William Doxford & Sons

William Doxford & Sons Ltd, often referred to simply as Doxford, was a British shipbuilding and marine engineering company.

William Doxford & Sons
Diesel engines
PredecessorJ.L. Thompson and Sons 
SuccessorA&P Group
HeadquartersSunderland, UK
Key people
William Doxford


William Doxford founded the company in 1840.[1] From 1870 it was based in Pallion, Sunderland, on the River Wear in Northeast England. The Company was managed by William Doxford's four sons following his death in 1882.[1] It was acquired by Northumberland Shipbuilding Company in 1918.[2]

It was renamed Doxford & Sunderland Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd in 1961 and Doxford & Sunderland Ltd in 1966.[1] Court Line took it over in 1972 and renamed it Sunderland Shipbuilders Ltd.[1]

In the 1970s a new all-weather Pallion yard was built which could build two ships of up to 30,000 tons deadweight side-by-side. The steel came in at one end, and the completed ship left from the other with engines installed and sometimes with the machinery running.[3]

Court Line collapsed in 1974 and the company was nationalised.[1] It was privatised in 1986 when it was merged with Austin & Pickersgill to form North East Shipbuilders.[1] However, the last ship built at Pallion was floated out of the yard in 1989 after which it closed as a shipbuilding yard. The old shipyard is now occupied by Pallion Engineering Limited, whilst the former marine engine works is occupied by W.H.Forster (Printers) Ltd.


Doxford was a major British shipbuilder. It also made marine diesel engines, the last of which it built in 1980.

See also


  1. Crockett, Margaret; Foster, Janet (October 2005). Report on the Access to Shipbuilding Collections in North East England (ARK) Project (PDF). The Archive – Skills Consultancy.
  2. "Northumberland Shipbuilding Company". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  3. Wilson, Bill (2 September 1992). "Obituary: James Venus". The Independent.

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