Southamptons Maritime Collections

Southampton’s Maritime Collections

Southampton is a city with a long, rich and internationally important maritime heritage. Its collections, particularly fine for the 19th and 20th centuries, document and interpret that past through :-

  • The extensive archive of crew lists, merchant seamen register, shipping line records and Isherwood ships drawings
  • The maritime object collection of ship models, engineering drawings and uniforms
  • The library resource of Lloyds Registers from 1764 and Board of Trade enquires into wrecks from 1876
  • The merchant shipping industry supported a great many local trades and suppliers who also appear in the collections.

Southampton is world renowned for its passenger traffic and in particular the Titanic. The Titanic collection is currently on display in the Maritime Museum and will feature in a new exhibition in a series of galleries in the Sea City Museum scheduled to open April 2012

Maritime Collections

The maritime collection contains comprehensive information on all aspects of merchant shipping and some information on naval history. It is particularly strong on the history of ships and shipping lines. The collection of marine registers is one of the best on open access in the UK. It includes almost complete runs of Lloyd's Registers, Mercantile Navy Lists and Board of Trade Enquiries into Wrecks.

Sources for the history of ships and shipping lines

Discover the history of individual ships and shipping lines using our excellent collection of maritime registers. These include:

  • Lloyd's Register of Shipping. 1764 to date.
    Lloyd's Registers typically detail the builder, owner and master of the ships, with added information on date of building, dimensions and power source.
  • Mercantile Navy Lists. 1857 - 1976
    This source contains similar information to Lloyd's Register, but only covers British ships. Importantly, it includes ships of fewer than 100 tons, which are usually excluded from Lloyd's.
  • Board of Trade Enquiries into Wrecks. 1876 - 1972
    These volumes contain reports of enquiries into British ship wrecks in a given year.
  • Other registers include Talbot Booth's Merchant Ships, and its successor Jane's Merchant Ships and Lloyd's Register of Yachts.

There are many books on individual ships and even more on merchant shipping lines, particularly those companies with a local connection. You can watch videos about famous liners and shipping lines and view thousands of illustrations of ships and Southampton Docks.


Contact Details
View Our Website City Archives Southampton     City Archives Southampton
send an email to City Archives Southampton     City Archives Southampton
Contact Website City Archives Southampton     023 8083 3007 Facsimile: 023 8021 2048
Contact Website City Archives Southampton     Southampton City Heritage Services
Collections Management Centre
31 City Industrial Park, Southern Road
Southampton, SO15 1HG.