John Wigham & Sons, Ltd., was founded in 1878 at Pallion, and moved to Hylton in 1885 as a foundry and engine works making steam winches and steering gears. They also operated a slipway in their early days upon which ships could be hauled out of the river and repaired.
On 13th May, 1913, the United States of America Patent Office, granted John Wigham and John Rodham Wigham, Patent No: 1061932, for a period of seventeen years, in respect of Control Devices for steam Engines.
There was a man working there who was nicknamed `Pitchy’ because his first job as a boy had been to melt the pitch for caulking the seams of the ships on the slipway.
Mr. John Wigham lived at 7, Railway Terrace from 1877, before moving into Ford Villa.
To correct a misconception on the history of John Wigham & Sons Ltd, numerous local histories of Sunderland have referred to the company as “Shipbuilders”. It never did build ships, only repaired them.