In 1839 the engineering firm of Charles Arthur Day and William Alfred Summers, later styled Day, Summers and Company, moved from their Millbrook foundry to a new site on the Itchen just below Northam Bridge and re-styled themselves as the Northam Iron Works. The move was made in part because of the difficulties in launching ships from the Millbrook works. Ships built here had to be dragged across Millbrook Road to be launched. In 1839 it was reported that traffic was held up for several days while a large steamship was moved to the launching place.
The first ship to be launched from the Northam site was the Pride of the Waters, a paddle steamer for the Isle of Wight service, launched in October 1840. The new site produced a steady stream of iron steamers for the P & O, Union, Royal Mail and Hamburg American Lines, the largest of which was the Hindostan launched in 1869. The firm continued building smaller steamers and tugs and in the latter half of the century expanded its ship repair activities. They also built a series of luxury steam yachts and steam ferries for the floating bridge. Day, Summers and Co. closed down in 1929 and their yards were taken over by Thornycrofts.

Further reading:
More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p142-4. (HS/h)
Shipbuilding in Victorian Southampton, by Adrian Rance. (HS/pf)


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