South Shields Local History Group

Under Construction

1 Ferry Street

Ferry Street

Ferry Street and Market (simplified 1896 map)

In the nineteenth century travelling north up Ferry Street with Saint Hilda’s Church on the right at the left would be the site of Swinburne’s glassworks which at one time employed 600 men.  The name was later changed to the Tyne Plate Glass Works.  It closed in 1891 and was taken over by the Harton Coal Company to become Harton Staiths.

Ferry Landing
Ferries started from this location in 1830 operated by the North and South Shields Ferry Company. Prices: ½d for a Hog, 6d for a Hearse, Carriage or Chariot, 1d for a Foot-passenger, the steam ferry operated every 15 minutes from six o’clock until dusk.

Ferry starting in 1830

A new ferry landing was put in place in 1904, this was 15 times the surface area of the old ferry landing; the one on the “dark side” was only 14 times larger.  This landing had a canny innings lasting 74 years until it sank in 1978 due to an exceptionally low tide.

The landing was then refloated but was replaced by a new ferry landing in 1999.

1978 (Lubi, STH0018889, South Tyneside Libraries)

On the right would have been Leonard Wright’s (of Wright’s Biscuits fame) bonded store built in 1868, it closed in 1909.

Wright’s opening in 1868
Ferry Street 1900 (W D Willits, STH0012858, South Tyneside Libraries) / Ferry Street 2022

John Cowie and Co, Ships Chandlers later took over the building.

Cowie’s ships chandlers 1983 (Ken Lubi, STH0004479, South Tyneside Libraries)

Then the Alum House at the Alum House Ham.  Alum shale was imported from Kettleness near Whitby to be used in Isaac Cookson Glassworks nearby and landed at the Alum House Ham which is where the pub gets its name. 

Alum House and Alum House Ham (Flagg, 1939, STH0012857, South Tyneside Libraries)

Just to the right of the Alum House was Tyne Dock Engineering ship repair yard which had previously been Matthew Wood’s Market Place Brewery.

Market Place Brewery business card 1852 (STH0002265, South Tyneside Libraries)

Opposite the Alum pub was the old German Sailors’ Home opened in 1889 and closed in 1909 when a new home opened at the Mill Dam.

German Sailors’ Home 1919 (Cleet, STH0012837, South Tyneside Libraries) / 2022

Notes on the History of Shipbuilding in South Shields 1746-1946, Amy Flagg
Borough of South Shields, George B Hodgson
British Newspaper Archives
Terry Ford

South Tyneside Libraries
Terry Ford

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