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National Maritime Museum

General Records and Descriptions


Reference code(s): GB 0064 REC

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: General Records and Descriptions

Date(s): 1582-[1942]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 4 1/12ft :137cm

Name of creator(s): Various


Administrative/Biographical history:


Scope and content/abstract:

This class contains thirty-one volumes, bound collections of documents and scrapbooks relating to specific events or collections of documents of a general nature. Among those relating to specific events the earliest is a volume of 1582 which contains intelligence of Spain and Portugal, arranged in tabular fashion by Wyllyam Lyllestone. There are also a volume of documents relating to the attack on Martinique and the capture of Guadeloupe, 1758 to 1759; drafts of sections of the Narrative of the second voyage, 1772 to 1775, of Captain Cook (1728-1779) in Cook's hand; a volume of documents relating to a case of 1783 in the Court of King's bench involving the ship ZONG in which 132 negro slaves died; a list of English prisoners of war at Longwy in 1812; a volume of press cuttings relating to the loss of the P and O steamer TASMANIA in 1887 and to the ensuing Board of Trade enquiry. Among the volumes of a general nature is one of 172 naval documents, 1583 to 1778, fourteen of which date from the sixteenth century, including a comparison of the expenses of the Navy, 1579 to 1584; papers relating to abuses in the Navy, 1608 to 1618; a survey of the King's ships, 1633; and papers relating to the debts and condition of the Navy, 1660 to 1668. Another, bearing the stamp of John Wilson Croker (1780-1857), contains 107 seventeenth century copies of documents from the reign of Edward III to 1639, the majority being late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It includes instructions to Martin Frobisher (1535?-1594) for his voyage to the 'North West Parts', 1578; instructions to Sir John Hawkins (1532-1595) for a voyage to the Spanish coast, c 1590; a list of the fleet engaged against the Spanish Armada, 1588; a declaration of abuses committed in the provisions of cordage and masts, 1635; and a table showing arrears of ship money, 1635. A third volume contains one hundred documents from c 1600 to 1715; they are mainly reports dealing with such subjects as victualling, manning, discipline and health and include one concerning the abuses of seamen, c 1602; a discourse on the 'former and present state' of the Navy by Sir Robert Slingsby (1611-1661), Comptroller of the Navy, 1661; a table showing the monthly wages of officers, seamen, and dockyard workers, 1689; an appointment of four Commissioners for the Sick and Wounded, 1689; proposals for more effective treatment of sick and wounded seamen on shore, 1689, by Dr Richard Lower (1631-1691); an essay by Richard Gibson, clerk in the Navy Office (fl 1667-1694) giving reasons for the continuance of victuralling the Navy by commission and not by contractor, 1694; and a summary of the accounts of Greenwich Hospital, 1696 to 1703, by John Evelyn (1620-1706). There is a further volume of copies of treaties and trade agreements, 1640 to 1742, including the marriage treaty of Charles II with Portugal, 1671. There is one volume containing general documents relating to Germany in the Second World War: it includes orders concerning thecapture of enemy vessels and their cargoes, 18 August 1939, signed by Hitler and other German leaders; the log of the submarine U47, September to October 1939 containing a detailed account of the attack on the ROYAL OAK, together with other documents relating to U-boat activity, 1939 to 1942; and instructions for the preparation of the invasion of England, signed by Hitler, 16 July 1940.


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:



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 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 workers | Manual workers | Workers | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Naval affairs | Military affairs | Military science | Social sciences
Naval battles | Battles
Naval history | History
Naval operations | Military operations | Military engineering
Ship money | Taxation | Fiscal policy | Finance
Shipwrecks | Seaborne disasters | Accidents | Disasters
Slavery | Social structure
World War Two (1939-1945) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)
Manmade disasters

Personal names
Cook | James | 1728-1779 | Captain RN | Explorer
Croker | John Wilson | 1780-1857 | politician and essayist
Edward III | 1312-1377 | King of England
Evelyn | John | 1620-1706 | diarist, traveller, numismatist, antiquary and gardener
Frobisher | Sir | Martin | 1535-1594 | Knight | navigator
Hawkins | Sir | John | 1532-1595 | Knight | Naval commander
Lower | Richard | 1631-1691 | physician and physiologist
Slingsby | Sir | Robert | 1611-1661 | Knight | Comptroller of the Navy

Corporate names
Board of Trade
Greenwich Hospital
Royal Navy

Guadeloupe | Caribbean
Martinique | Caribbean
Portugal | Western Europe | Europe
Spain | Western Europe | Europe