Located on the River Aire in Yorkshire, the origins of the Harker shipbuilding copnay go back to the mid 19th century when John Harker was appointed to run the lighterage side of the business for the Yorkshire chemical company of Stainsby & Lyon. In the early 1920 following industrial disputes in the coal industry, local business looked to securing other forms of fuel and decided on oil. They turned to Harker to transport it for them.
Up until 1929 Harker had relied on other local yards to build their vessels for them, including Dunstons at Thorne and Watsons of Gainsborough, but in that year they established their own building business at Knottingly when they took over the yard previously occupied by William Worfolk and Robert Garlick.
Their first launch was the 150 ton steam tanker "William Kipping" in November of the same year. During WW2 they built a large number of vessels for the Admiralty and the Ministry of War Transport, including three of the "improved" 80.5 foot long VICs, Nos 81, 82 and 99.
Overall, Harker built some 330 ships prior to their closure in 1979.