March 2018

Friday, March 30 2018

March 2018

This is a text only version of the newsletter. To view the newsletter online, click here .

This month's edition of the Heritage & Education Centre (HEC) newsletter includes information on our new workshops and how to take part, an update on Project Undaunted and the mystery surrounding a missing ship. 

First and Famous 

The 'First and Famous' project forms part of Project Undaunted and is a collection of ships classed by LR in the 19th and 20th centuries that are significant in terms of design, technological advances, historic importance, or just ships everyone has heard of that we've classed. The documents for these ships had been prioritised for digitisation and will soon be available to view! 

To celebrate this achievement, the HEC team have been researching and writing about their favourite 'First and Famous' ships. One of our Archive and Collections Assistants Wayne Fortune has written the first blog about the loss of the Waratah, one of the most famous and enduring mysteries of the sea. To learn more about the Waratah, follow the link to our website.  

Check out our Twitter and Facebook pages for future posts about these remarkable ships. 

The full catalogue of First and Famous digitised documents will be made available when the new website launches which will be announced on our social media pages! 


Want to learn more about our archives and how to use them? Or want to brush up on your history research skills?

We will be running a series of free hands on workshops in April and May to give you the skills and knowledge you need to use our library and archive. This forms part of a new programme of events to get more people engaged with our archive and collections and help fulfil our mission to advance education for the benefit of society. 

There will be four sessions in total lasting for an hour followed by a tour of the building and will cover different themes and skills. These include: 

1. How to use the Lloyd's Register of Ships - 23 April 2018 

2. How to research your Lloyd's Register family- 24 April 2018 

3. How to use survey reports and ship plans- 2 May 2018 

4. A question and answer session giving you the opportunity to ask us about our collections - 4 May 2018 

For more information and to book yourself onto a workshop, follow the links above.

Undaunted Update 

As March marches on the Project Undaunted team have been all over the world cataloguing far flung ports in sunnier climes and snowier terrains. This month we have completed the records for Demerara, Dunedin, Copenhagen, Nagasaki, Nantes, Kobe, Leghorn [Livorno], Malta and Bergen.    

Max found an interesting entry for the iron sailing ship T. F. Oakes, otherwise known as the ‘Hell Ship’ for her disastrous first voyage from Hong Kong to New York. Running into high winds and rough seas she deviated from her course and drifted two thousand miles. 259 days later, under the command of the Captain’s wife, with most of the crew dead, starving or suffering from scurvy, T. F. Oakes was taken in tow by a passing British tanker and towed to New York.

Interesting Enquiries 

During the course of our work we are asked about some very curious stories and ships. 

One such story is that of the Ferret, a steamer built in 1871 by J & G Thomson, Glasgow. Ferret was originally used as a ferry on the River Clyde and as she was not classed by Lloyd’s Register (LR) she did not appear in the Register of Ships until 1874-75, by which time LR was trying to include all ships over 100 tons, irrespective of class, in the Register. By that time she was owned by the Dingwall & Skye Railway Co and would subsequently become owned by the Highland Railway Co. By 1880, the ship was undergoing work at the yard of Steel & Co., Greenock. During this time a number of gentlemen, led by James Henderson, approached her owner, Highland Railway, with a view to chartering the vessel for a Mediterranean cruise, stating that Henderson’s wife was unwell and the cruise would benefit her. The documentation for the charter complete, the gang started to provision the vessel, which included wine to the value of £500, and also took on a new crew. After the ship had sailed it would become obvious that the money and funds used were worthless.   

Ferret had sailed for Cardiff to take on coal and also Henderson’s wife. She then left, bound for the Straits of Gibraltar. Passing through the Straits, those on board ensured that they were both seen by the signal station and that their ‘All Well’ signal was acknowledged. Later, during the night the vessel, with lights extinguished, doubled back through the Straits, in order for it to appear that he vessel had been lost in the Mediterranean with all hands. This however, was not the end of her story. 

To learn more about the Ferret, follow the link to Anne's blog.  

If you would like help researching a ship or for any other historical enquiries, visit our website

71 Fenchurch Street Visits 

Over the coming month, we have students from Valenciaport and the University of Barcelona visiting plus two groups of City of London tour guides.  

Every year the Heritage and Education Centre host a number of visits from universities as well as research groups and other organisations.  

By promoting the organisation to a wider audience, we uphold the value of our past, and help fulfil our mission to advance education for the benefit of society.   

To find out more about the Centre's outreach to universities, visit the advancing public education webpage.

Reference Library Easter Closure 

As the Centre is close during Easter, please note that 71 Fenchurch Street's reference library will be closed from Friday 30th March until Monday 2nd April. 

For more information about the centre's opening times and how to get in touch we us, check out our website.

Happy Easter!

Did You Know?

Frederick Cocks joined LR as a Ship Surveyor in 1919. Prior to joining LR, Freddy had be awarded the Lloyd's Register Scholarship, studying at Armstrong College and graduating in 1912.

During the First World War, Freddy was a member of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors. He was aboard the submarine HMS K13 when it sank in the Gareloch in January 1917. The HMS K13 was a steam propelled K class submarine. Designed in 1913, they were built to be large, fast vessels with the speed and endurance to operate with the main fleet in battle. However, this was not the case and they ended up with the affectionate nickname 'Kalamity-class' because they were prone to sinking, through accident. When K13 started to dive, water filled her engine room. A maid in a local hotel spotted two bodies floating on the water but her concerns were ignored. It was only when the K13 failed to surface that the E50 launched a rescue mission with the Gossamer being the first rescue vessel. However, even that proved to be disastrous, as the divers either had no suit or a damaged one. Nevertheless, 57 hours after the accident, the last survivor was rescued. 32 died and 48 were rescued.

Thankfully this did not put Freddy off of having a long career as a ship surveyor. Starting his career in Newcastle, Freddy was subsequently stationed in Russia, Germany (where he was able to escape before the war), California and London. In 1946 he became Principal Surveyor and, after a long and rather exciting career, retired in 1956.