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British Industrial History

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Ropner and Son

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Shipbuilders and repairers, of Stockton-on-Tees

1888 Robert Ropner acquired this Stockton yard from its previous owners Matthew Pearse and Co; Ropner saw the yard as a space in which to build his own tramps.

During the next six years 18 tramps were built, and the yard had the third highest output in Britain in 1895. The yard built an average of two tramps per year, and built seventy-two Ropner family tramps during the thirty-six years it was owned by the Ropner's.

1896 The yard produced its first "trunk-decker"; this is the style of ship that became the yard's trademark. However, there was some dispute over which yard was the first to actually produce this design.

1899 See 1899 Shipbuilding Statistics for detail of the tonnage produced.

1909 Built the 'Bismarck' for Chr, Michelsen & Co of Bergen. 1:48 scale model on display at Bergen Maritime Museum.

WWI. A dozen tramps and one coaster, two sloops, six barges and ten standard WAR "A" and "C" types were produced by the yard, although not all were completed until after the war.

1914 Directory: Listed as Iron Ship Builders of Hunter's Lane, Stockton (Ropner and Sons) [1]

1919 A. Mitchelson and Co acquired a controlling interest in the yard; Robert Ropner and Leonard Ropner would continue their associations with the business[2]

1919 The yard went into voluntary liquidation and was renamed as Ropner Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. (Stockton) Ltd [3] but orders were not forthcoming due to the freight slump. The business was said to the have the advantage of being both shipbuilder and ship owner[4]

1922 The yard was liquidated and financially reconstructed. Between 1920 and 1925 16 tramps were built.

1925 The yard was closed

1929 Built a ship, "PFS Swiftpool", driven by a powdered-fuel system from Brand Powdered Fuel Systems Ltd[5], for Sir Robert Ropner and Co[6]

1929 the yard was acquired by Smiths Dock Co[7]

1931 The yard closed for good after completing three tramps along with some coasters and trawlers.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Kelly's Directory of Durham, 1914 p714
  2. The Times, May 31, 1919
  3. The Times, Jul 18, 1919
  4. The Times, Oct 13, 1919
  5. The Times, Oct 17, 1929
  6. The Times, Jul 30, 1929
  7. The Times, Jan 16, 1930
  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss