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George Lawley & Son
Intrepid, a Lawley Barkentine
Click image for more information
 George Lawley Sr. who came from a family of boatbuilders in Limehouse (London), England, found his first job in America with the East Boston ship designer, Donald McKay. After 15 years, Lawley and fellow worker William Maybury opened a shipyard in Scituate in 1866 for the construction of pleasure boats. The "Lawley built" boat stood then, as it did well into the 20th century, for perfection in every detail.

In 1874 the yachting boom struck, and the firm transferred its yard to a more advantageous location near the city, a fairly large lot next to the Boston Yacht Club station at City Point in South Boston. Within a few years, the demand for new yachts became so great that the plant was moved to the north side of City Point, and in 1902 additional area was secured when the city abandoned the old House of Correction property. It was here that the firm built two of Boston's greatest yachts, the cup defenders Puritan and Mayflower.

The Lawley Company was practically crowded out of its City Point yard in 1910 by an overflow of work, and inability to expand, so the plant was moved across Dorchester Bay to the old Putnam Nail Works at Neponset. [Note that for a short time after Putnam closed, the site had been used by the Magnesia Co. of Massachusetts]. The Guinevere was built at the Neponset yard. It was the first yacht ever fitted with Diesel oil engines motoring her electric Westinghouse equipment which propelled the boat, hoisted the sails, lighted, heated and "cooked" the craft, and twirled the big gyroscope which keeps the boat on even keel.

The company remained at Port Norfolk until 1945, when it closed.

The Lawley family collection of papers is held by the G.W.Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport.

For a pdf version of a brochure entitled The Lawley "Weatherproof Prams Click here

For a pdf version of a brochure entitled The New Low Priced Lawley "15" One Design Sloop Click here


Other Industries of New England: Their Origin, Development and Accomplishments, Illustrated by Many Old and Interesting Views. Boston: Issued by The State Street Trust Company, 1924

View of Shipyard
Lawley Works
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 From the 19 teens through the 1940s the George Lawley & Son Company occupied the point of Port Norfolk, a site occupied by the Putnam Nail Company in the second half of the 19th century. Primarily a builder of high quality yachts, the Lawley Company turned to the production of watercraft for the US Navy in both World Wars. If you go to Port Norfolk, you can see some of the buildings still in place, especially the large rectangular brick building on Ericsson Street that was later used by Seymour Ice Cream (in the illustration, it is large building front and left with the George Lawley & Son sign).

Images of the Lawley BoatyardLawley BoatsGeorge F. Lawley
Related Images: showing 8 of 41 (more results)
Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 41 images.
Intrepid, a Lawley BarkentineIntrepid, a Lawley BarkentineLawley EgeriaLawley boat in Sterling Engine Ad
Lawley LCI ConversionOnza by LawleyRacing Cutter by LawleyLawley Boat Tamasese
Do you know something about this topic? Do you have other pictures or items or knowledge to share? What about a personal story? Are you a collector? Do you have questions? Contact us here.
Created: August 17, 2003   Modified: May 7, 2011