puffers & vics



Richard Dunston Ltd.

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.