Exclusive surveyors were salaried officers who undertook all surveys and other work on behalf of LR, including surveys of ships under construction. They were ‘altogether the Servants of the Society, and are not permitted to engage in any other business or employment whatsoever’ [the Society being Lloyd’s Register]. Non-exclusive surveyors were permitted to receive payment for other work as long as it was not contradictory to the work of the Society. They were paid a smaller salary plus a percentage of fees from the surveys they performed, reflecting their appointment for less busy ports. Their numbers gradually declined as LR appointed more exclusive surveyors to cope with a growing volume of work.
Below are extracts from the Lists of Surveyors appearing in the Lloyd’s Register of Ships from 1834 until 1972. The PDFs are OCR searchable and bookmarked by year.
The first List of Surveyors, published in 1834 contains the names of 63 surveyors made up of 13 exclusive surveyors and 50 non-exclusive surveyors all based at UK ports from Aberdeen to Jersey, Falmouth and Waterford. By 1914, the Society employed 360 surveyors, a figure which rose during the First World War to 513. This fell to little more than 400 in the depressed days of the 1930s so that in 1934, there were 196 surveyors in Great Britain and Ireland, plus 211 surveyors based in ports all around the world. From these ports the surveyors often covered vast areas. James Fowler, the surveyor appointed to Vancouver B.C. in 1901, was responsible for a district that included Victoria, Vancouver Island, and all ports in British Colombia - a coastline of almost 16,000 miles.
The increased number of offices shows the rapid expansion of Lloyd’s Register in response to demand for its classification services as the British Merchant Marine and the fleets of other nations thrived on a global stage. The period also covers the transition from sail to steam and the Lists of Surveyors are a valuable resource in showing how the new technologies spread. With bigger and more complex ships being built than ever before, the first engineer surveyor was appointed by LR in 1874. Within ten years such men accounted for a more than a third of technical staff, with an increasing number based overseas. By mid-century, their scope ranged beyond the different propelling systems in use to cover all kinds of machinery having a marine application such as electricity and refrigeration as well as aircraft surveyors and inspectors of forgings.
The Lists of Surveyors also contain office closures that hint at the challenges of providing classification services during two World Wars and throughout other times of political turmoil. Another aspect evident amongst their pages is that of geographical renaming - something to bear in mind when consulting them as a source.
Changes in staff and office closures can be seen by striking through of entries with additional information being stamped in place. The entry above is extracted from the 1939-40 List of Surveyors.
Published in the Register Book from 1834 until 1972 as 'Lists of Surveyors', after this time they were published as separate 'Lists of Offices' from 1973 until 1995. These are supplemented by other sources in our Heritage & Education Centre archive collection such as General Committee minutes, Staff Bibles, Instructions to Exclusive Surveyors, and Instructions to Non-Exclusive Surveyors, and the Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Ships. To view the aforementioned resources, visit the Heritage & Education Centre in person.
Find out more about using this fascinating resource by reading Louise Sanger’s favourite thing blog.