The city of shipbuilding
Indeed, the late 18th century saw the start of Norrland’s era of sailing ships. For the first time ever, the modern barque set sail on the oceans at that time. Around 1785, Umeå’s barque Fortuna set sail on the Mediterranean. Several shipyards were later built along our coast, including Nordmaling, Umeå, Skeppsvik and Skellefteå. No particular port facilities were required for the schooners that cruised the coastline to Stockholm with tar, planking and salted herring.
When it came time to build the big ships, many more buildings were needed to supplement the simple building berths, timber sheds, smithy, rope-maker and so on. For this reason, shipbuilding was controlled by those with capital and those who were already involved in iron, tar and timber exports.
Six ships were built in Umeå in 1781 ranging from 70 to 130 loads (one load = 2.4 tonnes) in size; in 1782, 14 smaller and larger ships were under construction. Fifty-nine ships were built between 1779 and 1788.
In the late 19th century in Umeå, consul Lars Glas and A.F. Scharin and sons were the dominant shipbuilders.
Due to fire hazard, in the late 18th century the shipyard was moved from its original location below the church to the opposite side at Teg. Teg would later have three shipyards beside each other. Furthest to the south, level with the island’s point, was the Öhman shipyard, Gammvarvet. Next was the Glasiska shipyard – Oscar shipyard, named after Oscar I. Scharinsk shipyard was upstream from this. The shipyards were ravaged by the city’s fire in 1888.
The large ships built in the county’s shipyards primarily took local or neighbouring district’s sawn goods and tar to foreign countries, since foreign trade took off in earnest in the 19th century. France, the Netherlands, England, Spain and Germany were export markets.