History & Policy is a collaborative network based at the Institute of Historical Research and King’s College London, with connections to academic historians all over the UK and the world.
This project will commission professional historians to provide historical context and insight to contemporary safety challenges, in order to deepen understanding of the issues and provoke creative solutions. Working with the materials in the Heritage Education Centre (HEC), historians will produce three “Hindsight reports” within the scope of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s key safety challenges.
Challenges faced by the industry today may have informative precedents. Trained historical analysis of the archive material, backed by wider research and specialised knowledge, can explore, for example, how technological change was successfully incorporated into fleets and infrastructure, and how safety regulation kept pace with change (or did not) and what the lessons are for professionals and policy makers today. A network of relevant historians, policy makers and professionals will help us tailor the reports to the requirements of potential stakeholders, ensuring that they combine academic rigour with practical value, and reflect the concerns of the present to inform the future.
All three reports will be released before May 2023:
Reducing the dangers of dock work in the UK, 1899-1939: how past approaches could prevent future tragedies
Dr Guy Collender (University of Oxford)
Dock workers continue to suffer injuries and die due to workplace accidents, both in highly regulated countries such as the UK and around the world. This report looks at how this problem was tackled in the UK in the early decades of the 20th century. Fatal accidents on the UK docks fell from 115 in 1899 to 69 in 1939. The risks, equipment and safeguards were different – but what were the mechanisms? The report explores how a combination of detailed and disaggregated data collection on accidents, proactive legislation, increasing levels of inspection and collaborative work between dockers and employers contributed to these improvements.
Local knowledge, global change: a study of Lloyd’s Register surveyors 1834-1860
Dr Elin Jones (University of Exeter)
This report explores the social history of Lloyd’s Register surveyors during a period of immense technological change. Focusing on the period 1834 – 1860, Elin charts the conception of the surveyor as an ‘agent of standardisation’ when steam-powered paddle ships, screw-steamers and iron-clad vessels were being developed apace in Britain’s shipyards, and when the concept of the ‘objective surveyor’ was in its infancy. Taken as a whole, the report forms an examination of relationships between corporate governance and local realities during a period of maritime industrialisation.
Download this Hindsight Report here.
H&P supported the HEC team in hosting and mentoring micro-interns from the University of Oxford - setting them the challenge of diving into our digital archives and coming up with content on a subject of interest to them and of relevance to the project, such a as supply chain bottlenecks, maritime decarbonisation or fire at sea. Find out more and read their work here.
Explore further information and work on the project here.