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Title : Launch party of the bulk carrier 'Gloxinia'

Description : Launch party of the bulk carrier ‘Gloxinia’, 20 February 1958 (TWAM ref. DS.RDD/4/21/3). She was launched at the shipyard of John Readhead & Sons, South Shields by Dorothy Anne Robinson (holding the flowers), daughter of Nicholas J. Robinson, a director of the Stag Line. In the background you can also see a group of shipyard workers. This set celebrates the achievements of the shipyard of John Readhead & Sons. The firm has played a significant role in the North East’s illustrious shipbuilding history and the development of South Shields. The company began in 1865 when John Readhead, a shipyard manager, entered into business with J Softley at a small yard on the Lawe at South Shields. Following the dissolution of the partnership in 1872, it continued as John Readhead & Co on the same site until 1880 when the High West Yard was purchased. After Readhead’s four sons were taken into the business in 1888 the company traded as John Readhead & Sons becoming a limited company in 1908. In 1968 the company was absorbed by the Swan Hunter Group and in 1977 became part of the nationalised British Shipbuilders. In the same year the last vessel was launched and the site was sold off in 1984. Readheads was prolific and built over 600 ships from 1865 to 1968, including 87 vessels for the Hain Steamship Company Ltd and over forty for the Strick Line Ltd. The shipyard also built four ships for the Prince Line, founded by Sir James Knott. The firm built vessels, which were involved in the major conflicts of the Twentieth Century. During the First World War they built patrol vessels and ‘x’ lighters (motor landing craft used in the Gallipoli campaign) for the Admiralty. During the Second World War the firm built tankers for the Normandy Landings. (Copyright) We're happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Please cite 'Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' when reusing. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions and commercial use of the original physical version apply though; if you're unsure please email

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Subject : southshields

Subject : shipbuilding

Subject : johnreadheadsonsltd

Subject : shipyard

Subject : bulkcarrier

Subject : children

Subject : shiplaunch

Subject : gloxinia

Subject : stagline

Subject : shipyardworkers

Subject : 1950s

Subject : cute

Subject : hats

Subject : abstract

Subject : socialhistory

Subject : maritime

Subject : industrial

Subject : industry

Subject : johnreadheadsonssouthshields

Subject : digitalimage

Subject : blackandwhitephotograph

Subject : gathering

Subject : launchparty

Subject : vessel

Subject : ship

Subject : 20february1958

Subject : johnreadheadsons

Subject : dorothyannerobinson

Subject : flowers

Subject : nicholasjrobinson

Subject : director

Subject : workers

Subject : group

Subject : northeast

Subject : development

Subject : construction

Subject : johnreadhead

Subject : shipyardmanager

Subject : 1865

Subject : jsoftley

Subject : partnership

Subject : lawe

Subject : highwestyard

Subject : swanhuntergroup

Subject : britishshipbuilders

Subject : informative

Subject : unusual

Subject : readheads

Subject : 18651968

Subject : hainsteamshipcompanyltd

Subject : stricklineltd

Subject : princeline

Subject : sirjamesknott

Subject : standing

Subject : hat

Subject : crane

Subject : wire

Subject : pole

Subject : structure

Subject : sky

Subject : clock

Subject : lamppost

Subject : lamp

Subject : building

Subject : wall

Subject : pipe

Subject : roof

Subject : window

Subject : glass

Subject : chimney

Subject : daylight

Subject : women

Subject : men

Subject : ground

Subject : shoe

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