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Builders plate from the Bristol Queen, 1946, built by Charles Hill & Son and used by Campbell's between 1946 - 1979, given to Charles Hill by Captain G. S. Gunn, 1979, is on display in tHe 'Mastering the Tides' case in the Places Gallery.

Commemorative silver salver, 1935 - memento from the launch of the John King tugboat at Charles Hill's yard. On display in the 'Mastering the Tides' case in the Places Gallery.

Model of the John King, built by Charles Hill & Sons, 1935 - on display in the 'Mastering the Tides' case in the Places Gallery.

 Charles Hill & Sons was a major shipbuilding company based in Bristol during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.


The company was originally established as Hilhouse in 1772 by James Hilhouse. Charles Hill, a shipwright, joined the company in 1824. Hill acquired the company and In 1845 it was successively reestablished as Charles Hill & Sons.  "Hill's" built mainly merchant and commercial ships (but also warships and governmental vessels during both world wars).


In 1879 they established the Bristol City Line a transatlantic steamship service between Bristol and New York, which ran until 1974.


MV Rozi, a tugboat built by Charles Hill & Sons in 1958, is now a tourist attraction as a dive site off the coast of Malta, since after being decommissioned she was used as an artificial reef.


'Hill's' used the Albion Dockyard, which was on a site acquired by the original company in 1820, opposite the Hotwell Dock on the north side of the river, which they used first. The Albion Yard consisted of two wet docks, a large dry dock and building berths. It's construction led to the closure of the Hotwells and Wapping Yards within four years.


William Patterson shipbuilders were based in the adjacent Great Western Yard, and after they launched the Great Western and Great Britain in the 1830s and 1840s, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Hilhouse /Hills lost out on many orders.

'Hill's went out business in out of business in 1977. 

The two firms built over 560 ships in their combined 200 years of existence.

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