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Withy Alexander & Co.                               1869-1874
E. Withy & Co.                                              1874-1891
Furness Withy & Co. Ltd.                           1891-1909 

Edward Withy worked for the shipbuilding firm of Richardson, Duck & Co. at Stockton – on – Tees. Edward Alexander worked for Denton, Gray & Co in Hartlepool. They went into partnership in 1869, taking over a shipyard which had belonged to Denton, Gray. Their first ship was the Maria Ysabel, launched in May 1869. Edward Alexander retired in 1873, and Withy took over the business.

Edward Withy had formed a shipbuilding partnership with Edward Alexander in 1869. When Alexander retired in 1873, Withy carried on with the business alone. In 1880, the yard launched the Cyanus. This was the first steel ship to be built in the Hartlepools. Before this all ships were made of wood or iron. One of the firm’s customers was local businessman Christopher Furness. When Withy decided to move to New Zealand in 1884, Furness bought his shares in the shipyard. He made Withy’s brother, Henry, managing director. The company continued under its own name until 1891, when it was merged with some of Christopher Furness’ other businesses. It now became part of Furness, Withy & Co.

Edward Withy had been a successful shipbuilder in Hartlepool since 1869. When he moved to New Zealand in 1884, he sold his shares in the business (E. Withy & Co.) to Christopher Furness. Furness was a local shipowner, with a string of businesses related to shipping. In 1891 he joined all these together to form Furness, Withy & Co. Furness enlarged the yard, and made improvements such as the installation of electricity. This would have been very unusual in 1896, when most power came from gas. In 1909 the yard was merged with another of Furness’ businesses, Irvine’s shipbuilders. The new firm was called Irvine’s Shipbuilding and Dry Docks Co. Ltd. 

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