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)

Shipbuilder: Palmer Brothers and Co

Shipbuilder: Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Ltd

Palmer Brothers & Co (1851 - 1865)
Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd (1865 - 1933)

Charles Mark Palmer was born in 1822, the son of a prosperous South Shields businessman and ship-owner. He initially worked for his father and then joined John Bowes in his colliery, where he rose to be a manager in charge. In 1851 he established his own shipyard at Jarrow with his elder brother George. The company, Palmer Brothers and Co, was established to build steam colliers to ship coal to London. The land for the yard had previously been used by Thomas Metcalf(e) for the building of wooden sailing ships and was leased from Mr Carr-Ellison of Hebburn.

In 1852 Palmer Brothers and Co launched their first ship, a paddle tug called NORTHUMBERLAND. Their second ship launched in 1852 was the world's first commercially successful sea going screw collier, the JOHN BOWES. The company went on to build a further 24 colliers of some 12,210 grt in the two years following the launch of the JOHN BOWES.

In 1853 Palmers had started an engineering side to the business to build engines & boilers for their vessels. The machinery for a vessel could often be worth about 50% of the value of a shipbuilding contract. The first ship with Palmers' engines was the JARROW of 1853.

Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited was formed in 1865 and the works were then expanded to include an iron rolling mill and blast furnaces. This was one of the earliest examples of Vertical Integration in industry. The company had the highest output of ships for any yard in Britain in 1877, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 18888 and 1889. However, in 1893 Charles, who had been a great philanthropist for the town of Jarrow, resigned from the company, following heavy losses of 33,000 in 1890/91.

The complete closure of the shipyard, engine works, blast furnaces and rolling mills in 1933 had a devastating impact on Jarrow as the company had been the town's main employer. The whole shipyard site, which had been acquired by National Shipbuilders Security Ltd in 1933, was finally demolished in 1935. The terms of sale of the yard prohibited further shipbuilding on the Jarrow site for 40 years.


The following tugs were built by Palmer Brothers and Co:

Yd No Year Ship Name D / H / P
1 1852 Northumberland D / H
9 1853 Phoenix D / H
17 1855 Dragon D / H
36 1855 Napoleon D / H
37 1855 Sylph D / H
51 1856 Alfred D / H
53 1857 Terror D / H
54 1857 Jarrow D / H
69 1858 Comet D / H
70 1857 Pilot D / H
74 1858 Indian tug D / H
76 1859 Cockerell D / H
144 1864 Goolwa D / H
147 1864 Eleanor D / H
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The following tugs were built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Ltd:

Yd No Year Ship Name D / H / P
200 1866 Camel D / H / P
201 1866 Trusty D / H
267 1871 Unknown
329 1876 Unknown
338 1877 Miner No 1 D / H
339 1877 Miner No 2 D / H
340 1877 Miner No 3 D / H
362 1878 Miner No 4 D / H
363 1878 Miner No 5 D / H
396 1879 Miner No 8 D / H
397 1879 Miner No 9 D / H
398 1879 Miner No 10 D / H
410 1880 Miner No 13 D / H
437 1881 Miner No 15 D / H
723 1897 Penguin D / H / P
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