Tyneside Tug Builders in alphabetical order of Surname

























The Toward shipbuilding companies:

Thomas Toward was born in 1821 and died in 1855. He married Elizabeth Jackson Toward and they had two sons, Thomas (Jnr) in 1849 and William in 1851.

Thomas Toward was described in a directory for 1847 as a "Boiler & Iron Shipbuilder, St Peters and Middle Landing South Shields.

See also shipbuilder JT Eltringham for a description of a relationship between the Toward and Eltringham companies.

Edward Harland (later Sir Edward) of Belfast shipbuilding fame worked as a manager in the Toward yard. He is mantioned in the book 'Men of Invention and Industry' by Samuel Smiles, as becoming manager of Thomas Toward's shipyard at St Peter's on the Tyne in 1853, "as the owner was in ill health". However Edward didn't stay there very long because he moved to Belfast in 1854.

Thomas Toward died in 1855 and the official builder of the tug UNITED STATES in that year was recorded as E Jackson Toward, presumably Thomas' widow Elizabeth. The two sons, Thomas & William were only 6 and 4 at this time and the St Peter's yard seems to have closed after this contract was completed.

The following tugs were built by Thomas Toward:

YdNo Year Name
1850 Independence (P)
1851 Friend to All Nations
1853 Constitution
1855 Enterprise (P)
1855 Great Conquest
1855 Perseverance (P)
1855 Universe (P)

The following tug was built by E Jackson Toward of St Peter's Newcastle:

YdNo Year Name
1855 United States *

Thomas and William followed in their father's footsteps and eventually set up in business as marine engineers and shipbuilders in the name of T & W Toward & Co. They operated first at St Lawrence then they opened a yard at Low Benwell in Newcastle which is on the west side of the Newcastle centre. The company patented the "Emphresis" forced combustion apparatus for burning inferior fuel in steamships. The principals in the company were Thomas Toward, William Toward and Donald McGregor. However the firm was bankrupt in 1883.

See below for some press cuttings of that time.

However both sons did recover from this failure and went back into business. When Thomas Toward died in 1918 he is described as the managing director of an engineering company called T Toward & Company and he left over 20,000 in his estate, so he must have been relatively successful.

William Toward lived until he was 90 and was in business as a boiler maker. In the 1901 census he describes himself as a mechanical engineer and an employer.

The following tugs were built by T & W Toward & Co:

YdNo Year Name
1882 Kitty (P)
1883 Clyde
1883 Privateer *

I would like to thank Gillian Milne for taking the time to get in touch and for providing much of the background information on the Toward family, used above. Gillian is William Toward's great-great granddaughter.

The following press cuttings relate to the difficult times for the T & W Toward company in 1883.

     The Newcastle Courant, Friday, January 19, 1883

     London Gazette 27th January 1885

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