Inside Lloyd's Register
Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping was a massive shipping catalog run by a large number of "surveyors" who sought to provide a comprehensive list of British and foreign ships on the waters as well as their important characteristics, such as date built, current captain, or destination. So how did it begin? Around the early 1700s, Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse became a meeting place for investors interested in maritime insurance. Wealthy men would meet in the shop and agree to insure portions of ships and cargoes. However, prior to making such an investment, the investors wanted to be able to have a good idea of the status of the ship they were looking at. Thus, an effort was undertaken to compile information on the condition of ships. This database underwent a long evolution, beginning in 1734 as a simple collection called Lloyd’s List, and slowly developing from there. In 1834 the compilation was dubbed Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping and included not only the conditions of ships but also the processes to be undertaken by surveyors when inspecting ships. Today, Lloyd's has evolved into a multinational corporation working in energy, marine, consulting, research, and many other departments. This catalog was published annually during the years the Clarence was afloat and, using it, we can gain some valuable insight into our ship. Let's take a look! Click the catalog below to begin!
At a quick glance, Lloyd's provides a few valuable details about the Clarence, such as its captains and where it was built. Using this immediately obvious information, we were able to find out a lot about the ship. However, after studying the meaning of the more subtle details, Lloyd's lent us even more valuable information. Let's take a closer look at what all these symbols mean. Mouse over the different elements on the image below to learn more about the Clarence!
Don't worry though, I've got you covered. If you're itching to get your hands on more entries of the Clarence in Lloyd's, feast your eyes below on my compilation of all entries from 1858-1893. Or, if you're looking for the raw material, head on over to the Hathi Trust where they have digitized versions of the originals!
Through Lloyd's, we can view the development of the Clarence over time. In 1876-1877, for example, the Clarence graduated from a ship to a barque, interestingly coinciding with its "dramatic repairs" of '76 and '77. Similarly, we can view the succession of captains of the ship, as well as the ship owners. Lloyd's also lets us observe the years during which the Clarence was transporting indentured laborers and the years it was voyaging to Australia. After taking the time to learn the meaning of its different symbols, a book like Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping can yield a whole boatload of interesting information!
-Matt Schofield, U Penn Class of 2019
Thanks to Mike Cherim for the pop-up on mouseover code!