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R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, Hebburn
R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co operated on the site of Andrew Leslie's original 1853 Hebburn Shipyard. Many of these ships were engined by the firm's own St Peters Works.
The production of this famous yard ran from Yard No. 258 "PORT PIRIE" 1886, to their final ship, Yard No.766 "WILTSHIRE" of 1968.
The yard list shows a great variety of vessels, such as passenger ships, oil tankers, British & Foreign naval vessels and tugs.
A predictably busy period during World War Two was followed by a period of a full order book as the job of replacing lost tonnage for mainly British companies was undertaken. The postwar 'boom' started to tail-off about 1955 and orders became scarce, so that by 1967, the firm was receptive to a proposal for a 'consortium' of Tyneside shipbuilders. This had been recommended by the Geddes Report on Shipbuilding as a solution to overcapacity and agressive foreign competition. The consortium was to consist of themselves, Swan Hunter, Vickers Walker Naval Yard, Readheads and Clelands.
The consortium came into being on 1 January 1968, as 'Swan Hunter & Tyne Shipbuilders Ltd'. Further decline took place and in 1977 the yards were Nationalised and 'British Shipbuilders' succeeded the Consortium, as owners of Hebburn Shipyard. But the decline in fortunes continued and the yard closed in 1982.