Memories of briggstones at North East Marine Engineering building

Don Simpson got in touch with us with some information from Sunderland’s South Docks where he served his apprenticeship, starting in 1981. The company was called Wear Dock Engineering Limited, based in the old North East Marine Engineering building. The building was demolished several years ago but was located next to the sea wall, just south of the dry dock which still exists. To the east, at the rear of the building, were many stone blocks measuring roughly 5′ x 5′ x 5′. These were left over from the construction of the South Pier. There were other stone blocks there which were completely different and of various sizes; the largest being about 4′ x 4′ x 4′ and the smallest about 1′ x 1′ x 1′. All were heavily weathered and some were broken. They were a mix of rectangular and square and had what appeared to be dovetail joints cut into them.

View of North East Engineering 1946

After some research, Don thought they may have been Roman in origin so he informed the late Ray Selkirk, who was then part of the Northern Archaeology Group. He and a few of his friends visited the docks and concluded that they were from the bridge/dam at Hylton.

Upon demolition of the building, all of the stones were removed, although it is unknown what became of them.

Our thanks to Don for getting in touch.  If you have any similar memories of sightings of stones over the years, please get in touch with us via the Contact Page.  Any information may be of great importance to the team.  Thank you.