By supporting the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW
The grant, entitled Making the Link will see the Royal Commission link shipwreck records from the National Monuments Records of Wales (NMRW) to individual ship records contained within the Lloyd’s Register Casualty Returns, Lloyd’s Register of Ships, and the Ship Plans and Survey Reports Collection.
The Royal Commission is a statutory body for maritime development in Welsh waters ensuring that these new links are being made available to the developers and planners who rely upon their data. Publicity for the project has included a series talks at public events, bilingual blogs, social media posts and an educational resource made available through People’s Collection Wales.
The project is drawing attention to the digital resources held by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation to a new demographic in Wales and beyond. This enhanced online presence and links combined are helping to make the research resources globally accessible to a new audience, increasing the impact for both organisations. 512 wreck sites have been linked directly to the Lloyd’s Register Casualty Returns, 124 of which have been identified and added to the NMRW database based on the evidence provided by this resource.
An increased depth of understanding can be experienced through direct access to the original sources for much of the shipwreck data. A raised awareness and engagement of how much our knowledge about wrecks derives from documentary sources. A new audience in Wales has been made aware of these sources, aided by the bilingual interface of the NMRW. The role of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation as the repository for this information is increased by working in collaboration with a national heritage body that also has the remit to provide planning advice for maritime developments.
Linking records to HEC resources is now a standard procedure of the NMRW website enhancement workflow, leading to further connections being added as new resources are made available online. The NMRW Maritime Officer handles maritime planning responses proactively utilising the newly linked resources. Making the Link has also been referred to in meetings between NMRW and external partners to facilitate new funding for the organisation.
All relevant Welsh shipwrecks have now been linked to their Lloyd’s Register Casualty Returns entry and any revision of future shipwreck records will be connected to the growing HEC digital resources (Find out more on Coflein). In addition, the records have been enhanced with links to historic newspaper articles which provide further information about the location of certain wrecks and details about connected events. Welsh audiences have been made aware of the improved resources aided by the bilingual interface of the NMRW. The utilisation of the Welsh language goes beyond the website, with social media posts and talks delivered bilingually. Information retrieved through the addition of HEC resources has been included in maritime site data enhancement workflows and is being used to help inform maritime planning enquiries. The NMRW website as an average of 50,000 visitors monthly.
The online exhibition Enhancing Welsh Shipwrecks Records was published on the HEC website and linked to the NMRW resources. Four widely publicised webinars have been delivered at the National Eisteddfod, the Royal Commission lecture series and as a part of the HEC webinar series
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic several scheduled activities have had to be adapted to an online audience, however the results have been very positive. The digitised material has reached a larger and more geographically disparate audience than a traditional in-person access would have granted.
Read the guest blog written by Dr. Adam N. Coward to find out more details.
Above: Page of the Daily Mirror reporting the wreck of the SS Samtampa
Banner image: Shipwreck of the Helvetia – credit: Simon Ingram Flickr
Check out our Archaeology Resources page for links to similar resources.