W.G. Armstrong, Mitchell and Company

W.G. Armstrong, Mitchell and Co was formed on 14th November 1882 by the merger of the shipbuilder Mitchell & Co, based at Low Walker, and armaments manufacturer W.G. Armstrong and Co. The two companies had previously reach an agreement whereby Armstrong would produce all of the gun for use on warships produced by Mitchell.

In 1884 the new company opened a new shipyard at Elswick to build warships, which allowed the yard at Low Walker to concentrate on merchant ships. The first vessels to be launched here were gunboats for Austria-Hungry and these would be followed by cruisers for Japan, the battleship HMS Victoria and, in 1886, the world’s first ocean-going tanker. William Henry White would lead the new facility until 1885 when he became Director of Naval Construction and was succeeded by Philip Watts. At the time the yard was the only one in the world that was capable of building warships and installing their weapons. It was also involved in locomotive production at this time.

By 1893 the company employed 13,000 people at the Elswick site and the following year it produced the pumping engines, accumulators and hydraulic pumping engines for use in Tower Bridge.

In 1895 Charles Mitchell died. He had previously run the shipbuilding side of the business and had been heavily involved in its strategic management. 2 years later the company would merge with Sir Joseph Whitworth and Company to form Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth and Company Limited.