Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,414 pages of information and 233,868 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Pile and Co

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1859. Pile's floating docks.

John Pile, shipbuilder, of Hartlepool.

John Pile’s family were shipbuilders on the River Wear, about twenty miles (32 km) north of Hartlepool.

1852 John Pile was asked to set up a shipyard in West Hartlepool by Ralph Ward Jackson, who was developing the docks area of the town.

1853 Construction work on the shipyard began.

1854 Pile’s first ship from the new yard was the Mirage, a wooden sailing ship, launched in 1854. He extended the business around the same time by founding the West Hartlepool Rolling Mills Co. This was an iron works, which supplied materials to build iron ships.

1856 The first iron ship to be built at the yard was the Demitrius, launched in 1856. During this period, Pile traded under the company names of :

  • John Pile (from 1853 to 1857)
  • John Pile and Company (from 1857 to 1859)

1859 Pile went into partnership with another shipbuilder, Joseph Spence. The new firm traded under the name of Pile, Spence and Co.

1863 one of his brothers, Thomas Hunter Pile, began his own shipbuilding business T. H. Pile and Co in a nearby yard.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Hartlepool Council Web Site