Online Exhibitions & Stories

Barbara Jones

Rewriting Women into Maritime History
Curator of Maritime History & Heritage

Barbara Jones

Location: Bradwell-On-Sea, Essex, England

A Custodian of Maritime History

As Lloyd's Register’s (LR) Curator of Maritime History & Heritage, Barbara Jones has carved a path as a doyenne of the shipping’s past riches. From her first steps into LR’s magnificent Collcutt building, Barbara was spellbound by its architectural splendour and the enchanting works of art that adorned its halls. The stained glass, painted ceilings, and intricate friezes spoke volumes about the legacy and grandeur of LR.

In 1977, her journey within LR began, as she joined the Shipping Information Services department. Her role involved editing essential books, including the renowned Register Book, a vital publication known as the Lloyd's Register of Ships, which remains influential to this day. As Barbara delved deeper into her work, she discovered a passion for LR’s history and maritime history as a whole. She saw that the knowledge of LR's history was fading, and she made it her mission to preserve and uncover its forgotten tales. 

"Barbara became a relentless gatherer of information, a seeker of hidden stories, and a passionate storyteller eager to share the remarkable history of LR."
Carly Fields


Barbara's dedication and expertise extended beyond the boundaries of her daily responsibilities. She played a pivotal role in the publication of LR’s 250th anniversary book, a remarkable tribute to the enduring past of the society. Her efforts also contributed to the creation of a comprehensive book on the history of maritime science and technology, further cementing her place as a custodian of knowledge within the organisation. 


In 2012, the establishment of the Lloyd's Register Foundation brought winds of change. Barbara's department found a new home within the Foundation, embracing a profound shift toward heritage and education. This pivotal moment opened doors to new possibilities, empowering the team to seek grants that would fuel educational initiatives and propel the preservation of maritime history.

With great foresight, Barbara recognised the immense value of LR's ship plans and survey reports, a treasure trove of knowledge spanning from 1834 to the 1970s. While the National Maritime Museum had held these invaluable documents for decades, Barbara championed their retention within LR, envisioning a revolutionary digitisation endeavour that would unleash their potential for the public good.

Thus, the journey of Project Undaunted commenced—a visionary undertaking to digitise, catalogue, and generously share LR's ship plans and survey reports through a comprehensive website. The pilot project, aptly named First & Famous, served as a springboard, igniting a flame of discovery. Undeterred by the vastness of the task, Barbara and her team embarked on an odyssey of preservation and accessibility, turning the pages of history into pixels of inspiration.

Today, the Project Undaunted website stands as a beacon of accessibility and enlightenment. Tens of thousands of eager minds from diverse backgrounds are drawn to its virtual halls each month. From the comfort of their homes, they embark on a transformative journey, discovering the rich seams of LR's history, one digital scan at a time.



As Barbara prepares to sail into the sunset of retirement, her impact and legacy resonate like the eternal echoes of the sea. She leaves behind an indelible mark, a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and unwavering belief. Her tenacious commitment to preserving LR's heritage and making it accessible to all serves as a shining example, igniting the flames of curiosity and inspiring future generations to embark on their own remarkable journeys of discovery.

Barbara Jones, the Curator of Maritime History & Heritage, will forever remain an inspirational figure—a guardian of LR's past and a visionary for the future. Her legacy echoes through the halls of LR, reminding us that the treasures of history deserve not to be forgotten, but to be cherished, celebrated, and shared with the world.


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Written by Carly Fields

© Emilie Sandy Photography, 2023