* Adam Matthew Publications. Imaginative publishers of research collections.
News  |  Orders  |  About Us
*   A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z  


Parts 2 & 3: Slavery Collections from the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool


"Of all the shipping records in the United Kingdom, those in Liverpool are the most perfect." RC Jarvies, "Liverpool Statutory Registers of British Merchant Ships," Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire, CV (1953), 107-22.

Until recently the Collector of HM Customs & Excise also acted as Registrar of British Merchant Ships, on behalf of the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen, in all Customs Ports of the British Isles. The series of registers described below contain some that are unique to Liverpool and are complete except for one volume of Plantation Registers between 1773 and 1779. Originally kept in the Liverpool Customs House, these are often called "Customs Registers".

For this microfilm edition we have only covered those registers relevant to the period of the Slave Trade and its aftermath, 1739-1855.

Appointments of officers for declarations of ownership, 1899-1916 and 1943-1965.
C/EX/L/1: 3 volumes; Not covered in this edition.

Wool Act Register
This contains the text of owner's declarations, made under the Act 12 George II (1739) cap. 21, which was particularly concerned to prevent the export of wool from Ireland by non-British vessels. It recorded the vessel's name; home port; date and place of build (sometimes)' whether home; foreign or plantation built; rig (or general type of vessel); tonnage; master's name; names of owner or part-owners; and whether taken as a prize or otherwise of foreign build together with a reference to the circumstances of its seizure or condemnation, and when and where "made free".
C/EX/L/2: 1739-1793: 1 Volume; Covered.

Plantation Registers
These contain the text of owner's declarations, under the Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade (7-8 William & Mary [1695], cap. 22), recording details as above. The early Liverpool slaving and privateering vessels are found in this series.

C/EX/L/3/1-4: 4 Volumes; All covered in this edition.

Certificates of Registry
Official copies of the certificates of registry, granted under the Registry Act of 26 George III (1786), cap. 60, sec 3.

C/EX/L/4/1-38: 1786-1823 38 Volumes
Only one sample volume of these Certificates of Registry (C/EX/L/4/1) has been included in this edition as these volumes are very frail and bulky and the information contained in these certificates appears in a more condensed form in the Register Books (see below - C/EX/L/5/1- following).

Register Books
Also known as Subsidiary Register Books (because they are a condensed form of the volumes of Certificates of Registry - see above) these contain the details of ships registered under the above Act with additional details: the owner's residence and occupation; tonnage under the "old measurement" or builder's measurement rule; and a more systematic description of the vessel, length, breadth, and depth (in feet and inches) and number of decks and masts, with particulars of stern configuration and figurehead if any.

C/EX/L/5/1-12: 1786-1823: 12 Volumes; All covered.

Register Books
These contain the details of ships registered under the Registry Act 4 George IV (1823), cap. 41, including in addition to the above, a reference to the builder's certificate, type of bowsprit etc., the division of the property of the vessel into sixty-four shares, and the allocation and transfer of each share (eg sale, inheritance, mortgage, etc). The numbering of these volumes continues on from the 38 volumes of Certificates of Registry (see above C/EX/L/4/1-38), rather than from the previous series of Register Books. After 1824 there were no separately held Certificates of Registry, so these Register Books are no longer "subsidiary" - they are the main source of record.

C/EX/L/5/39-50: 1824-1835: 13 Volumes; All covered.

Register Books
These contain the details of ships registered under the Registry Act 5-6 William (1836), cap. 56. This changed rates of tonnage and dimension measurement, and is referred to as "new measurement".

C/EX/L/5/51-78: 1836-1855 28: Volumes; All covered.

Register Books
The Merchant Shipping Act, 17-18 Victoria (1854), changed the measurement of tonnage by introducing gross and net measurements. Length, breadth and depth of hold rules also changed. Engine-room dimensions; number and nominal horsepower of steam engines are included. This series continues to the present and the deposited registers are "closed", ie, evidence is provided that all vessels in a particular volume have been re-registered, scrapped or lost at sea. As registers are "closed", they are deposited in the Archives.

C/EX/L/5/79-133: 1855-1942 55: Volumes; Not covered.

Subsidiary Register Books of non-Liverpool Registered Vessels
Contain the details in the form of L5/1-12 above, apparently for "calling ships" at Liverpool. It was not statutorily required to be kept and was discontinued in 1818. Some 10,000 vessels were recorded.

C/EX/L6/1-10: 1788-1818: 10 Volumes; All covered.

Transaction Books
C/EX/L/7: c1855-1890: 13 Volumes; Not covered.

Curve Books
C/EX/L/8: 55-1871: volumes; Not covered.

Fishing Vessels Register
C/EX/L/9: 1921-1929: 1 Box; Not covered.
The archive also holds Register Books for Manchester, 1894-1915, and Runcorn, 1862-1937. These have not been covered.

Craig, R. and Jarvis, R. Liverpool Registry of Merchant Ships, Manchester, 1967
MacGregor, D.R. Fast Sailing Ships, 2nd ed., London, 1988, 23-25, 97-98, 151-152, 271-272, explains with great clarity the changes of measurement rules.

< Back


* * *
* * *

* *© 2024 Adam Matthew Digital Ltd. All Rights Reserved.