TAMH: History


Decline of Shipbuilding

Source: David Adams, Arbroath Annual 1985, Herald Press
After William Stephen's untimely death in 1857, at 39, his yard was taken over by Andrew Young, paid by Stephen's trustees to complete the clipper-barque Barracouta for the Liverpool-China tea trade. After another barque in 1858, the business failed, its last vessel, the Dawn, towed to Dundee for completion. John Hall took over the yard and built twelve vessels from 1860 to 1863, but mostly 100 ton schooners.

The Arbroath Shipbuilding Company began in 1860 and was the only local firm by 1864. Their last vessel, the Romala, launched in 1872. Wooden ships gave way to iron. No ships were built in Arbroath from 1873 to 1875. James Roney, from Stephens in Dundee, built six vessels in a rented Arbroath yard between 1876 and 1881 including the Abertay lightship.

In the mid-1800s, three yards employed hundreds directly and through the Ladyloan ropeworks, sailmakers and taverns. By 1887 this was all gone.

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