AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Lloyd's Register of Shipping

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 LLY
Held at: National Maritime Museum
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Lloyd's Register of Shipping
Date(s): [1833-1945]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1,000ft: 304m
Name of creator(s): Lloyd's


Administrative/Biographical history:

As early as 1688 information of interest to all persons connected with shipping had been available from Mr Edward Lloyd of Lloyd's Coffee House in London. From September 1696 to February 1697 Lloyd published a small shipping and commercial chronicle called Lloyd's News. Gradually Lloyd's Coffee House became the centre for people interested in shipping especially underwriters. The first issue of Lloyd's List appeared in 1734. In 1760 the Society for the Registry of Shipping was founded. Copies of the register from 1764 have survived and after 1775 the register, known as the Green Hook or Underwriters Register, was published annually. By 1775 the classification of vessels was standardized. Roman capitals were used for the classification of the hull and numbers were used for the classification of the equipment. This was the first appearance of the 'A 1', the highest classification given to a vessel by Lloyd's. A new method of classification, introduced in 1797, gave a higher classification to London-built vessels and caused much dissatisfaction among shipowners. In 1799 a rival book, called The New Registry Book of Shipping was published by a Society of Merchants, Shipowners and Underwriters instituted in 1797. This book, also published annually, became known as the 'Red Book' or 'Shipowners Register'. The failure of either register, however, to gain sufficient support through subscription led to their amalgamation in 1834 and the foundation of 'Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping'. Rules for the classification of vessels and the names of recognized surveyors were printed in the register. Special rules for the classification of iron ships were introduced in 1855. By the middle of the nineteenth century provision had been made for the appointment of surveyors at foreign ports. The North American ports were the first to be given a full-time surveyor: Quebec in 1852; Saint John, New Brunswick in 1853 and Prince Edward Island and Miramichi, New Brunswick, in 1856. In the same year a surveyor was appointed at Antwerp for Holland and Belgium. In 1869 Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Veerdam were included and Italian, French, German, Danish and Australian ports were added from 1871. When the Register celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1884 the number of surveyors had risen to sixty-six and was increasing steadily. Today it is still a world-wide organization with the majority of its surveyors abroad.


Scope and content/abstract:

Survey reports and plans of ships surveyed by Lloyd's, [1833-1945], including the survey reports made between ca.1833 and 1900 at the British home ports and those made before 1900 at foreign ports where a Lloyd's surveyor was employed. These are arranged by port of survey. Plans begin to appear in c 1870 and may include midship sections, profile and boiler and engine arrangements. Later deposits include the survey reports and wreck reports of vessels lost between 1901 and ca.1945. These reports include the first survey reports, subsequent reports which covered important changes and alterations together with any plans, and a final report where the vessel was lost or declassified. Many of the vessels included in this section were lost during the Second World War. A further quantity of records, of vessels lost or declassified between c 1945 and c 1964 is in the process of being transferred from Lloyd's Register of Shipping. The information given in the reports includes the name of the vessel, when, where and by whom built; dimensions, tonnage, date and place of survey and date and place of registry. Details of the type and dimensions of the timbers, fastenings, masts, yards, sails, rigging, anchors, cables, fittings, etc are also given. For an iron or steel vessel, details are included on the specifications and names of the manufacturer of the frames and plating and for a steam vessel there are separate survey reports for the engines, boilers and machinery giving a description and specifications and the name of the manufacturer. Finally there are general remarks including comments on the quality of the material and workmanship and an opinion as to the class to which the vessel should be assigned.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The reports were sent to London and arranged under the name of the port where the survey was carried out. After 1901 the system of filing reports and instead of being kept under the name of the port where the vessel was first surveyed, were filed under the name of the vessel when she was lost or was no longer classed by Lloyd's. An index of vessels' names, arranged alphabetically, provides the guide to tracing the reports made on each vessel through the various ports where she was surveyed.

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:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were deposited on loan in several instalments between 1950 and 1965.

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:

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"