August 2019

Friday, August 30 2019

August 2019

This is a text only version of the newsletter.


One could be forgiven for assuming our August closure was so that we could have a month-long beach holiday! However, we have in fact been tremendously busy with a variety of exciting new developments.

Robotic Book Scanner Installation

The coolest project was the installation of our new Robotic book scanner. It uses vacuum technology to turn as many as 1500 pages an hour. We plan to make all of our scans, beginning with the Lloyd's Register of Ships, freely available online - so watch this space! As a taster, here is a video of the scanner in action.

Laura Boon lecture

We have now published Laura Boon’s lecture on YouTube. Boon is the Lloyd's Register Foundation Public Curator of Contemporary Maritime at the National Maritime Museum. Boon’s lecture examined the potential for green technologies to intervene in a marine industry currently dominated by non-renewable fuel sources. By referencing historic wind powered ships such as the Cutty Sark, Boon illustrates how the marine industry has and should still continuously adapt to technological advances. You can watch the full lecture here.

1851 Trust summer roadshows

From Plymouth and Cardiff, to Leeds, Liverpool and Loughborough, this years’ 1851 Trust summer roadshows have opened another generation of young people’s eyes to exciting new opportunities. Using the inspiration of Sir Ben Ainslie’s British America’s Cup Challenge, INEOS TEAM UK, school students from deprived areas enjoyed hands-on STEM challenges and investigations, researched hull shapes using yacht plans from the HEC archive and designed and their own wind turbines and micro race boats. Each student then took to the water experiencing sailing for themselves and really bringing the science to life. See this short film to find out more about the roadshows.

Our £141,000 grant to the 1851 Trust over three years will allow us to continue to support roadshows and to utilise and further develop their online education platform, STEM Crew. This collaboration will widen international access and use of the HEC collections and give 11-14 year olds from across the UK the opportunity to interact with HEC archive material.

Opening Access to HEC

There are just four months left to apply to our current research call – from which you could get up to £15,000 to use our online and/or physical collections. We want people worldwide to search and interrogate the rich content of the HEC archive and library in new ways. To find out more about this small grants call and how to apply here.

Open House and Heritage Open Day

The Heritage & Education Centre (HEC) are delighted to announce that 71 Fenchurch Street will be a participating in Open House London. On only the 21st of September, the historic Collcutt and modern Rogers buildings will be open to the public. Visitors to both buildings will be able to view exquisite rooms, artwork and treasures. This year's event also offers the public a one-off opportunity to visit our new exhibition, From Coffee to Seaweed: Engineering a safer world since 1760. For further details click here.

Moreover, HEC is taking part in Heritage Open Days! This is England's largest festival of history and culture. We will be opening the doors to our Collcutt building on the 16th and 17th September. You will get to meet Collcutt as he tells you about the inspiration behind the building and try your hand at being a surveyor with our new VR game.

This event is entirely FREE but tickets are required so please click here.

Book of the Month

Our Deputy Manager Louise Sanger has picked a favourite from the library collection to share with you: The Charley-Man : A history of wooden shipbuilding at Quebec, 1763-1893 by Eileen Reid Marcil (Quarry press Inc., 1995)

When Charlotte asked us to do something for World Book day, I simply grabbed the first of my favourites that came to hand – I knew if I browsed the library shelves too much I’d struggle to choose just one of my favourites! What I love about this book is the way that people and coastal society form an integral part of the story. From the very first sentence it notes that the square-rigged sailing industry in Quebec had ‘provided work for several thousand of her artisans and labourers’.

Eileen’s work is thoroughly researched and provides a lively account of an important chapter in British and Canadian maritime and cultural history. Her book also covers a key milestone in Lloyd’s Register’s history, as in 1852 our first exclusive overseas surveyor, Captain Thomas Menzies, was appointed to cover Quebec and the St Lawrence River. She notes that ‘Competent shipbuilders were also always in demand for ship survey work, and no one was better qualified for the job. In his letter of introduction the Lloyd’s [Register] Surveyor, Thomas Menzies, was described as “a highly respectable Ship-builder who has carried on business for many years at Leith.”’ The Montreal and Quebec Boards of Trade had been appealing for a surveyor since 1836, so Menzies’ appointment must have been a relief to them, and he was quickly followed by the appointment of John Tucker to Saint John in 1853.

"The Charley-Man" is a song that workers used when moving heavy timbers in the shipyards of Quebec City. The book covers the timer trade, the shipbuilders, shipyards, shipbuilding business including the workforce, materials and equipment, the ships and the trades. The latter describes the roles of sawyer, ship carpenter, ship joiner, ship carver, shipsmith, glazier and painter, blockmaker, mastmaker, pump maker, ropemaker, sail maker and rigger. Quite a contrast to a quick list of the main people involved in shipbuilding today (mechanical fitters, electricians, welders, fabricators/platers, slingers/riggers, joiners, non-destructive testing engineers, pipefitters, painters, sheet metal workers, ancillaries, caulkers and logistics).

Eileen’s book is beautifully illustrated throughout, cleverly building up and bringing to life a fascinating picture of Quebec and the integral role of shipbuilding to society. With helpful appendices, bibliography and detailed referencing throughout, I thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in 18th and 19th century shipbuilding technology and culture, evolving business histories, or just to those with a general interest in beards and moustaches!