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Joseph Parkin & Thomas Richardson          1836-1839
Thomas Richardson                                        1839-1855
T. Richardson & Sons Ltd.                             1857-1900
Richardsons Westgarth & Co. Ltd.              1900-1982

Parkin and Richardson formed a partnership in 1836. They were the first people to build ships in Hartlepool since medieval times. Their site was near the old ferry landing on the Headland. This was not a shipbuilding yard as we would understand it today. It was simply an area of land near the shore-line. When the wooden ships were ready to be launched they were slid down the beach into the sea.

There was a problem with the location of the Parkin and Richardson site. Part of the old town wall ran through it. This cut off the area where the ship was being built from the beach. The wall had to be taken down before a ship was launched, then re-built as quickly as possible afterwards, to stop the sea coming in.

Parkin and Richardson’s first ship, the Castle Eden, was launched early in 1837. They built three others at the site, before deciding to move because of the problems with the wall. In 1838 they went to a new site at Middleton. They built two more ships here before the partnership dissolved in 1839. The shipyard was sold to J.P. Denton. 

The Richardson family owned an iron foundry at Castle Eden, near Hartlepool. They made items which were used in shipbuilding, such as bolts, hinges and anchors. Thomas Richardson had formed a partnership with Joseph Parkin in 1836 to build wooden sailing ships. When this broke up in 1839, Richardson went back to the foundry. In 1844 he briefly returned to shipbuilding, and built two vessels over the next two years. 

Thomas and John Richardson inherited an iron foundry and a shipbuilding business from their father. They launched the Sir Colin Campbell, the first iron ship to be built in the Hartlepools, in 1854. They built a further eight ships over the next few years. Then the firm ran into financial problems. In 1857 Richardson Bros. stopped shipbuilding. From this point they concentrated on the other side of their business, which was making marine engines and remained trading until 1982.