The Lloyd's Register Foundation Thomas Chapman Scholarship comprises two PhD projects managed by the University of Hull in partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation's Heritage & Education Centre. Retired structural engineer Peter Phillipson is investigating ship design in the mid-19th Century through the lens of Lloyd's Register Survey Reports. History MRes Sam Wright is focusing on safety measures in the distant-water trawl fisheries since 1900. Both projects draw on historic connections between Lloyd’s Register and the port of Hull.
Aligned with the mission of Lloyd’s Register Foundation, the scholarships are focused on safety. The aim of the projects is to enhance knowledge, understanding and public awareness of the risks to life and property presented by work at sea, and to examine how those risks can be managed through behavioural and policy changes.
Enhanced Public Understanding of Risk: the impact events that are central to this project's agenda are specifically designed to meet one of the Foundation's key objects – instilling a better understanding of the risks, incentives and regulations that have formed a critical part of the relationship between human societies and the marine environment over the centuries.
Improved Educational Outcomes: in funding these Doctoral Training Programme, the Foundation will improve knowledge and understanding of the complex interplay between technological, economic, and cultural drivers in the development of maritime activity since the mid-19th Century. This will be achieved through case study research based on the archives held by the Heritage & Education Centre, through the dissemination to scholars and practitioners of the original findings of the two investigations and, ultimately, through the introduction of the results of the research into future teaching modules and decision-making processes.
Undertaking their research during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Thomas Chapman Scholars have faced unprecedented challenges in the courses of their PhDs but have gamely adapted and risen to them.
The two theses are complementary in their subject matter. Peter is researching Lloyd’s Register’s reconstitution in 1834 from the perspective of 19th Century management of quality and risk, considering the broader theme of improvements in merchant shipping safety. It considers Lloyd’s Register in the context of international maritime safety interests, and its character until 1881. This research project explores a time of industrial growth and technological developments that impacted on the safety on board of sea-going vessels. Peter’s findings shed light on the pioneering role of Lloyd’s Register on the global scale application of early concepts of quality and risk management. Studying Lloyd’s Register modern approach to rapidly changing technologies in the 19th Century will draw attention on skills and practices that are still relevant today and will be essential to engineering a safer future.
Sam addresses Lloyd’s Register’s character at the port of Hull over a century, filling in gaps in literature on Lloyd’s Register’s presence at provincial ports and its involvement in trawling. His research has emphasised the role of Lloyd’s Register’s surveyors as a constant technical presence for Hull’s Northern Waters trawler fleet, ensuring seagoing quality and providing a framework for the construction of safer vessels. In addition, risks associated with UK distant-water fishing in the 20th Century have been examined, providing invaluable historical insights for Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s pursuit of improving fishing safety globally, a goal outlined in the 2018 Insight Report.
The students have been engaging with the public in outreach events. Whilst Covid-19 made this difficult, they have been resourceful. Volunteering as tour guides for the British Maritime Commission in Hull’s Old Town, they interacted with more than 200 visitors. Alongside the curation of the online exhibition The Hull Connection, Peter and Sam have engaged closely with the local Hull community through contributions to Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City Project.
Within maritime heritage academia, the scholars have both presented their research at conferences, including Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s Safer World Conference 2019 and the British Maritime Commission’s New Researchers Conference, whilst also organising their own at the Blaydes’ Maritime Centre with the University of Hull. Their research has been notable for addressing questions of the past that would provide insight to contemporary issues and demonstrating the richness of Lloyd's Register Foundation's Heritage & Education Centre as a research resource.
Both theses are scheduled for submission at the end of January 2023. We wish both scholars the very best of luck!