Maryport History (click here for home page)

PEAT'S SHIPBUILDING YARD 1793-1840

Hannah brig 223 tons built by Peat and Co at Maryport 1818
The brig Hannah 223 tons built by Peat and Co at Maryport 1818. See Robinson p9 "The Profitable life of the Hannah" The "Hannah's" first voyage in the Autumn of 1819 was to Jamaica, returning to London in June 1820. A month later she set off for Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada returning with a cargo of timber for Liverpool in October. When Captain Newby met his fellow owners at Maryport on November 15th 1820 he was able to report a profit on the first two voyages of £1818. 7s. 5p. The result evidently delighted them for they recorded "We beg to acknowledge our best thanks to Captain Newby for his great exertion and integrity in giving us such an extraordinary good settlement"... Robinson p9

John Peat opened his yard in 1793 at what was known as the Old Glasshouse yard situated on the bank of the River Ellen where he built 40 vessels before his death, aged 94 years on June 18th, 1840.

Information of this yard has been difficult to obtain and in my research I have gained very little knowledge for during the years there were gaps resulting in the names of many Peat built vessels missing. The “River Ellen” was only 60 feet wide from bank to bank and the first broadside launch at Maryport took place in October, 1803 when the” Anthorne” a vessel of 186 tons was launched by Messrs. Peat & Co. and this event is described in the Cumberland Pacquet of October 25th, 1803 in these words

“The launching was not in the usual manner. The vessel descended broadside foremost into the water from a perpendicular height of between three and four feet“,

while in 1805 the same firm launched broadside the “Hazard“, a brigatine of 216 tons.

A painting by a well known Maryport artist named “William Brown”, that of a broadside launch was said to have been the first picture of such an event that of the” Airey” a 354 ton bark in February, 1837.

This list though not complete tells of some of the vessels built at the shipbuilding yard of John Peat & Co.

1784 – Brig – “Thompson” – 210 tons – John Peat & Co.
1793 – Brig – “Samuel” – 172 tons – John Peat & Co.
1798 – Brig – “Dykes” – 235 tons – John Peat & Co., 1st Brig named “Dykes”
1799 – Brig – “Jane” – 171 tons – John Peat & Co.
1803 – Brig – “Hannah” – 223 tons – John Peat & Co.
1805 – Brigantine – “Hazard” – 216 tons – John Peat & Co.
1806 – Brig – “Fawcett” – 180 tons – John Peat & Co.
1812 – Brig – “Royalist” – 249 tons – John Peat & Co.
1813 – Brig – “Ocean” – 161 tons – John Peat & Co.
1815 – Brig – “Donald” – 229 tons – John Peat & Co.
1815 – “Relief” – 68 tons – John Peat & Co.
1815 – Brig – “Dykes” – 229 tons – John Peat & Co. 2nd Brig named “Dykes”.
1818 – “Congress” – 299 tons -John Peat & Co.
1818 – Brig – “Hannah” – 223 tons – John Peat & Co.
1822 – “Gnat” – John Peat & Co.
1827 – Brig – “Cherub” – 232 tons – John Peat (Jnr.)
1829 – Brig – “Paragon” – 120 tons – John Peat (Jnr.)
1837 – Brig – “Confidence” – 92 tons – John Peat & Co.
1837 – Brig – “Airey” – 354 tons – John Peat & Co.
1838 – Brig – “Briton” – 111 tons – John Peat (Jnr.)
1838 – Schooner – “Alert” – John Peat (Jnr.)
1839 – Brig – “Keward” – 245 tons – John Peat (Jnr.)

John Peat of Maryport lived from the time when there were only two or three houses and very few inhabitants, and at the time of his death he had set the seal upon it becoming a town of world importance with a population of several thousands, and can truly be known and remembered as a great pioneer and one of the many who helped to fashion our Maritime Heritage.

The following notice appeared in “The Cumberland Journal”

Saturday – April 15th 1830

FOR QUEBEC
To sail from Maryport for Quebec direct,
the fast sailing “Brig Dykes” 350 tons burthen, Thomas Cockton, Commander. 
This vessel will be found to possess excellent accommodations for passengers intending to proceed to upper Canada, as she is high between decks and fitted up with commodious berths for the passengers, having this season undergone a thorough repair She will positively sail on or about the 20th instant.
 A regular Medical Man is going out in the Dykes who will attend on the passengers free of expense. This gentleman has been repeatedly in the Upper Province, and intends to proceed direct from Quebec to Little York.
 For freight or passage apply to the Captain on board.
Maryport, April 7th 1830.

The Profitable Life of The "HANNAH"

The “Cumberland Pacquet” – the local newspaper of the time carried this article.

On Saturday last, September 4th 1818 was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Peat & Co. at Maryport a remarkably fine coppered brig called the “Hannah” burthen for per register 223 tons, built for Captain John Newby and intended for the West Indian trade.”

Captain Newby kept exact details of all the expenses of his ship on every voyage she made and rendered an account to his co-owners every year when a share out of the profits of the enterprise was made. We find that the cost and fitting out of the “Hannah” for her first voyage was £4,470. 18s. 3p the cost being divided into one sixteenth shares of £300.

The “Hannah’s” first voyage in the Autumn of 1819 was to Jamaica, returning to London in June 1820. A month later she set off for Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada returning with a cargo of timber for Liverpool in October. When Captain Newby met his fellow owners at Maryport on November 15th 1820 he was able to report a profit on the first two voyages of £1818. 7s. 5p. The result evidently delighted them for they recorded

We beg to acknowledge our best thanks to Captain Newby for his great exertion and integrity in giving us such an extraordinary good settlement“.

Thereafter the “Hannah” made 26 more voyages – all under Captain Newby’s command – until in January 1834 she was stranded on Wilmington Bar, North Carolina and wrecked.

During the 14 years that she sailed the usual pattern was a voyage to the West Indies in the Autumn and Winter months followed by a shorter voyage to one of the Canadian timber ports in the Summer. The cargos from the West Indies were sugar, rum,  coffee and molasses and all the voyages save one to Quebec in 1829, made a profit, although the wonderful result of the first voyage was never repeated. Those who invested £300 of their money in a sixteenth share of the “Hannah” in November 1819 had 14 years later just about doubled their money. Their share of the profits amounted to £606. 10s. 0p.

Those who agreed to advance money for the “Hannah” on September 23rd 1819 about three weeks after she had been launched were as follows:- John Ritson, James Pitcairn, David Fletcher & Co., Thomas Tolson for “Fanny” and “Mary” Tolson, Isaac Drewery, Joseph Clementson, William Affleck, Robert Russell and Captain Newby. The names of the ship’s crew are not given but the wages they were paid are noted.

The ship’s Master received £8. 10s. 0p a month, the mate £4. 4s. 0p. a month, the 2nd mate £3, the carpenter £4. 4s. 0p. a month, and the seamen seven in number were paid £2. 10s. a month and two boys each received £7 a year.

Among the expenses incurred in port were dock dues and pilotage, payments to a ship keeper while in port, and fees were paid to an individual called a “Jerking Officer” who seems to have been a port official of some kind, and payments for discharging the ship by lump, a system of cargo handling which has often been a factor in dock disputes in our own day.

Compiled by Miss Annie Robinson, MBE JP for Maryport Maritime Museum – Adapted for online appreciation by Peter Nicholson