The shipbuilding yard of Richard Dunston was
opened in 1858 constructing wooden barges on the bank of the
Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Thorne in
Yorkshire, a location over 40 miles from the sea. In 1920 control
passed to the founder's grandson and he set about a process of
modernisation to equip the yard to build steel vessels. With the
Thorne yard limited to the size of ship it could build due to
its being on a canal, the company expanded to a site at Hessle
on the river Humber, although it is at Thorne that all of the
Dunston VICs were built. Interestingly,
although Dunston pioneered the building of all welded ships.all
of their VICs were riveted.
The Dunston family sold the business in
1974 to the Ingram Corporation of America. Eleven
years later they were up for sale again but unfortunately with no
buyer available the Thorne yard was forced to close.
The Hessle yard was the subject of a management
buy out following which the yard built a
variety of vessels, including four Clyde car ferries (Loch Strive,
Loch Ranza, Loch Riddon and Loch Linnhe for the Clyde-based
Caledonian MacBrayne company), a low air draft dry cargo ship, gas
tankers and naval tugs.
In December 1994, the company went into
liquidation and the Hessle yard closed. It was used as a recycling
yard for several years following its closure, but most of the site
has now been rebuilt with offices and car showrooms. Richard Dunston
ship repairs still exists further east along the Humber Estuary.