~ Victorian Bronze 1888 Dated North Eastern Marine Engineering Company Sunderland Engineering Works Engine Builders Plate ~
The heavy bronze plaque bears the company name, the date year of 1888 and the build number of 368. It has screw holes to the top and bottom.
~ North Eastern Engineering ~
North Eastern Engineering & Shipbuilding Co Ltd was incorporated 30/05/1865 and commenced business in that year at Sunderland, but there was a delay in finding an appropriate site on the Tyne. Their works, known as the Sunderland Engine Works, occupied an advantageous position on the eastern side of the River Wear Commissioners’ South Dock. For a time it was intended to build ships on the Tyne and build the engines on the Wear. In May 1867 the plans for shipbuilding were abandoned, without a keel being laid, and the focus of the company became the manufacture and repair of marine engines. The name of the company was then changed to North Eastern Marine Engineering Co Ltd.
The company’s works at Wallsend, known as the Northumberland Engine Works, were completed in 1882 and the two sites both manufactured marine engines and boilers. In each instance the works comprised erecting and machine shops, boiler shops, forge & smithy, iron & brass foundries, pattern shop, brass finishing shop and coppersmiths’ shop. All of the machines were electrically driven and each of the works had a complete electric light installation.
The works at Wallsend had lofty sheds being over 500ft long by 60ft wide and fitted with overhead electric gantry cranes capable of lifting up to 150 tons.
The river frontage of the Northumberland Works is over 1,400ft, along the whole length of which is a substantial jetty, on which is fitted a large electric cantilever crane capable of lifting up to 150 tons and having a radius of 150ft. Also a 25 ton electrically driven jib crane travels the full length of the jetty.
At the beginning of 1884 a proposed merger with the shipbuilder Andrew Leslie was called off over a disagreement over the value of the NEM company and Leslie went on to merge with R & W Hawthorn instead.
Just over 1660 engines were supplied by the company up to 1914 to more than 70 shipbuilders of which about 20 were one off orders. During this period Wood Skinner were the largest customer with 149 engines, 16 of which were built on the Wear.
~ Condition ~
The plaque has some minor corrosion to the reverse, the front is very clean.
~ Dimensions ~
The plaque is 47 cm (18.5 inches) wide and is 27 cm (10.5 inches) tall. It weighs 6 Kg.