Here is the second "position paper" for the 2012 Harbour Research project. Corrections and additions are welcomed. The purpose of the document, with others to come, is to seek people who will undertake serious research on aspects of the history of the harbour. John Rushton 2012.
Scarborough ship building
Ship and boat building with their associated crafts eventually almost took over the sand side of the inner harbour at Scarborough. They stretched from the east pier to West Sandgate in the 18th century and eventually beyond to the foot of Bland’s cliff. The stocks on which ships and boats were built were on the sands and do not appear to have been fenced off
We have hints of 15th and 16th century shipbuilding. Vessels made or repaired at the Botehill were required to pay the bailiffs 12d a week in 1488. A foreign ship brought fifty cok mastes to Scarbrough in c1510-12. William Watson a shipwright is mentioned in 1523 and 1527. John Pierson another Scarborough shipwright had a great tree lying in Raincliff in1538. Several shipwrights are mentioned during the 17th century. At Hackness in 1690, they recorded “wood taken down in the last year for building a man of war at Scarborough” (NYCRO Derwent 4/1/17). Blockmakers are mentioned in 1697-8.
Tradition claims that the earliest Scarborough ship-builders were the brothers John and James Cockerill, with launchways adjoining Smithy hill. (It is also said that a Cockerill’s shipyard was next to the pier (Buckley 96). An ocean-going vessel is said to have been built by one of the Cockerills in 1685, costing £1200. John Cockerill was churchwarden in 1673. James Cockrill was bailiff in 1688 and in 1690 lived at Paradise House, one of the best houses (B. 99). Richard Allotson, a boat builder in 1684, held part of the Sandhill, adjoining Smithy hill, in 1688. He was followed there by Richard Bilbrough and there is talk of a Bilbrough Hill. William Allatson was boat building in c1688. He had married John Cockerill’s daughter. William Tindall came to Scarborough late in the 17th century. He married Mary Cockerill in 1694.
We hear of “building places” not shipyards. William Tindall appears 1679-85, and his nephew James Tindall from 1691 to 1720 at Smiddy Hill, paying a king's rent for one building place and later two. Robert Child was seized of part of Smiddy Hill in 1689, apparently staked out, when there was a Corporation order to dispossess him. (G.1893.p480) (Baker 258). The Bailiffs and Burgesses made a grant of Smiddy Hill, lately occupied by Francis and William Coulson, in 1691 to Robert Maxwell to build ships. They leased Mastus garth, bounding to Smiddy Hill, that year to Dickenson and William Tindall.
There is a good deal more information about the property plots where the shipyards spread. Some is vague. For example, it is said that in 1641 Robert Hudson was owner of part of Sandhil and Mastus hill. Christopher Harrison was owner of the rest of Sandhill, then the Dodsworths. Much is far more specific. It all wants sorting out. Some but not all is given below. There are also some maps at the County Record Office, Northallerton, bearing on the Tindall shipyards, which came to encompass most of the others. We do not yet have local copies of these.
A Corporation order of 3/7/1693 required Robert Dickinson, Coroner Batty, John Cockerill and Richard Allatson to stake and bounder out part of Smiddy Hill for fishing cobles to lay on in safety. The corporation in 1697 required that manure dug and rubbish laid on Smiddy hill and all the staithes from Mr. Porritts to the great pier was to be moved and none to lay there in future. They were to throw rubbish over the new pier or take it to the” sand stoop”. A mark on one of the early maps may indicate the stoop.
John Settrington’s famous pictorial print showing Scarborough in 1735 displays three ships being built on stocks and portrays stocks for two more. The “1735 Rental of Town lands” is said to give as those paying “rents for building places” etc. messrs. Wear, Leake, Adamson, Wharton, Wood, Owston, Thomas Coulson (at £1.0.0) and James Tindall (two sites at £2.10.0). Buckley suggests that Coulsons, Owstons, Adamsons, along with the Hoppers, Dales and Golands, were all active as ship or boat builders at one period. Wharton’s yard was in front of King Richard’s house. Thomas Coulson sold the hull of a new 400 ton cat or vessel, the “T & S” of Scarborough, to master mariner Thomas Duesbery for £935 in 1733. William Coulson of Scarborough left to begin a shipyard at the foot of Green Lane near Spital Bridge at Whitby.
1750 Ship Building between Blands Cliff and East pier - East to West
- (Buckley 95)
- Stephen Wharton’s yard, stocks, blockshop, mast and timber yard, ropery, metal shops, bleach house. He fitted out the ships he built. At his death 100 were thrown out of work
- Smiths boat builders, later Salt’s, west of Whartons
- John Fowlers, west of Smith’s, held Fowler hill, John Fowler Ship builder. Built the “Commerce" 1786, ”Nautilus” 1791
- Hopper’s block and mast shop, west of Fowlers.
- Tindalls at Tindalls hill ship yard, west of Hoppers.
- Sedgfield Dales yard, west of Tindall Hill. Later went to his nephew George Smith
East Sandgate came here
- William Henry’s yard, west of Dale’s.
- Hewards or Howards stocks, opposite the old long room
West Sandgate came here
- J. Skelton’s boat yard, at Skelton’s cliff
but eventually there were three building places
- Willam Newhams
- George Ribys
- John Shores, in front of Hendersons cliff
Schofield said that the late 18th century ship building industry employed a great number of hands, not so much for the home trade as for sale and hiring out. Five or six sailing vessels were on the stocks when he wrote, excluding small boats, one being of 50 and one of 600 tons. Axe, saw and caulking malet sounded along the front. There was a large house for weaving sail cloth as well as sail makers. From 1785 to 1800 between five and fourteen ships a year were built, ranging from below 600 to over 2600 tons. There were busy and less busy years. Baker claims that from 1785 to 1797 123 ships were built at Scarborough of which five were 1000 to 1500 tons, one of 2014 and one of 1681 tons. Launches were made from cradles or stocks on the slope when the tide was in.
Rents of Building places, yards, and erections on the sands 1791
A Corporation rental shows the many structures on the sands in 1791. At that time there was an associated “plan in hall” but this is not apparently extant. This document was “approved by vote 15.6. 1791”. The list goes from west to east. The phrase “building place” means a place for building ships.
- Part of timber yard, the breadth of the corporations cliff, extending north from the line (parallel) of the north wall of Mr. Hinderwell’s garden. Corp.Corp. John Hopper 2s6d
- Warehouse belonging Major Child -w-e 35 ft by 14 ft ,without the steer
Major Child, Major Child 1s
Dickinson & Dewsbury.
- Warehouse blg Dickinson & Dewsbury-w-e 35ft by 6 ft,without the steer. 1s
- Warehouse belonging George Hopper -35 ft by 6 ft,without the steer 1s
- Building belonging Mrs. Mary Howson -33ft by 14ft 1s
Mrs. Elizabeth Kirby
- Building belonging Mrs.Elizabeth Kirby - 15ft by 14ft 6d
- Encroachment, w-e 16ft n-s 6 ft. Anthony Ruston. Corp. 6d
Mr. Otby; Customs collector.
- Building & warehouse belonging Mr. Otby - w-e16ft .distant from steer at west end
5 ft ,at east end 15ft. Collector of Customs 6d
George Masterman in occupation of Sam Ombler
-Plank stage, adjoining east of last, claimed by George Masterman & occupied by Sam Ombler, w-e 28ft, from steer 15ft Corp. George Masterman 9d
Anthony Nessfield (oppsite Keld)
- Stage, west east 24 ft , 28ft from steer. opposite Richard Keld’s house
Corp. Corp.Anthony Nessfield.1d
- William Pattison.Encroachment 33ft e-w,14ft n-s.Corp.William Pattison 1?
- Building place.w-e 25ft, n-s 34ft. Corp, Corp., Jonas Sutton.5d
- Building place (west of West Sandgate) Corp, Corp.Benjamin Heward.5d
- Building place& plank stage (rent fixed in 1782) Corp,Corp.James Heward 15s
- Mast Yard (west of East Sandgate) Corp. Corp.George Johnson.4s
- Building place(shed on it) w-e 50ft n-s 53@ft. Corp,Corp.BenjAdamson .12s
- Buildingplace, w-e 90ft n-s 90ft CorpCorp.George Dale 15s
(from East Sandgate to opposite the west wall of the Towns Hall)
-Timber yard(from east side of last, 52ft east) John Tindall £2.2.0
- Building place,(from east end of Mr Robert Duesbery’s house (Mrs Garbutt tenant)
to west wall of Mr. Wharton’s house. length 175 ft John Tindall
- Shed (from breadth of front of his house, w-3. 30ft).Corp,Corp.Thomas Wharton.7s6d
George Moorsome now John Fowler
- Building place (opposite Mr.Francis Coulson’s) (from west side Mr. Wharton to Mr. Hopper) on east length 45ft w-e) Corp,Corp.Mr.George Moorsome,15s.0
- Stage (below his house, west-east 24@ft) John Hopper 7s6d
- Encroachment into harbour, below house of John Smith. w-e 31@ft n-s 10@ft
Corp.Corp John Smith 7s6d
George Moorsom,now John Fowler
- Plank stage.w-e 66@ft n-s (at w) 24@ft (at e)39@ftGeorge Moorsome 6s (adjoining the hill.Thomas Wharton) now john Fowler
- Stage and building place w-e 87@ftCorp, Corp.Thomas Wharton(later Samuel) 15s
- Stage and shed on it.e-w 21ft ,n-s 31ft Corp, Corp.Skelton Fowler. 7s
(late Chr. Leakes)(later Richard Wilson) George Fowler
- Stage. w-e 28ft ,n-s 21 ft Corp, Corp.Skelton Fowler now George Fowler
- Mast Yard. w-e 40 ft Corp, Corp.John Hopper . 10s
- Mast Yard w-e 10ft Corp, Corp Thomas Wharton .10s
- Erection for building boats (extending from Anthony Rustons encroachment to south 7 ft and e-w 17ft Corp. Corp .Newham 1s
Scarborough ship construction shrank to an average of 600 tons a year during 1801-3. This was still mostly for outsiders. The 100 feet keel ship “Centurion” was launched on 14/6/1803 . William Church was killed by "celestial fire"under a ship building for John Tindall in the summer of 1805. From 1804-1812 demand fell further. The average annual tonnage built sank to 550, with far fewer distant buyers. It was said that Napoleon’s Berlin and Milan decrees and the activities of the French frigates and privateers made profitable employment for ships harder to find. The end of the French Wars in 1815 marked a water shed.
Accounts for buidinga ship and its first voyage
The ship “Promise” kept an account book “to records disbursements” starting with first cost and outfit in 1813. The value of the ship ready for sea was £8495.4.3, held by three partners H. Pantland, J. Tindall and Fenwick Brown. At Newcastle 129 chaldrons of coal were taken on at £162.9s.0., 16 keel dues were £15.4.8 and Custom house charges £53.7.0. All charges made £231.1.6 .
Small charges arose on the voyage at Gravesend, including bolts, a handline and dead eyes. Pilotage from Gravesend to the downs was £11.5.0. At Portsmouth a man looked at the ship’s bottom. At Scarborough sailmaker Parkin supplied four hammers for 7s. The account ended at £11.135.3s.2d. Each partner received £500 in 1824. The ship took coal to the Cape of Good Hope in 1825, and general cargos to Bombay, including brandy and hollands.
To Sundry Disbursements for First cost anmd Outfit of the ship Promise.1813;main items
John Tindall & co for the hull £3605
Samuel Bottomley & Son for Rope £1325
Terry & Hill raff bill £262. 9.0
Terry & Hill block bill £270 7.0
Terry & Hill transport extra outfit £50. 11.0
Wm Smith,shipchandlers stores £12 4.0
Bye-tinman £21. 17.0
Wm.March, for iron work £187. 0.0
Cobb & Evans, for iron work £175.10.0
Chris Smith boat builder £58. 6.0
Robert Morwan.Allowance to workmen £99. 12.0
Robert Morwan, for cooper’s work £21. 19.6
Richard Foster, for tallow & c £11. 10.0
Edward Smith. glazier £25. 11.0
Joihn Wardale,joiner’s work £27. 10.0
Brown & Lund, joiner;s work £70. 13.0
Wharton & Armitage, for canvas £346.12.0
John Sleightholme,painter £46. 2.0
George Fowler, sailmaker £60. 17.0
Thomas Parkin, sailmaker £63. 9.0
J. Jones, for lead lines 7 co £10. 1.0
Hawks & Co, anchor smiths £100.
Copper bolt bill £122. 1.1
James Clark.,for sheathing £23. 2.0
copper sheathing bill £404.2.5
Bailey’s bill for guns & carriages £104.4.6 etc .etc.
John Tindall acquired all the major yards at Smithy hill, Sandhill, and Mastus hill , except Whartons and that was purchased in 1806. The only sizeable ships on the stocks at Scarborough were Tindalls. He carried on building ships for his own fleet , and kept his men on in hard times . He died on 20.11.1809, having launched 110 ships. Hinderwell wrote of the miseries of the lower orders and of the 1811 winter collections to relieve them. (Hinderwell 250).The next year, the counter blockade of Europe proved in some measure effective. Average production rose to 900 tons, with most vessels once again built for outside buyers.There was also ship repair work of which little is recorded. The 1824 reciprocity treaties were blamed for an emerging situation, where ships could be built , manned and victualled overseas, at half the prices prevailing here. (B.109).
There was conflict between the fishing and collier interests using the harbour and the ship builders. Hawson said that the Corporation had allowed 400 yards by 20-40 yards to be taken from the harbour. The ship builders had erected stages to to put their timber on but had planked them inside and laid so much rubbish as to raise it above high watermark .The Harbour Commission took action against the shipbuilders at York courts in 1831 but lost due to the time that had elapsed.
Captain Hawson Herbert spoke of Tindall, Heward, Wharton, William Newham,John Skelton,George Dale Smith and G. W. Porritt as ship builders.The yards and their ancillaries stretched from Blands cliff to Ivy House. Early 19th century directories give George.Woodhiouse.Porrit, George Riby, John Skelton. Robert .William & James Tindall at Sandside, George Dale Smith at East Sandgate and William Newham at KingStreet. Thomas Armstrong, Robert Skelton, James and Thomas Smith, appear with James & Robert Tindall in 1840. .John Skelton had land at the bottom of West Sandgate, where he built fishing luggers and five men boats .Robert Tindall had 44 workers in his yard in 1851.
Ships built at Scarborough
1838 Tindalls Bee snow 106
1838 G.Sheader & T.Armstrong Ebenezer yawl 23
1838 G.Sheader & T. Armstrong Fidelity lugger 22
1838 R.Skelton New mar?? sloop 26
? J & W.Smith Integrity yawl 22
1838 J & W.Smith Diligent yawl 20
1838 J & W. Smith Jerome yawl 22
1838 J. Skelton 3 Brothers yawl 23
1838 Tindall Persia ship ?
1838 Sheader & Armstrong Glen-Roy sloop 28
1839 Tindall Orion barque 316
1839 Tindall Rising sun yawl 21
1839 Tindall Ant brig 112
1840 J & W. Smith Happy Return.yawl 35
1840 J. Skelton Two friends yawl 24
1840 J & W smith Willing mind yawl 26 ?
1840 Tindall Sumatra barque 354
1840 Thomas Armstrong Faith yawl 21
1840 J & W. Smith Charity yawl 26
1840 Robert Skelton Pearl yawl 26
1840 J W.Smith Three brothers.yawl 27
1840 J. Skelton Hope yawl 26
1840 R. Skelton Robert & Mary.yawl 29
1840 T. Armstrong Sarah yawl 28
1840 Tindall Emerald ketch 101
1841 R. Skelton Two brothers. yawl 25
1841 W. Wear Duncan dunbar.schooner 67
1841 Tindall Diamond barque 290
1841 N. Sheader Undaunted lugger 23
1841 R.Skelton Paragon yawl 80
1841 J & W Smith Friends yawl 26
1841 J & W. smith Thomas & William,yawl 28
1842 Tindal Fortitude ship 640
1842 Tindal Alert brig 107
1843 R. Skelton Three brothers.yawl 34
1844 R.skelton Diamond yawl 28
1844 Tindall Arabia barque 263
1845 Tindall Reindeer barque 213
1845 M.Smith Ino yawl 30
1845 Tindall Medway ship 654
1847 Tindall Leontes barque 222
1847 W.&.B &R.Wilson Venue schooner 50
1847 Tindall Severn ship 536
1848 Wm smith Concern yawl 34
1848 R. Skelton York lugger 41
1849? Tindall P erseverance,barque 281
1849 Tindall Trent barque 236
1850 Tindall Albemarle ship 714
1852 Tindall Coaster brig 144
1852 Tindall Water lilly schooner 51
1852 Tindall Aries barque 234
1853 Tindall Nimrod ship 1002
1856 Tindall Avon ship 645
1859 Tindall Mile brig 164
1859 Tindall T..vboil? barque 433
1860 Tindall Tay brig 186
1861 Tindal Thames barque 445
1863 Tindall Clyde brig 186
1873 John Edward Violet ketch 56
1879 James Frank Caprey schooner 23
Robert Tindall was followed by Richard Harris Tindall as manager, a fine designer ,with more modern ideas.. The barque “Teviot” marked his coming into authority with a departure from their older type of ships..However the advent of iron and steam ships changed their situation. Tindalls continued till 1863 building collier brigs and snows for the coal trade,with larger barques and ships for the distant trade .. R.H. Tindall was keen to construct steel ships but the harbour was silting up and was unsuitable for large vessels. Sir Edward Harland, founder of the Belfast firm of iron shipbuilders served his apprenticeship with the Tindalls.The Scarborough yard closed in 1862.(B.96) Materials of Tindalls yard were sold to shipbuilders and shipmasters mainly from northern ports . (MM.18.4.1863) The Tindall fleet continued, operating from London,but emplying many Scarborough mariners.
Small Scarborough yards, Edmond Franks and Thomas Walker’s continued to build smacks,yawls and luggers. Walker’s yard was between the warehouse of the Newcastle Coal company and the slip way opposite the Golden Ball. (Buckley 98)..A new Salvage boat “George Appleyard” appeared from Walker’s yard, a mule coble in 1870.(Merc 1.1.1870).This was the last yard to close, in 1885
Appendix.Documents bearing on the Tindall shipyards,and those before them
Scarborough Corporation felt it necessary to compell the Tindalls to acknowledge themselves tenants of the Corporation in the courts in 1819... Scarborough Corporation gave Robert Tindall notice to quit Smiddy Hill that year. There was a long dispute about the ground ownership ,in the courts ,which lasted till 1822. The family wouldn’t agree that they were tenants of the Corporation for certain properties. Tindalls won a suit against the Corporation claiming that they had been in possession of Smith hill opposite the little island piers as kings tenants at least since 1691.They were awarded costs.
(Documents prepared for the case ,Tindall against Scarborough Corporation (ZYZ)
-“John Tindall bought off William Coulson and others(representatives of the late Thomas Coulson) the property marked yellow together with several houses adjoining.
The property on Sandhill Thos Coulson bought in 1724 off William Cooper, and in which family it had been for nearly 100 years before, as by the chain of conveyances appears.”
-“He(John Tindall bought part called Mastus hill together with the houses adjoining, ,descended from the Dodsworth family and has a chain of conveyances up to 1652 for most of it, to 1684. ( a Corporation grant )
-“The hills or pieces of ground was occupied by Thos Coulson as places to lay timber and formed part of his shipyard”
-“Kings rent 18s5d paid for Moorsom’s house , part of Sand hill property and 6s for plank stage built in front of those adjoining harbour .1737-part of property Ann Cooper” .-“Waste adjoining masthouse garth was conveyed in 1652.This must be the piece now called Masthouse hill.A fine was levied in 1653 by Dodsworth for Masthus hill adjoining Masthus garth”.
-”William Coulsons building place. Couper suffered a common recovery in 1723 of Masthus hill and ThomasCoulson’s portion of Sand Hill “. In1733 Thomas Coulson, for the kings rents, from parcels late Mr William Coopers and for the parcels late Ann Coopers £6.0.8.”
Tindall’s hill(Lawyers draft)
The property extending from the letter A to B can be proved to be in the possession of the Tindall family for upwards of 60 years by the evidence of Thomas Yeoman, Anthony Ruston and that it has the same boundaries as it at the present time has, and that William Awenack can well recollect his being put by his uncle William Calvert who was a farmer, to learn to load in carts and waggons for a long time together the ...thy of which Tindalls hill is composed-that it served the purpose of manure-that he is not sure whether his uncle had asked leave of John Tindall or not but his uncle and John tTndall were friendly -he was but a boy at the time about 15 or 20 years old-that they dug into the hill to a considerable extent insomuch that there was a breast of upwards of 6 feet height , that after having dug it to a great extent John Tindall (grandfather of the present) desired him not to take any more away as he found it inconvenient for his shipbuilding purposes.The deforciants say there has been no rent paid to the corporation for the ground extending along the whole extent of the premises above the edge of the harbour defined in the plan by the purple marke- but that they have paid to the Corporation of Scarborough two guineas per annum for a licence for the extention into the harbour of the two building places marked by the figures I and II (That the amount of this rent for one building place they have ascertained by the Corporati