Lloyd’s Register and Maritime History

This part of our website is devoted to all things maritime, especially in relation to Lloyd’s Register and safety at sea. See below for stories on Which Lloyd’s is that?, The Cospatrick Disaster, Donkey Engines, The Sinking of the Royal George, Salvaging the Royal George, Here Be Monsters, Unlikely Heroes (seabirds!), and Guano: A Perilous Cargo, with more to come in due course.



Take a look as well at our website pages for our books Jack Tar, Trafalgar, Gibraltar and The War for All the Oceans, as well as the many stories in our newsletters (examples include ‘A Broken Horse’ in newsletter 66, ‘HMS Britannia’ in newsletter 48 and ‘Selsey Scene’ in newsletter 43).


Which Lloyd’s is that?

It can be confusing to have so many names containing the word ‘Lloyd’s’, and in our newsletter 67 we described the main ones – Lloyd’s Coffee House, Lloyd’s of London, Lloyd’s News, Lloyd’s List, Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund, Lloyd’s Register, Lloyd’s Register of Ships and Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre. The newsletter piece has now been turned into a blog feature on the Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre website. It’s worth checking out for the lovely images alone: hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/blogs/which-lloyds-is-that-exploring-the-many-versions-of-lloyds


We have been writing a variety of stories for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre website, details of which are given below. The images are often arranged in a sideways sequence, like an old-fashioned 35mm carousel projector display, so you need to click on the arrows to view them all. Keep checking their website for further stories (hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories).



The Cospatrick Disaster

The Cospatrick was a three-masted ‘Blackwall frigate’ and in November 1874 caught fire and sank in the Atlantic Ocean. Over 400 people lost their lives, mostly emigrants bound for a new life in New Zealand. The story is here: hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories/the-cospatrick-disaster


Donkey Engines

The curiously named ‘donkey engines’ (and associated ‘donkey boilers’) often occur in the context of shipping, traction engines and the logging industry. We have looked at their use in shipping, why they had such a strange name and the dangers of explosions. The story is told here: hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories/the-fascinating-history-and-hazards-of-donkey-engines-and-boilers


The Sinking of the Royal George

The 100-gun warship Royal George, the pride of the Royal Navy, sank at Spithead, close to Portsmouth, on 29th August 1782. This was Britain’s worst shipwreck until the Titanic, and the shocking story is told here: hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories/the-sinking-of-the-royal-george


Salvaging the Royal George

The wreck of the Royal George became a hazard in the busy shipping lane and anchorage of Spithead, and over the decades it was the scene of salvage and diving innovation, with diving bells, early diving helmets, explosions and souvenirs. It forms a summary of the development of diving and underwater technology and can be seen here: hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories/the-salvage-of-the-royal-george-at-spithead


Here Be Monsters

Pictures of sea monsters feature on many early maps of coastal areas, seas and oceans. This is the story behind those pictures the superstitions, the folklore beliefs and the terror of sinister creatures that mariners and explorers encountered. The story is told here: https://hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories/here-be-monsters-unveiling-the-terrifying-tales-of-sea-monsters-in-history


Unlikely Heroes

The sight and sound of seabirds have always alerted mariners approaching land, but what is surprising is the link between seabirds, safety, shipwrecks, ladies’ hats, shooting and the 1869 Act for the Preservation of Sea Birds.The story is told here: https://hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories/unlikely-heroes-of-the-sea-seabirds-crucial-role-in-maritime-safety



Guano: A Perilous Cargo

From the 1840s guano (bird manure) was highly prized for agriculture, especially that from Peru, but it was a perilous cargo for wooden sailing ships, causing fires, explosions, shipwrecks, a sickly odour, corrosion and timber decay, as well as spoiling other cargoes and harming the health of crews.The story is told here: https://hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/stories/guano-the-perilous-cargo-of-flammable-and-noxious-fertiliser





More stories are in progress!