Andrew Leslie & Co, Hebburn - History
Andrew Leslie (1818-1894) was Shetland-born, with work experience at Aberdeen in shipbuilding, and credited with a brief partnership with John Coutts on his arrival.
He reclaimed much river frontage, by use of contents of Hebburn Ballast Hill to set up ground for his shipbuilding yard.
As sole proprietor of Hebburn Shipyard, he laid the foundations of a shrewdly-run firm that became highly respected name in shipbuilding and marine engineering.
Leslie recruited many workers from North East Scotland, many to found long-serving families and earn Hebburn Quay the nickname of 'Little Aberdeen.' This largely self-contained community had 400 Leslie-built houses near the Yard, and they in turn made a large contribution to the erection of Institute / Schools next to St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, whose 200 ft steeple is still a riverside landmark today.
The original firm launched 255 ships at Hebburn until 1885, also constructing a useful dry dock in 1866, which still exists and brought additional income from ship repair work.
Andrew Leslie retired in 1884, and his much younger partner Arthur Coote (married to Leslie's adopted daughter) quickly made a partnership with locomotive and marine engine builder, R & W Hawthorn of Newcastle. The new firm, R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co now controlled the Loco Works at Forth Banks in Newcastle; the Marine Engine Works at St Peters and the Hebburn Shipyard.
Andrew Leslie died peacefully at his home Coxlodge Hall, Gosforth in 1894. His funeral procession to Newcastle Central Station was a huge affair with hundreds of his old foremen and workers walking the four miles en route, to see him 'awa hame' on a special train to Edinburgh, for burial at the family plot in Leith Cemetery.