at Low Walker, again focusing on tug and tug engine production. The partnership split up in 1861 and the two shipbuilders went their separate ways. Landells kept the North Shields yard and Hepple the Low Walker yard. Thomas’ son William then became the manager of the Low Walker facility.

After the death of Thomas Hepple in 1872 the Low Walker yard was sold to Wigham Richardson & Co and William Hepple moved to Wapping Street, South Shields, where he continued to build tug boat engines.

Some ten years later he purchased Fawcus’ slipway at North Shields to provide extra capacity and this continued for a further eight years, again almost exclusively tug boat output.

The Hepple company was one of the first to construct tugs as ocean going vessels and gained many orders from the Crown Agents for the Colonies.

In 1893, during a trade depression, when orders became almost non-existent, he gave up the North Shields yard to Edwards Bros and concentrated on engine building and repair work at South Shields.

After a while trade improved and Hepple recognised the growing market for steam trawlers. He purchased land known as Stainton’s Foundry at South Shields and then concentrated on building up a reputation as a steam trawler builder as well as the tugs.

William and his son Thomas turned the business into a Limited Liability company called Messrs Hepple & Co and they became joint Managing Directors.

William Hepple died quite suddenly at the age of 63. He had been working at the shipyard as usual, but caught a chill which resulted in further complications and then death within a few days.

After 1920, during yet another trade depression, the yard, with two berths of 100ft and 150ft in length, concentrated on ship repairing. The yard closed in 1923 and was sold to neighbours Brigham & Cowan in 1924.

Overall, the Hepple legacy was tugs, of which they built over 220 vessels, but also steam trawlers and small craft of shallow draft.

The following tugs were built by T Hepple & Son at Low Walker

Yd No Year Ship Name D / H / P
1862 Ajax D / H
1862 Bon Accord D / H
141 1862 Commissioner D / H
1862 Marseille D / H
1862 Montrose D / H
1862 Pearl D / H
1862 Royal Albert D / H
1862 Sailor D / H
1862 Sunbeam D / H
1863 Arabian D / H
1863 Jasper D / H
1863 Petrel D / H
1863 Pilot D / H
1863 Pioneer D / H
1863 Progress D / H
1863 Ruby D / H
1863 Success D / H / P
1863 Vivid D / H
1863 Wilberforce D / H
1864 Commodore D / H
1864 Endeavour D / H
32 1864 Iron King D / H
1864 Lightning D / H
1864 Mariner D / H
1864 Rambler D / H
1864 Walker D / H
1864 Zealous D / H
1865 Breadalbane D / H
1865 Empress D / H
1865 Her Majesty D / H
1865 Powerful D / H
1865 Prudhoe D / H
1865 Robin Hood D / H
1865 Terrible D / H
1865 Walker D / H
1865 Wanderer D / H
1865 Wilberforce D / H
1866 Achievement D / H
1866 Admiral D / H / P
1866 Lightning D / H / P
1866 Mary Usher D / H
1866 Pearl D / H
1866 Robin Hood D / H
1866 Snowdrop D / H
1866 Wallsend D / H
1867 Achilleus D / H
1867 Emperor D / H
1867 Gem D / H
1867 Integrity D / H
1867 John Bewick D / H
1867 Jumna D / H
1867 Patriot D / H
1867 Sensation D / H
1867 Stork D / H
1867 Usk D / H
1867 Venus D / H
215 1867 Wonder D / H / P
1868 Etna D / H
1868 Flying Scud D / H
1868 Hero D / H
1868 Lord Lyons D / H
1868 Rapid D / H
1868 Shields D / H
1868 Start D / H
1869 Cambria D / H
1869 Lizard D / H
1869 Pero Gomez D / H / P
1869 Primo D / H / P
1869 Rescue D / H / P
1869 Vanguard D / H
1870 Admiral D / H
1870 Ajax D / H
1870 Garibaldi D / H
1870 Hartland D / H
1870 Hector D / H
1870 Jasper D / H
1870 Lord Derby D / H / P
1870 May D / H
1870 Providence D / H
1870 Sanspareil D / H
1870 Tuskar D / H
1870 Wasp D / H
1870 Yorkshire Lass D / H
1871 Anatra D / H
1871 Emu D / H
272 1871 Flying Cloud D / H
1871 Lord Stanley D / H
1871 Providence D / H
273 1871 Socrates D / H
1871 Swiftsure D / H
283 1871 Balmoral D / H
1872 Boreas D / H
1872 Express D / H / P
288 1872 Hotspur D / H
1872 Triumph D / H
294 1872 Wave of Life D / H
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The following tugs were built by Hepple & Co at South Shields

Yd No Year Ship Name D / H / P
1873 Lord Stanley D / H
315 1875 May D / H / P
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The following tugs were built by Hepple & Co at North Shields

Yd No Year Ship Name D / H / P
357 1881 Kimberley D / H
1881 Trevose D / H
361 1882 John Paterson D / H
362 1883 Merrimac D / H / P
373 1883 Coble Dene D / H / P
374 1883 Mathilda Foscolo D / H
376 1883 J C Stevenson D / H / P
379 1883 Buffalo D / H
1883 Dauntless D / H
1883 Pioneer D / H / P
377 1884 Fearless D / H / P
380 1884 John Batey D / H / P
381 1884 Jumna D / H / P
382 1884 Prince of Wales D / H
383 1884 Pup D
384 1884 Unknown D
386 1884 Conqueror D / H / P
388 1884 Countess of Derby D / H
391 1884 Defiance D / H / P
392 1884 Alpha D / H
393 1885 Enterprise D / H / P
394 1885 Leonard Brown D / H
395 1885 Blucher D / H / P
397 1885 Victor Hugo D / H
398 1885 Condor D / H
401 1885 Andrew Bain D / H
404 1886 Prince of Wales D / H
405 1886 Stephenson D / H
406 1886 Admiral D / H
407 1886 Neptune D
410 1888 City of York D / H
413 1888 Lily D / H / P
408 1889 No 408 D / H / P
415 1889 William Fallows D / H / P
424 1889 Sir Joseph Pease D / H
429 1889 Nora D / H / P
430 1889 William Osten D / H
432 1889 Isaac Wilson D / H / P
434 1889 Energy D / H
436 1890 Conqueror D / H
438 1890 Lillie D / H
441 1890 Sarah D / H
453 1891 Barton D / H / P
477 1892 Secret D / H / P
478 1892 Croisset D / H
482 1893 Pluto D / H
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The following tugs were built by Hepple & Co at South Shields

Yd No Year Ship Name D / H / P
526 1903 Avonmouth D / H / P
530 1902 Empire D / H
532 1902 Commonwealth D / H / P
534 1902 Florida D / H / P
536 1903 Thomas Nicholson D / H / P
538 1904 Houghton D / H / P
544 1904 King D / H / P
560 1906 Lora D / H
571 1907 Lumley D / H / P
579 1907 Loris D / H
581 1908 Bergamo
583 1908 Elisabeth D / H
590 1909 Espadarte D / H
594 1909 Titan D / H
598 1909 Adur II D / H
599 1909 Sir Joseph Rymer D / H / P
601 1910 Mary Blake D / H / P
605 1909 Bheestie D / H
606 1909 Voevoda D / H
608 1910 Charioteer D / H / P
609 1909 Romano D / H
611 1911 Lydia D / H / P
612 1911 Lola D / H
614 1911 Acima D / H
621 1912 Dreadful D / H / P
623 1911 Nawab D / H
624 1912 Caxias D / H
627 1913 W S Wright D / H
628 1913 Lady Sybil D / H / P
629 1913 Croft D / H / P
631 1913 Conqueress D / H / P
632 1914 Eppleton Hall D / H / P
633 1914 George C Coates D / H / P
636 1914 Hullman D / H / P
637 1914 Francis Batey D / H / P
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The following tug was built by Hepples (1919) Ltd at South Shields

Yd No Year Ship Name D / H / P
654 1920 Unknown name
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