The Company

Cook, Welton & Gemmell

During its eighty year history the shipbuilding company Cook, Welton & Gemmell built some 1317 vessels, mostly fishing vessels for the major fishing ports of Hull, Grimsby, Fleetwood, Lowestoft and Aberdeen.

Established in 1883 at Kingston upon Hull, where they built iron-hulled fishing smacks and trawlers, the firm relocated to the Grovehill shipyard in Beverley, East Yorkshire during 1901. From here, they launched hundreds of vessels including trawlers, naval ships, tugs, coasters and even pleasure boats, until large-scale economic change and technological developments caused the closure of the yard in March 1963. The tug ‘Lady Elsie‘ was launched on 31st October 1962 and had the sad distinction of being the last vessel to be built by the company.

Shipyard workmen c.1900 (DDX2180-1-544)
Workers at Grovehill Shipyard, Beverley (circa 1900)

During its existence Cook, Welton & Gemmell became an integral part of the infrastructure of the Humber region’s trawling industry. It was a major local employer, but also attracted hundreds of workers from the North East and Scotland. Furthermore, the company’s operations, which took place in a rural market town (unique for this type of heavy industry), gave rise to other manufacturing activities in the area, amongst them wire ropemaking at factories such as Overton Brothers of Beverley.

Aerial view of Grovehill shipyard 1950 (archive ref DDX1235-2-3)
Aerial view of the shipyard, from the south (1950)

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