Family run firm UK Docks wins award for reviving North East marine industry

UK Docks, founded by Harry Wilson as Tyne Slipway and Engineering Co in South Shields in 1995, has grown into a national company

UK Docks' John and Harry Wilson with the company's award
UK Docks' John and Harry Wilson with the company's award

A family-run firm in the North East has scooped an industry award for its work reviving the marine industry in the region.

UK Docks, founded by Harry Wilson as Tyne Slipway and Engineering Co in South Shields in 1995, has grown into a national company with boat repair facilities at Gosport and Whitehaven alongside its facilities on the Tyne and a dry dock on the Wear.

Now its work in bringing Middlesbrough dockside back to life has seen the company win an aware from the Royal Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, and Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

Last year the company re-opened docks on the Tees which had lain dormant for more than two decades, investing heavily in bringing them back up to operational use in double-quick time.

The first of the two docks was re-opened last October - 107 years to the very day that it originally opened. The second will be back in business this summer, with the two schemes creating more than 100 jobs.

Awards committee member John Eltringham said: “UK Docks Marine Services deserve credit for taking a very bold step.

“When I first started out in the marine business in the North East in the 1980’s there were 27 dry docks in the region. Now there are only a handful.

“So it was a sign of great ambition and determination for UK Docks to take over mothballed dry docks in Teesside last year and bring them back to life.

“Our own institution contains bodies which date all the way back to the 1880s, when this country was the biggest shipbuilding nation in the world.

“Since then, the industry has seen a massive decline but top quality experience and expertise still remains in the region.

“And UK Docks which supplies work on the Tyne, the Wear and now on the Tees has given a real vote of confidence in that fact. They are worthy award winners and deserve great credit for what they are doing.”

UK Docks managing director Harry Wilson, who collected the award at Newcastle Civic Centre with sons Jonathan, Chris and Gary - who all involved in running parts of the business - said: “This is the second time we’ve won it - the first was when we re-opened the dry dock in Sunderland in 2002.

“And it is nice to think that all these years later we are still re-opening docks in the North East.

“We’re very proud of what we are doing in Middlesbrough.

“And we’re pleased to be in a position to keep bringing business, jobs and security to the North East in one of its traditional industries.”

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