Throughout the History of Madeira, there is scarce information on the construction and maintenance of the numerous ships that frequented the bay of Funchal. Over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, information remains limited to quick repairs in ships in transit docked in Funchal. It is possible that, during the mid nineteenth century, in the estuary of Ribeira de São João, there was a small arsenal to support the maintenance of barges and coal frigates from the Blandy, Bros. & Co., whose employees lived in a small neighbourhood in this area, before they were provisionally relocated to the neighbourhood of Santa Maria and of Corpo Santo, by the end of the nineteenth century, and definitively in 1914. In this neighbourhood, the arsenal of Santiago or of S. Tiago was established, which then became the Madeira Engineering Company, where the most qualified technicians of Madeira from this area were employed. It was deactivated in 1992.
Keywords: barges; bomboto; caulk; shipbuilding; coal frigates.