Sunderland Ship Building

Destination Sunderland > History > Sunderland Ship Building

Shipbuilding has taken place in Sunderland for as far back as records exist. The first record dates back to c1885 when a primitive 2000 year old canoe was found near Hylton in the River Wear.

Thomas Menville was recorded in 1346 as building ships here and by 1840 Sunderland had 65 shipyards. By the mid 1900’s the town was responsible for more than a quarter of the UK’s merchant and naval ships for WWII and was the biggest shipbuilding town in the world.

Despite this however the last shipyards were closed in 1988 amid strong opposition from workers and the entire community.