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Lloyd's Captain Register for Robert Falcon Scott

Captain register for Robert Falcon Scott, ref: CLC/B/148/019/MS18567/070

​The Lloyd's of London Captain's registers index

Sally Bevan

Volunteers Week 2014 gave us the perfect opportunity to mark the end of what must be our longest running volunteer project – the indexing of the Lloyd’s of London Captains Registers, 1869-1911.

The event at LMA saw the coming together of volunteers and staff who had worked on the project from its inception in 1992. We were also pleased to have representatives from Lloyd’s of London and the City of London Corporation come along to celebrate this impressive piece of work.

The Lloyd’s of London Captains Registers give details of the careers of captains and/or mates, on vessels whose voyage details were transmitted to Lloyd's of London, of merchant sea captains who held British or British colonial master's certificates. These are very popular records particularly with family and mercantile naval historians worldwide, as they provide a considerable amount of information about individual captains and their careers. 

In 1992 a project was begun to index the registers covering the period 1869-1911 (reference CLC/B/148/B/019/MS18567). This was in order to reduce wear and tear on the original volumes, as a search of the period requires you to order six volumes from the store. These volumes are exceedingly large and heavy, and as a result are particularly vulnerable. Lloyd’s have always been committed to making this information available to the public and funded a large project to repair and conserve the registers from 1994 onwards.

The project started at Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section with information officers working on the registers when they had finished their enquiries for the day and in between helping members of the public on the enquiry desk. As we became ever busier, and as we realised the scale of the task, it was decided that volunteer assistance was essential, so the project became a mixed staff and volunteer endeavour. When we moved to LMA, it became an entirely volunteer project and without their commitment and help the project would not have been possible.

The indexes contain 68,824 individual captains’ details giving the captains name, followed by date and place of birth. The certificate number, and its place and date of award, if known, are listed, with a note of changes in the number and the register in which this first occurs. Not all this information is found in every volume: in some entries a captain may be known only by his initials, or his birthplace may be listed in a partial form. If information of this kind, such as date of birth, is not given in the indexes, it is not to be found in the original.

The index entries are available on our catalogue, under the new Indexes tab on LMA OPAC. In the next two years we hope to be able to integrate the individual index entries with the catalogue entry for the volume/s in which the captain appears.

Further information

Readers who are able to visit can consult the registers in the Archive Study Area; those who are unable are guided to our copying service where they can commission scans of the captains in whom they are interested.

19 June 2014
Last Modified:
29 November 2019