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National Maritime Museum

Navy Board, Later Admiralty, Ships' Contracts


Reference code(s): GB 0064 ADM/168

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Navy Board, Later Admiralty, Ships' Contracts

Date(s): mid 18th century-[1948]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 100ft: 30m

Name of creator(s): Navy Board


Administrative/Biographical history:

In the eighteenth century the office of the Clerk of the Acts was responsible for drawing up Navy Board contracts, although it was noted in 1786 that it was the duty of the two assistants to the Surveyor of the Navy 'to examine and correct all contracts for building and repairing in the merchant yards'. In 1796 the Secretary's Office continued to draw up the contracts, but in 1803 an Order-in-Council created a Contract Office with two clerks from the Secretary's office. This office continued after the abolition of the Navy Board in 1832. See Bernard Pool, Navy Board contracts 1660-1832 (London, 1966).


Scope and content/abstract:

Navy Board: later Admiralty and ships' contracts, consisting of technical specifications for naval ships built in commercial yards, giving details of dimensions, materials and qualities of the ships to be built under contract. They are similar to the Ships' Specifications (entry no.7, ADM/170), but in addition have a preamble and final section dealing with the dates for the payment of instalments and with delivery. Prices, however, are usually not entered; the evidence to be gained from these documents is, therefore, of a technical rather than a financial nature. Each volume is for a specific vessel but the technical details given can normally be taken as applying to an entire class of ship. The records cover the period from the middle of the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War. Until 1780 the contracts are in manuscript form; from that date printed books were used with blank spaces for the insertion of the details. From the middle of the nineteenth century volumes were printed individually. The Admiralty collection of ships' plans, held in the Draught Room, occasionally includes material similar to that described here, together with occasional letters and memoranda concerned with design or building. (Department of Ships: ADM/168: 152ft: 46m).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were transferred from the Admiralty between 1961 and 1977 and are known by the Public Record Office class, ADM/168.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jul 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Dock companies | Transport companies | Companies | Enterprises
Ships | Vehicles | Transport

Personal names

Corporate names
Navy Board
Royal Navy