Recently discovered photograph albums of Austin and Pickersgill ships

The two most popular types of shipbuilding records held by the Archives are without doubt ships plans and photographs. I was therefore very excited in early August when I discovered a series of photograph albums of twenty one ships built by the Sunderland firm Austin & Pickersgill Ltd, dating from the late 1950s to the 1970s. There is a separate photograph album for each vessel.

The two earliest albums for the ‘Needles’ and the ‘Baron Kinnaird’ focus on the launch of the vessels, showing the launching party and the vessel sliding down the ways.

The launch of the 'Needles', February 1958 (TWAM ref. 2376 unlisted)

The majority of the other albums concentrate more on the interior of the ships, although usually also include a shot of the overall vessel and some deck views.

The 'Surrey Trader' during sea trials, 1964 (TWAM ref. 2376 unlisted)

Upper Deck of the 'Surrey Trader' looking forward (TWAM ref. 2376 unlisted)

The interior shots often include the wheelhouse, engines and machinery as well as showing the different standards of cabins, dining and recreation facilities enjoyed by the officers and the crew.

Typical seaman's cabin onboard the 'Surrey Trader', 1964 (TWAM ref. 2376 unlisted)

There are albums for the following ships built at Austin & Pickersgill’s Southwick shipyard:

  •  ‘Needles’ (yard no. 355)
  • ‘Baron Kinnaird’ (yard no. 356)
  • ‘Glanely’ (yard no. 362)
  • ‘Iron Ore’ (yard no. 363)
  • ‘Iron Barque’ (yard no. 364)
  • ‘Ravensworth’ (yard no. 365)
  • ‘Longstone’ (yard no. 366)
  • ‘Finnamore Meadow’ (yard no. 378)
  • ‘Vasilios R’ (yard no. 818)
  • ‘Scottish Trader’ (yard no.822)
  • ‘Surrey Trader’ (yard no. 828)
  • ‘Victore’ (yard no. 831)
  • ‘Wearfield’ (yard no. 837)
  • ‘Inishowen Head’ (yard no. 838)
  • ‘Ixia’ (yard no. 839)
  • ‘Exning’ (yard no. 840)
  • ‘Australia Star’ (yard no. 841)
  • ‘Baron Inverforth’ (yard no. 842)
  • ‘Eibe Oldendorff’ (yard no. 893)
  • ‘Catharina Oldendorff’ (yard no. 894)


There is also an album for the ‘Strathdare’ (yard no. 444), built at the old Bartrams shipyard at South Dock.

Although these albums haven’t been catalogued yet, access to them is possible with a few days notice. Please contact me directly if you would like to visit the Archives searchroom at the Discovery Museum to view any of them.

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