The Museum of Hartlepool, Tees Valley
Shipbuilding, Social Reform
1900 – 1945
The Paddle Steam Ship Wingfield Castle was built in Hartlepool by shipbuilders William Gray and Company. Originally founded in 1863 as a partnership, “Grays” grew to become one of the most successful shipbuilders in the world, holding the Blue Riband for Productivity six times during the 1890s.
Sir William Gray was one of the first social reformers. He used the profits from his shipbuilding business to make real changes in people’s lives by paying workers a decent living wage.
Maritime safety was also an important area of interest. Gray was instrumental in bringing in the law that led to the Plimsoll Line for the safe loading of vessels that’s still in use today.
The PSS Wingfield Castle is now preserved afloat at the Museum of Hartlepool as a lasting legacy of the town's engineering skill, creative energy and determination during difficult times. It is the largest object preserved in the collection, weighing some 550 tons (gross tonnage), and is 64m (209ft) in length.
By William Gray and Company, Shipbuilders (1863-1963)
On display at The Museum of Hartlepool.
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