Dr Charles Mitchell (1820–1895)
Dr Charles Mitchell (1820–1895) by Charles William Mitchell (1854–1903), Univ of Aberdeen (CC BY-NC-SA)
Charles Mitchell, (1820-1895)
Charles Mitchell, (1820-1895) by D. F. McGuire. c. 1988, Aberdeen University Special Collections
Swan & Hunter, Ltd., Pontoon Dock Yard (c. 1900),
Swan & Hunter, Ltd., Pontoon Dock Yard (c. 1900), The Municipal Archives of Trondheim (CC BY 2.0)
Swan & Hunter, Ltd., Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne (c. 1900)
Swan & Hunter, Ltd., Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne (c. 1900) The Municipal Archives of Trondheim, (CC BY 2.0)
St. Georges Church, Jesmond
St. Georges Church, Jesmond by Terry Phillips, Newcastle Libraries (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Charles Mitchell was an engineer and shipbuilder, notable for founding major shipbuilding on the Tyne. He was educated at Aberdeen University and served an apprenticeship in London before joining John Coutts Shipbuilders in Newcastle in 1842. In 1852 he became a shipbuilder in his own right, buying the Low Walker yard on the Tyne.

As his reputation grew, so did his order book, and from 1857 he started building ships for the Russian Navy, establishing a shipyard in St Petersburg a few years later. As a result, for his services to the Russian Empire, he was decorated with the Imperial Order of St Stanislaus, which may be seen in the coat of arms over the door of Jesmond Towers, which he purchased in 1869. His business was so successful, he began acquiring some of the smaller yards on the Tyne. In 1873 he purchased another yard in Wallsend as his yard at Walker couldn’t cope with the demand. In 1880, he entered into a partnership with Charles Swan and George Hunter, to establish the Swan and Hunter Yard in Wallsend.

He was a great philanthropist during his lifetime. He gave about £30,000 to the University of Aberdeen where the Mitchell Tower (1895) and Mitchell Hall are named after him. In 1887, Charles gave funds to build the art nouveau church of St George (including its bells and organ) in Jesmond. The following year, in 1888, he helped to establish Walkergate Hospital, which cost £17,887 to build.


Grace’s Guide. (2018). C. S. Swan and Hunter, Available here (Accessed: 17/05/2018).

Grace’s Guide. (2018). Charles Mitchell and Co, Available here (Accessed: 17/05/2018).

Grace’s Guide. (2018). Charles Mitchell, Available here (Accessed: 17/05/2018).

Sitelines. (2018). Walkergate, City Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Available here (Accessed: 17/05/2018).