Albion Dockyard


Albion Dockyard Sign

In 1820 Hilhouse & Sons developed the New Dockyard (Chatham Yard), and built two wet docks, a dry dock and building berths. This was to replace their Hotwell Dock. Charles Hill had joined the Hilhouse Company in 1810 as a shipwright and in 1845 he took over the company and it became Charles Hill & Sons and was called Albion Yard from 1848. Charles Hill & Sons went bust in 1977 and in 1980 the Albion Dockyard was taken over by Abels Shipbuilders. Abels stopped trading in 2016 after the retirement of David Abel.

Bristol Shipyards- Hilhouse in red – Wikipedia
Hilhouse Yard-1820-TW Rowbotham

The new dockyard for Hilhouse and Sons built on virgin bankside. In the background is Sydney Row which was built for key workers at the dockyard.

Charles Hill 1917

Albion Dockyard ss Bristol City 1917
Launch of SS Bristol City 1917

To the right of this picture you can see the clock tower on the Dockside Offices.

Top left is Steamship House, in Great Western Dockyard, where the SS Great Britain engine was built which was bombed in 1942. In 1917  it was Wickham and Norris, Timber Merchants.

Top centre is McArthur’s Wharehouse which was demolished in 2019. In the late 19C it was a working malt-house.

PBA227 Albion Shipbuilding Yard – 1922
charles hill from mardyke 1935
Charles Hills from Mardyke 21 October 1935 – launch of John King tug – Reece Winstone

PBA790 30 05 – 1938 – Launch of mv “Brockley Combe” at Charles Hill’s Dockyard. HMS “Flying Fox” (distant, far right) has been moved from her usual mooring on Mardyke to accommodate the launch.

PBA1881 Launch of Gracechurch from Charles Hill’s shipyard
Albion Dockyard in 1940s
Charles Hill Albion Yard 1947  – Western Daily Press
PBAN6148 Drag-boat BD6 being dismantled in Charles Hill’s Dry Dock.The boat was built to Brunel’s design in 1843 for dredging in the Floating Harbour.
Albion Yard Dockside Offices
Dockside Clock Tower 2018.

This building was the head office of Charles Hill. To the right you can see the Banksy art work of October 2014 ‘ Girl with Pierced Eardrum’ which was vandalised the day after it was painted. In April 2020 this image received a mask to reflect the Coronavirus pandemic.

Girl with pierced eardrum and mask

Albion Dockyard 1950

Albion Dockyard 1955
On the left you can see the timber yard on Chatham Wharf which became the marina in the 1980s
charles hill shipyard 1946 rw
Charles Hill Shipyard with Chatham Timber Wharf on right 1946 – Reece Winstone
Charles Hill & Sons Boston City Paul T
Boston City launched at Charles Hill and Son
Graving Dock Charles Hill Dockyard -Harry Brown
Harry Brown sand dredger
Last ship launched from the Albion Dockyard 1976 – the world’s first purpose built beer tanker – it was scrapped in 1996
Crane stanchions, Albion Dockyard, 1978
Miranda Guinness -John Winstone
Bristol Marina Albion Dockyard 1980s – Bristol Museums MHC34
28 Swans 14th January 2016
Twenty Eight Swans at Baltic Wharf Marina

Richard Rankin, the owner of No. 7 Boats, also holds the honorary title of  ‘Swan Keeper’.

According to Mr Rankin there are up to 40 swans on the river at any one time so 28 in one place could be a record.

Forth Hope Georgetown Albion Dockyard

Forth Hope Georgetown in the 1820 Graving Dock — The last refit in Albion Yard August 2016

In July 2018 the SS Great Britain Trust revealed a new partnership with the newly established the neighbouring Albion Dock Company in collaboration with Bristol City Council.

Albion Dock Company

Pelican of London Albion Dock 16 Sept 2018
Thekla in Albion Dry Dock 2019

The Pelican of London  is the first ship in the Graving Dock under the new Albion Dock Company.

Pelican of London back in April 2021
The original PS Great Western was launched in 1837 and had its maiden voyage in 1838 from Princes Wharf.

Albion Yard June 2022

The replica of PS Great Western will be located in the end nearest Hanover Place.

The Graving Dock July 2022

Fridiot Nansen – July 2022

Bristol ferry fleet given new boat to help expansion

Juno is currently at Albion Dockyard while alterations take place November 2023

A ferry company has been gifted a new boat by a community organisation that will allow them to expand. Juno, a wooden passenger ferry, will soon join the Bristol Community Ferry Boats (BCFB) fleet after being gifted by RiverShack, who are based in Yarm.The boat is currently undergoing alterations to ensure it can cruise under bridges in Bristol harbour.

Roisin Tobin-Brooke, BCFB co-director, said it was a “significant milestone”. BCFB offers travel across Bristol harbour, as well as educational trips for children and special events in their distinctive yellow and blue boats. Ms Tobin-Brooke said: “Juno will enable us to expand our waterbus service and education programme and improve the quality of our passengers’ experience. “We are so grateful to RiverShack for their remarkable generosity and their belief in the importance of our services.”