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Merchant Shipping: Logs

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 LOG/C
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Merchant Shipping: Logs
Date(s): 1605-1856
Level of description: Subfonds
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Extent: 8ft: 244cm
Name of creator(s):


Administrative/Biographical history:

Merchant Shipping: Logs - East India Company


Scope and content/abstract:

Ships' logs from Merchant Shipping. There are some examples of logs kept by commanders, but the majority for which the keeper can be established are by other officers or by midshipmen; there are also five kept by pursers and two by passengers. The format of the logs varies but many from the late-eighteenth century are written on a standard printed form incorporating the arms of the Company. A few are illustrated, notably that of the DUTTON, 1791, kept by Captain James Hamilton, which has daily coloured sketches of the ship showing the set of the sails. Many include lists of the ship's company, passengers and troops. The earliest volume contains copies of logs of several ships between 1659 and 1687 and bears the inscription 'John Ouldham His Book 1697/8'. Another early example is the log of the UPTON GALLEY, 1701 to 1703, to Bengal and back, kept by her commander, John Camell. In some cases a series of logs covers the career of an officer from midshipman to chief officer or commander such as that kept by Henry Wise (fl 1819-1833) in seven volumes on the CASTLE HUNTLEY, from 1819 to 1829, and in the ASTELL, 1830 to 1831, and EDINBURGH, 1832 to 1833, during which time he rose from midshipman to chief officer; and six volumes kept by Searles Wood (fl 1783-1808) between 1783 and 1785 and 1791 and 1802 on various ships, rising from fourth mate to commander.

The latest log is that of the EARL BALCARRES, 1835 to 1837, by the purser, Richard Binks, which includes copies of estimates for rigging, sails, painting and plumbing and stores, together with dimensions and deck plans. In this section there are also five volumes relating to the Bombay Marine and Indian Navy including the log of the SCORPION, a Bombay Marine snow, 1793 to 1794, kept by Captain William Selby which includes a letter and a memorial relating to the capture of the SCORPION by the French in 1794; and two volumes kept by William H Carpendale, midshipman, on various ships of the Indian Navy between 1846 and 1851.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

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 Information

Archival history:

The ships' logs handed in to the East India Company between 1605 and 1856 are in the 'Marine Records' section of the India Office Library. (A list of these was published in London in 1896.) The seventy logs in the Museum's collection are personal copies which remained the property of the writers. Most of the eighteenth-century logs in the Museum have counterparts in the India Office Library but there are some, particularly in the early nineteenth century, which have not, such as the log of the DAVID SCOTT, 1802 to 1803, kept by Robert Scott (fl 1790-1834).

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 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:

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