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HER Number:MDV112081
Name:Shipyard, Marine Parade, Appledore


It has been suggested that shipbuilding took place in the area of Richmond Dock as early as the mid 18th century. By 1840 a shipyard with at least five buildings and a waterfront wall had been established.


Grid Reference:SS 464 302
Map Sheet:SS43SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNortham
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SHIPYARD (XVIII to XX - 1701 AD to 2000 AD (Throughout))

Full description

Exeter Archaeology, 2007, Archaeological Assessment of Richmond Dock, Appledore, Devon, I (Report - Assessment). SDV351297.

It has been suggested that shipbuilding took place in the area of Richmond Dock as early as the mid 18th century. Two maps of Appledore dating to the 1760s show the site as within a natural inlet or triangular shaped creek. This is also the case on early 19th century maps. The 1840 Tithe Map shows a shipyard with at least five standing structures and a curving wall on the waterfront side.
Between 1852 and 1856 the north end of Benson's Quay was redeveloped by William Yeo who had also established a shipbuilding industry in Richmond Bay, Canada. The dry dock (MDV11884) was named after Richmond Bay. Yeo developed the shipyard into the largest dry dock facility in the Bristol Channel ports, allegedly appropriating neighbouring properties, almshouses and common mooring rights. The work took about four years, involving reclamation and widening of Myrtle Street and Marine Parade. Associated buildings were added, including a foundry, smithy, blockmaking shops, sail lofts and mast houses.
The 1889 Ordnance Survey map shows what was probably the original shipyard layout. The site is largely the same in 1903, although two additional buildings had been constructed on the north side of the site.
The yard was converted to build steel ships, but was taken over in 1932 by P. K. Harris and Sons, whose speciality had been building wooden vessels in the New Quay yards to the south. It was mainly used for repairing rather than building, but with the outbreak of World War Two came a renewed interest in developing wooden minsweepers and motor torpedo boats.
After the war Richmond Dock became one concern with 'New Quay' and 'Iron' yards, but gradually wint into slow decay from the mid 20th century when shipbuilding went into decline.
At the time of the site inspection in 2007 only short sections of the original boundary wall survive, along the northern side, dividing the site from Marine Parade. An original gate with sandstone rubble piers bonded in lime is situated midway along this section. The wall, of the same material, continues to the east of the entrance before being interrupted at the eastern end by the insertion of a new gate and piers. The boundary wall to the west of the early gate has been replace in sandstone rubble bonded with cement. At the eastern end of this section a short length of original walling survives, containing two large archways blocked with sandstone rubble bonded with lime mortar.
The curved north-west section of boundary wall is a recent modern replacement, built in sandstone rubble sections, separated by vertical expansion joints. A modern concrete-block wall is situated to either side of the Newquay Street entrance. This continues along the southern boundary, but at a much lower level, topped by a modern wooden fence.
The quay wall is of sandstone with later concrete enhancement. The battered sandstone wall to the south of the dry dock entrance is broken by a section of vertical sandstone walling which appears to represent the blocking of an earlier dock or slipway.
To the south of the dry dock the site lies under concrete and little surface indication of the former use of the area is available. Elsewhere the site is mainly covered with vegetation, with no indication for the survival of original ?stone surfacing. Although it must have been created over made ground there is no evidence to indicate whether this was a single act or, possibly more likely, as a series of more modest additions.

Ordnance Survey, 2015, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV357601.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV351297Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2007. Archaeological Assessment of Richmond Dock, Appledore, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 07.41. A4 Stapled + Digital. I.
SDV357601Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2015. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #71528 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV11884Parent of: Richmond Dock, Appledore (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 29 2015 9:22AM