The cramped position of the Berwick yard, hemmed in between the Quay Walls and the River Tweed, meant that in later years, the site would be unsuited to the construction of larger vessels as steam replaced sail power and iron hulls were increasingly preferred to those made of wood. A further disadvantage was the comparatively shallow depth of the Tweed. By the time that shipbuilding at Berwick had ceased in the second half of the 19th century, the industry was thriving elsewhere in the United Kingdom. On the Tyne and Clyde yards had the advantages of bigger populations from which to hire labour, easier access to raw materials, locations that allowed for the construction of larger vessels and the concentration of associated skills and industries such as engineering. The revival of shipbuilding at Berwick in 1950, coming five years after the end of the war, reflected national and overseas demand for small vessels. Prior to the industry’s decline in the 60’s and 70’s, the UK remained a major shipbuilding nation. An analysis of the destinations for some of the 50’s builds reflected the United Kingdom’s links links with countries of the Empire at time when many were gaining independence. Later in the decade there was growing demand within the fishing industry for larger vessels built from steel when the success of the Fairmile-designed Fair Isle class trawlers led to a full order book. Thereafter the yard built a variety of small craft to different designs 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 (C-Anne Publishing, 1998), indicated that a number of vessels attributed to Berwick in various Lloyds registers, were in fact built at North Berwick, East Lothian. Additional information is provided on the 1800 - 1815 page. To access the build lists which are arranged in date order, use the main drop-down menu.
Ships built at Berwick upon Tweed
Page from build list compiled by former yard employee. Click picture to enlarge.
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