Old painting of riverfront -a critique

A circa 1810 painting attributed to John Smith seems at first sight to be a somewhat naïve illustration perhaps owing something to artistic licence – until it is compared to a photograph of the same spot one hundred years later.

I’ve been told it, with it’s mechanical winch, was only used for pulling up ships for repairs and maintenance. Even the last ships built in Shoreham (Britannia and Osman Pacha) were built in the old shipyard near the suspension bridge. I didn’t readily accept this to begin with but have since seen photos that show it. Incidentally, how is it possible these old ships were launched without falling over? Looking at this photo it doesn’t seem possible to avoid it but, with the Adur’s very deep tidal drop, I guess it may have been submerged enough at high tide – particularly the stern? Perhaps others will know?

Brook Harrison in Shoreham

Resident in America for many years now, Shoreham born Mike Holland has gathered an interesting collection of paintings of the town and area of his birth that he has kindly had digitally copied for Shorehambysea.com and can now be seen at the end of our paintings gallery.

One is of Brook Harrison’s view of the town from the south side of the river and was painted in 1873. A large sailing ship stands on the stocks at Dyer & Sons’ yard with another moored at Stow & Sons yard, now the Sussex Yacht Club.

1873 Shoreham, Brook Harrison © Mike Holland Collection

The last three large ships to be built built at Shoreham were the Mizpah 1874, Britannia 1877 and Osman Pasha 1878. As far as is known all three were built at the old shipyard not at Dyer’s new ‘patent’ slipway that seems to have only ever been used for ship repairs.

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