Hartlepool Museum’s collections include many pieces of shipping paperwork, reflecting the town’s history as a busy shipping port. This object in particular is a seaman’s wage slip for work carried out on a ship, the ‘Rondo’, in September 1953. The seaman, Mr L. Scrafton, was paid £10. 3s. 1p for one week’s work aboard the ‘Rondo’, which in today’s money would have been £242.33.
The ‘Rondo’ had first been built in 1927 by Smith’s Dock Company as a cargo steamship. Smith’s Dock Company had opened its first dock in North Shields in 1851, and most of its ship-building capabilities were re-routed to South Bank in Middlesbrough in 1907. As well as building cargo steamers, Smith’s Dock built naval trawlers to serve during the Second World War. The company’s finances began to dwindle after the war and they merged with another company and became Swan Hunter Group in 1966. The shipyard at South Bank closed in 1987.
The ‘Rondo’ was first owned by the Pelton Steamship Company based in Newcastle for 29 years. In 1956 the ship was bought by a Greek shipping company, Sigalas G. T. and Sons, based in Piraeus, a port in Athens, and was renamed SS. Tourliani. The ship continued on as a cargo steamer until April 1963 when it ran aground outside Landskrona in Sweden. The wreckage was refloated and delivered to Hamburg two months later where it was dismantled.