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Towers Watt Black & Partners

Details about Towers Watt Black & Partners

Andrew Towers, Robert Christopher Black, Adam Watt and Andrew Smith had shares in numerous sailing ships from about 1855. When Andrew died in 1864 and, after probate was granted in May of that year, his shares went to his wife Mary Alice Towers. Those ships listed below with their general history were still in Hartlepool ownership when they came to their ends. Other sailing vessels were:

Wood brig Alliance built at Sunderland in 1855. Andrew was her master on some voyages between 1855 and 1856. The trio purchased her from Robert and William Gray in 1862 with Andrew’s shares passing to his widow in 1864. The Alliance was sold in December 1865 and registered at Whitby. In 1867 she was abandoned to founder in the North Sea.

Wood brig Allison built at Sunderland in 1838. Andrew was her master on some voyages between 1855 and 1856. She was purchased by Andrew Towers and Adam Watt in January 1855 and was owned solely by Adam Watt after Andrew’s death. She was sold to Whitby and wrecked in 1879.

Wood brig Ann Taylor built by William Doxford, Sunderland in 1858. She was owned by Mary Alice Towers in 1864 and by 1868 Robert C. Black. In 1878 she was sold to Germany.

Family History:

Andrew Towers was born in 1820 at Bishopwearmouth to parents Luke and Mary (nee Jefferson) Towers. He married Mary Alice Hunter on 13th February 1855 at the Independent Chapel, Hartlepool.  By 1861 the couple were living at Rowell Street, Hartlepool with their three children.

Andrew died aged 44 on 17th January 1864 at Hartlepool leaving effects of under £3,000.


Mary Alice Hunter was born in 1828 at North Shields to parents John (master mariner) and Margaret (nee Bulman) Hunter. Mary married Andrew Towers in 1855 at Hartlepool and the couple had three children before Andrew’s death in 1864. Mary was remarried to James Smith (master mariner) at St Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool on 12th August 1867. From 1871 to 1881 Mary was living at Regent Street, Hartlepool and was listed as a shipowner. In 1881 her four sons, John, Andrew, William and Albert and her daughter Christiana were living with her. By 1891 she had moved to Sunderland to live with her daughter Christiana Jameson and her family.

Mary died aged 82 on 8th April 1909 at Ormonde House, West Hartlepool leaving effects of £74.


Robert Christopher Black was born in January 1821 at Ingram, Northumberland to parents John and Elizabeth (nee Pringle).  He married Ann Pringle in February 1856 at Edlingham, Northumberland. From at least 1851 to 1871 he was living at Southgate Street, Hartlepool. In 1861 he was listed as a grocer and ship chandler and in 1871 Robert was employing seven men and five boys. Ann died aged 45 in 1880 and by 1881 Robert had moved to 27 Town Wall, Hartlepool. At this time he had seven children and was employing 11 men and 4 boys. Robert became a magistrate in April 1881.

Robert died aged 78 in August 1899 at his residence 27 Town Wall, Hartlepool leaving effects of £9,454.


Adam Watt was born at Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland in June 1809 to parents Robert and Mary (nee Hislop) Watt. He became a master joiner and builder. Adam married Mary Wright in June 1839 at Stockton-on-Tees. The couple had 14 children some of whom died in infancy.

Adam died aged 78 on 22nd June 1887 at 2 Marine Crescent, Hartlepool leaving effects of £971.


Andrew Smith was born in June 1819 at Shetland, Scotland to parents John and Agnes (nee Wilson) Smith. He married Janet Leask in January 1843 at Tynemouth. In 1850 the couple were living at South Shields. By 1871 Andrew and his family were living at Regent Street, Hartlepool and by 1881 Andrew had retired and was living with his wife and mother at Shortridge Street, South Shields.

Andrew received his Second Class Master’s Certificate No. 226 in March 1847 at South Shields then his Master’s Certificate at London in December 1850, Registration No. 107,804. At this time he was living at 9 Fowler Street, South Shields. From February 1847 to 1848 he was master of the Chance, owned by Thomas Coltman of South Shields. 1848 to 1849 he was master of the Madonna owned by Nathaniel Kearsley & Co., of Hartlepool. In January 1852 he was master of the William & Ann owned by George Younghusband of Hartlepool. From 1854 to 1862 he had shares and was master of the Niobe owned in Hartlepool.


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