Buoyant future for the Southampton’s oldest boatyard, Dyer Bros

Buoyant future for the city’s oldest boatyard

Simon Tipper from Dyer Bros in Bitterne Park, Southampton

Simon Tipper from Dyer Bros in Bitterne Park, Southampton

First published in Hampshire Business

ITS owners believe it is Southampton’s oldest boatyard, having been set up during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Run by five generations of the same family, Dyer Bros (Marine) Ltd has this year celebrated its 110th anniversary of being at its current site next to Cobden Bridge.

And having provided thousands of city residents with the opportunity of recreation on the River Itchen its owners believe the firm will carry on going from strength to strength.

The Dyer Bros Boatyard was first established in 1856, the year of the end of the Crimean War and the birth of playwright George Bernard Shaw. At that time the firm built and hired rowing skiffs, which were a hugely popular form of recreation for the Victorians, as firm director Simon Tipper explained.

He said: “There weren’t any televisions or bowling alleys in those days, so boating was a major hobby.

“It wasn’t leisure boating as we know it, it involved rowing skiffs similar to those you might see at the Henley Regatta nowadays.

“It was so popular that people would queue down St Denys Road to hire out boats.”

In 1903 the firm was forced to move to its current site from its original location near the Northam Bridge to make way for the new railway line from Southampton to London.

The end of Second World War sparked a change in habits, which saw people move away from hiring rowing skiffs to owning leisure boats. Accordingly the firm started to develop its marina by adding pontoons, also offering boat maintenance, tidal pontoon moorings, storage ashore, a boat lift, repairs and supplies.

And that, to this day, is what the firm has continued to offer.

Mr Tipper said: “We use a traditional slipway and our costs are that much cheaper than the big marinas as a result.”

Land across the Itchen from the business will soon become a retirement flat development, but Mr Tipper says his firm is going nowhere, adding: “We’re hoping to offer the same affordable and quality service for decades to come.”

To contact the yard call 02380 555406.

Comments (2)

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7:10pm Wed 24 Jul 13

issacchunt says...

Good on the echo, rare praise on this site. the echo wrongly pictured the boat yard as a construction site a couple of weeks ago.

Fair deal to run this story as recompense.
Good on the echo, rare praise on this site. the echo wrongly pictured the boat yard as a construction site a couple of weeks ago. Fair deal to run this story as recompense. issacchunt
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Thu 25 Jul 13

HillsidePaul says...

All the Echo has to do now is get the photo caption right. Its in St Denys not Bitterne Park, the clue is in the address.

Good luck to Dyer Bros. Nice to know they are committed to staying.
All the Echo has to do now is get the photo caption right. Its in St Denys not Bitterne Park, the clue is in the address. Good luck to Dyer Bros. Nice to know they are committed to staying. HillsidePaul
  • Score: 0

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