Maryport Shipbuilding Middleton Yard 1820-1860


Advert Isaac Middleton Ship Builders and Ship Smiths 1820 1860
Advert Isaac Middleton Ship Builders and Ship Smiths 1820 - 1860. Source Robinson p11
Maryport harbour River Ellen ship building drawing
A busy scene on the banks of the River Ellen in Maryports early ship building days. This drawing seems to be the shipyard on left where The Wave is, and on the right a ship is on the ribs that still exist, and beyond is the drawbridge with the houses on the bank that goes to The Settlement. Source: Robinson rear of booklet.


Middleton’s Ship Yard was situated on the River bank below Mote Hill and were renowned for their crafts as shipbuilders and shipsmiths. “Charlotte Middleton” was the grandmother of “Thomas Henry Ismay” who became the greatest ship owner of his day. As a small boy he spent a great deal of his time talking to the sailors whose ships were in Ellenfoot Harbour, and where his great love of ships had its birth, and his desire to one day owning the greatest fleet of ships in the world (the famous “White Star Line”) a dream which was certainly fulfilled.

One of the earliest Middleton built vessels of the early 1800’s was the “Atlantic” of 215 tons and launched from their yard below Mote Hill in the area known then as Paper Mill Green (1822) and still is today. Other vessels built at this yard were:-

1814 – Brig – “Janes” – 150 tons – Joseph Middleton.
1816 – Brig – “Grace” – 193 tons – Isaac Middleton.
1816 – Brig – “Brown” – 189 tons – I. Middleton & Co.
1824 – Brig – “Clytie” – 76 tons – I. Middleton.
1825 – Snow – “Margaret” – 226 tons – I. Middleton.
1826 – Brig – “Brothers” – 93 tons – I. Middleton.
1827 – Sloop – “Mary Ann” – 27 tons – I. Middleton.
1828 – Snow – “Ritson” – 237 tons – I. Middleton
1835 – Brig – “Caribb” – 245 tons – I. Middleton.
1837 – Schooner – “Mary” – 45 tons – I. Middleton.
1839 – Brig – “Middleton” – 241 tons – I. Middleton.

As stated previously information on the shipbuilding yards is very obscure, and this seems very much to be the case regarding Middleton’s yard. The name Middleton appears on an advertising poster of those days stating –

Regular communication between Maryport and Liverpool.
The fine fast sailing schooner “Ocean Child”
– John Glaister – Master –
will sail from Maryport on the 20th of May and the 10th of June,
and from Liverpool on the 13th of May and the 3rd of June.
With goods and passengers, and will continue to leave each place regularly on the day appointed weather permitting.
Shipper are requested to be particular in directing their goods to be forwarded to George’s Dock – Liverpool.
For further information apply to
Messrs. Nelson Wood & Co. South John Street, Liverpool,
Mr. Isaac Middleton, Shipbuilder and timber merchant, Maryport
or Mr. Joseph Ismay, timber and provision merchants – Maryport.

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