First and Famous

As part of our wider digitisation project, we have undertaken a pilot project named 'First and Famous'. We have compiled a list of ships classed by LR from the 19th and 20th century. These ships are significant in terms of design, technological advances, historic importance, or just ships everyone has heard of that we've classed. The documents for these ships have been prioritised for digitisation, ahead of Project Undaunted docuemtns, as a result of their importance, and will be the first digitised documents made available.

Cataloging for the project was completed in August 2016. To commemorate the occasion, the Heritage & Education wrote a blog on the catalogued archived material for the 'First and Famous' ships.

The catalogued documents are yet to be digitised. Once scanned, the items will be made available for free via an online portal. Over 6,900 documents will be viewable. Below, the Centre has provided photographs of examples of the type of material the archive holds, from profile plans to midship sections. These images are not the completed digitised documents and are placeholders.

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First of their kind:

 Bakuin banner

Bakuin was the first Lloyd's Register-classed modern type tanker with machinery aft. 

Completed in 1886 by William Gray & Co. of Hartlepool, she was the first British-owned tanker to be built in a British shipyard.

The 1,699 gt tanker was fit with a cellular bottom and a double bulkhead, offering reinforced protection for Bakuin's oil compartments.

She was launched only a day after the Gluckauf; the forerunner of the modern tanker design.

Fullagar banner

Built in 1920 by Cammell Laird & Co, Fullagar was the first fully welded ocean-going ship in the world. Due to the risk involved, she was classed +100A1 with the note, 'Electrically Welded, Subject to Biennial Survey - Experimental'.

She sank on 31 August 1937 after a collision with the motorship Hidalgo off Baja, California.

And also the famous ships:


Upon her completion in 1906 at Swan Hunter's Wallsend shipyard, Mauretania was the largest vessel of her kind. She was classed +100A1.

A holder of the Blue Riband for almost two decades, she is one of the most famous ships of the 20th century. The Cunard vessel was a product of it's time, a ship of great opulence and grandeur. Her interior was designed by Harold Peto and was influenced heavily by Edwardian furnishings. Mauretania's passenger facilities included a library, smoking room, sun deck verandas, gym and children's playroom.

Reaching almost 30 years of service, she was retired in 1934 and scrapped a year later. The Centre's archive holds 340 catalogued documents for Mauretania, including her first entry report from 22 October 1907.

Her entry in the Lloyd's Register of Ships for 1906-07 incorrectly spelled her name as 'Mauritania'.

Cutty Sark banner

One of the last tea clippers ever built, Cutty Sark is arguably the most famous ship Lloyd's Register has ever inspected. Ordered by shipping magnate John 'White Hat' Willis; who also served on the Society's Classing Committee for several years, she traded in the tea and wool trade throughout Asia and Australia.

The retirement of the Cutty Sark marked the decline of conventional sailing ships, which gave way to steamships.

Today, Cutty Sark is a popular tourist attraction as a museum ship in Greenwich, London.