Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company

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Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company
Industry Shipbuilding
Fate Collapsed
Successor Armstrong Whitworth
Founded 1852
Defunct 1933
Headquarters Jarrow, UK
Website {{#property:P856}}

Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited, often referred to simply as Palmers, was a British shipbuilding company. The Company was based in Jarrow, in Northeast England and also had operations in Hebburn and Willington Quay on the River Tyne.


The company was established in 1852 by Charles Mark Palmer as Palmer Brothers & Co. in Jarrow.[1] Later that year it launched the John Bowes, an iron-screw collier which was much faster than any sailing ship.[1] Eventually the works produced and rolled the steel for the ships on the huge industrial site that was Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company. In 1910 Sir Charles Palmer's interest in the business was acquired by Lord Furness who, as Chairman, expanded the business by acquiring a lease over a new graving dock at Hebburn from Robert Stephenson and Company.[2] In 1919 Palmers laid down a notable ship the SS Gairsoppa, which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1941 carrying the largest precious metals cargo of a vessel ever sunk in world history.[3]

Palmers collapsed in 1933 and the Jarrow yard was sold to National Shipbuilders Securities Ltd, who closed it down, causing much unemployment and the Jarrow March.[4] After the shipyard closed Sir John Jarvis used the building that comprised engine shop as a steel foundry, the steel coming from the breakers yard that scrapped the White Star liner Olympic and the Berengaria.

The Company, which still retained the yard at Hebburn, was subsequently acquired by Armstrong Whitworth and became Palmers Hebburn Company Limited.[5] In 1973 Vickers-Armstrongs sold the Palmers Dock at Hebburn to Swan Hunter and developed it as the Hebburn Shipbuilding Dock:[6] this facility was subsequently acquired from the receivers of Swan Hunter by Tyne Tees Dockyard Limited in 1994[7] and then sold on to A&P Group in 1995.[8] The yard remains in use as a ship repair and refurbishment facility.[9]

Ships built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company[edit]

Ships built by Palmers included:






Steam yacht[edit]

Oil tankers[edit]

Cable ships[edit]


Cargo ships[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Building for the world". The Journal. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  2. "Christopher Furness, Obituary". The Times. 11 November 1912. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  3. C. Michael Hogan (Lead Author); Peter Saundry (Topic Editor) (May 21, 2012). Cleveland, Cutler J, ed. "SS Gairsoppa recovery". Encyclopedia of Earth. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  4. Charles Palmer[dead link]
  5. Crockett, Margaret; Foster, Janet (October 2005). "Report on the Access to Shipbuilding Collections in North East England (ARK) Project" (PDF). Tyne & Wear Archives. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  6. "Swan Hunter History: Naval ships". 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  7. Tyne Tees Dockyard Ltd[dead link]
  8. "UK north east yards extend dock capacity". Motor Ship. 1995. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  9. "Despair as Tyne's share of £200m shipping contract unveiled". Shields Gazette. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Jim Cuthbert and Ken Smith, Palmers of Jarrow 1851-1933 ISBN 1-85795-196-4
  • Ellen Wilkinson, The Town That Was Murdered, The Life-Story of Jarrow, Published Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1939

External links[edit]