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Last Update
October 2018

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Berwick-built Vessels

1751 - 1799 Old View of Berwick
Port of Berwick
Schooner in Dock
at work
small yard

Berwick upon Tweed had once been the principal trading port of Scotland although it's prosperity had suffered as a consequence of wars between the English and Scots. Although the first shipyard at Berwick is recorded as being established 1751, the town's geographic position and importance would suggest that boat and shipbuilding may have been a feature of the town's economy over the centuries.

The position of the Berwick yard, hemmed in between the Quay Walls and the River Tweed meant that the site was not suitable for the construction of larger vessels. A further disadvantage was the comparatively shallow depth of the Tweed. It is no surprise therefore that shipbuilding ceased in the second half of the 19th century, at a time when the industry was thriving elsewhere such as on the Tyne and Clyde where yards had the advantages of bigger populations from which to hire labour and locations better suited to the construction of larger vessels. The revival of shipbuilding at Berwick in 1950 came about in response to a growing demand within the fishing industry for larger vessels built in steel. Thereafter the yard built a variety of small craft up to 120 feet in length

The list of Berwick-built vessels presented on this site begins in 1751 and ends in 1979. The information is derived from several sources including Lloyd's Registers. The original list of early builds (1751 - 1878) was compiled by the late Denis Nicholson and is held at Berwick Records Office. The record of later builds (1950 - 1979) is a composite list that combines information held at the Records Office, a handwritten record compiled by a former yard employee and information obtained through original research.

Additional research undertaken by Ian Whittaker, author of Off Scotland, indicated that a number of vessels attributed to Berwick in various Lloyds registers, were in fact built at North Berwick, East Lothian. Details are shown on 1800 - 1840 page.

Information on some of the vessels featured in the lists can be found elsewhere on this site as can the history of shipbuilding at Berwick over the years.

To access the lists click the dates on the panel on the right or use the drop-down menu.



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