Low Worsall: the Shipping and Trade of an Eighteenth-Century “Port” on the River Tees
The river Tees has never been as important as the Tyne or the Humber yet, in the 18th century, the commercial activities on its estuary began to flourish. Yarm was the first port on the river recognized by King John, who took an interest in taxing the trade ongoing on the river. In 1732 the Peirse brothers built stone quays and warehouses at Low Worsall and started a company that provided transportation services using the waterway, as it was quicker, safer and cheaper than the roads. The business grew until disputes between the Peirses and the local landowners rose, when the brothers divided their company and eventually went bankrupt in 1778. The advent of railways and of the industrial revolution eventually relegated the Low Worsall to the minor role of a rural establishment.