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<googlemap lat="51.450423" lon="-2.609596"> 51.448631, -2.610111, Princes Wharf </googlemap>
To Princes Wharf and Temple Meads: Wapping Railway Wharf
James Martin Hilhouse started shipbuilding on a site close to Hotwells Road in about 1770. In 1803 the business was re-titled Hilhouse & Sons and Company and 10 years later they completed the Charlotte and Hope, the first steamship to be built in Bristol. The creation of the Floating Harbour saw the firm move their yard to the south bank where they established their New Dockyard complete with dry-dock. In 1824 the firm was re-titled George Hilhouse & Company, and a year later Charles Hill, who had joined the company as an accountant in 1810, became a partner in the firm. After a spell trading as Hilhouse, Hill & Company, Charles Hill took control of the company, brought his 16-year-old son (also called Charles) into the business and renamed it Charles Hill & Son in 1845. Three years later the New Dockyard was re-titled the Albion Yard.
In 1970 an announcement was made that commercial operations in Bristol City Docks were to cease and Charles Hill launched their last ship, the Miranda Guinness, on 9th July 1976. The Albion yard closed completely on 4th January 1977.
Charles Hill's shipyard with the ship Skirbeck under construction. The concrete legs of the cranes survived for many years after the shipyard closed. © Andy Kirkham
Another view of the yard. © Andy Kirkham
A look at the surviving dry dock of Charles Hills shipyard. Bristol City Docks were closed to commercial traffic in 1980 and the decision meant an end to shipbuilding in the city.