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The Centre's unique ship plan and survey report collection holds a wealth of information concerning vessels classed by Lloyd's Register. With archived documents dating back to the 1830s, the collection offers an insight into the design, construction and servicing of ships throughout their career. From handwritten correspondence to telegrams, sketches and midship sections, the plan and survey report collection is a useful resource for maritime historians, naval architects, ancestry researchers, linguists and more!
Please note, the Centre's digitisation activities are ongoing and therefore some ships/documents from the collection may not yet be available.
We are offering Small Research Grants of up to £15,000 to make use of our digital collections. Find out more here.
Find out more about some of the fascinating finds from the collection by reading our blogs.
> You can browse by popular ship types below.
Characteristically large strong built vessels, often luxurious, these liners are designed to convey passengers, and sometimes cargoes across seas and oceans. These ships operate on a fixed ‘line’ of scheduled ports with provisions and stores for long voyages on the open ocean.
Cargo ships, referred to sometimes as freighters, cargo vessels or merchant ships are vessels of all size, tonnage, rig and material that convey cargoes and goods between ports. These vessels can be engaged as cargo liners, with scheduled ports of call, or in the tramp trade, where they are engaged by charter.
Vessels specifically designed or converted for the storage and transportation of liquids and gas, usually in bulk. Tankers vary in size and capacity, some engaged in regular coastal trade, and others for large scale ocean-going transit.
Ferries are merchant vessels of varying size, tonnage, rig and capacity engaged in the conveyance of passengers and goods across bodies of water. These vessels typically offer a regular service and generally operate on short routes.
Ships designed or altered to specifically convey perishable commodities like meat, fish, fruit or vegetables. Dating from the 1880s onwards these vessels, of differing size, tonnage, material and rig provide a temperature controlled environment in transit, and are typically, but not always, engaged in long haul ocean travel.
All-purpose cargo carriers that operate along the coastline at ports of the same country or land mass. The size, tonnage, rig and cargo trade of the coasters differs from vessel to vessel, though they are largely shallow hulled for the purposes of manoeuvrability close to the shore.