Building boats on the Humber
09/04/2020 | Andy Sherman
During the 19th century shipbuilding was one of Hull's biggest industries with the city's shipyards responsible for building 6.5% of the UK's entire output. Several companies lined the banks of the river including Samuelson's Shipyard which stood on the site now occuppied by The Deep and Humphrys and Pearson Ltd to the east of Samuelson's. Perhaps the longest lasting and most successful was Earles Shipbuilding and Engineering Company that specialised in constructing vessels made with iron and steel hulls.
The firm was founded by two brothers in 1845 and they launched their first boat in 1853, orignally these boats were launched straight into Victoria Dock. In 1861 a fire at their shipyard forced the company to move premises and they relocated to a larger area on the riverfront. The move to the banks of the Humber was key as it meant boats could be launched directly into the river and removed any restriction on the sizes of vessel which could be build.
Earles built vessels for the British, Chillain and Japanesse navies, as well as the Russain royal family. Perhaps the company's most far flung boats were two steamers that operated on Lake Titicaca; after being built in Hull the boats were dissassembled, packed into crates and shipped to South America before being rebuilt. The shipyard finally closed in 1932 during the great depression.
Image from Grace's Guide 1881
HMS St George, one of the vessels built for the Royal Navy at Earle's
© British War Office
During the 1980's three wooden vessels, not built by Earle's, were abandoned on the foreshore on the site of the earlier shipyard. Click on the image below to learn a little more about the boats and the shipyard itself.
If you would like to read about one of our training sessions at Earle's then have a quick look at this blog.