A treasure trove of marine history

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A UNIQUE collection of documents and other records, much of it relating to shipbuilding and marine engineering in the North East, is being made available to the public on Tyneside.

The School of Marine Science’s Special Collection at Newcastle University dates back, in some cases, to the 19th century, and covers industries such as marine engine building, shiprepairing, and shipbreaking among others.

The collection includes company records, brochures and catalogues, ship and yard plans and photographs.

Wonderfully, there is also a British shipbuilding database, listing some 80,000 British-built ships of the 19th and 20th centuries, searchable by name etc, though this is only available in-house and not on the Internet.

Funding of the collection has been made possible by a number of organisations, among them the Catherine Cookson Foundation and the Sir James Knott Trust.

It includes company records of Swan Hunter, going back to 1890; British Shipbuilders and its subsidiaries; shipbreaking companies, such as Hughes Bolckow of Blyth, and North Eastern Marine at Wallsend.

There are also books, including copies of Lloyd’s Register dating back to 1925, trade and industry magazines, such as The Engineer dating back as far as 1857, also professional technical journals.

The Special Collection is housed in the Armstrong Building on Newcastle University’s central campus.

Opening hours are usually Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am to 3pm and at other times by appointment. In fact to be on the safe side, contact them in advance to check that they will be open for your proposed visit.

E-mail marine.archive@newcastle.ac.uk or telephone 222 3522.

Visit www.ncl.ac.uk/marine/facilities/library/specialcollection