Disasters at sea and elsewhere

25 February 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Bound volume of newspaper reports September 1934

Lloyd’s Weekly Casuality Reports, September 1934

Lorna, Assistant Librarian at the Maritime Archives & Library, has been cataloguing our collection of Lloyd’s Weekly Casualty Reports, which are useful sources of information for shipwrecks and other maritime mishaps.  We can tell something is up because she keeps laughing and reading bits out.  While the early Casualty Reports, ours start in 1890, are a fairly straightforward list of ships that have been wrecked, burnt or otherwise damaged, in later years they become more widespread in their tales of woe including, in September 1977, entries regarding a fire in a glove factory in Aberdeen and the kidnapping of a stamp collectors’ daughter in Italy.  The editors appears to have become rather ghoulish.  However, the thing to remember when using Lloyd’s records, which include many of the great sources for maritime research, is that it’s all about insurance, not about collecting information for ship enthusiasts or family historians. If you had just been asked to underwrite a glove makers you would need to know that there had been a serious fire in no less than the ‘largest manufacturers of knitted gloves in the western hemisphere’ and if you’re setting rates for life insurance, kidnappings are important. All that being said, I do have a suspicion that their correspondents were having a competition to see which is the daftest thing they can get published – for example a reported ‘near riot’ on 4th September 1977 at a music festival in West Germany caused by the ‘absence of some well-known groups’.  1970s German rock music, I think I’d have rioted.

(Comments are closed for this post.)

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.