Our heritage

Building on a long heritage, research and training remain fundamental to Lloyd’s Register and to the work of the new Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

Lloyd’s Register’s activities have embraced all the key developments arising in shipping, from the first oil tankers to the first vessels driven by the marine diesel engine. For a hundred years the rules of the Society and its predecessors were based on a very practical approach to classification. As marine technology advanced, it was the work of men like Augustin Creuze, Bernard Waymouth, Benjamin Martell and Harry Cornish who brought a more scientific approach to research.

Collaboration and research

Lloyd’s Register’s Sub-Committee for Surveyors, formed in 1835, always included at its meetings matters concerning research findings and technical advances. Later the Technical Committee, although it was established partly as a means of involving shipbuilders, steelmakers and forgemasters, became a valuable part of the Society’s research effort. Eventually it included representatives from respected bodies such as the Institution of Naval Architects, the Institute of Marine Engineers, the North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders for Scotland. Today representation has been extended to encompass the small craft and offshore industries.

Technological advances

Lloyd’s Register kept up with the quickening pace of technical change by adopting a more scientific approach to the formulation of rules. The pattern for the future was established with the new Rules for Iron Ships in 1870. With bigger and more complex ships being built than ever before, the first engineer surveyor was appointed in 1874. Within ten years such men accounted for a more than a third of technical staff, with an increasing number based overseas, and they outnumbered ship surveyors by 1900.

As a result of the technical changes affecting the construction of ships in the late nineteenth century, Lloyd’s Register began to appreciate the importance of fostering the increase of knowledge in fields such as marine engineering and naval architecture. It began by sponsoring the studies of a select number of students of naval architecture and marine engineering, later widening its investment to cover education, training and research internationally in science and engineering.

At the same time it continued to support the research of its own talented personnel while inviting contributions from those with experience in external organisations. Both these approaches are bound up with the fundamental importance of research which has underpinned everything which Lloyd’s Register does and which continues through the work of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation today. 

The first grant

In 1877 the General Committee of Lloyd’s Register made a grant towards the maintenance of two students at the Royal School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at Greenwich, one in each discipline, and this led to the creation of an annual scholarship in 1878. This enlightened but self-interested act came when the science of naval engineering was still in its infancy and the Society recognised the need of well-qualified young men knowledgeable in the developing technologies of the time. By 1914 there were also three scholarships in naval architecture at Glasgow University, three at Armstrong College in the University of Durham and another three at Liverpool University; and three in marine engineering for students nominated by the Institute of Marine Engineers.

Until the depression of the 1930s, Lloyd’s Register funded as many as 23 university scholarships at any one time, including the Imperial University in Tokyo, the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts School of Technology in Boston. This remained the extent of the Society’s investment in external education for many years although by the late 1960s it had been much reduced, confined to three scholarships at the universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and Newcastle, with the opportunity for another year of study overseas. The scope had widened by the late 1990s, when £400,000 a year was being invested in the promotion of engineering and technological education.

In 1998 Lloyd’s Register was invited to take a seat on the board of the newly established Greenwich Maritime Institute, formed as part of the University of Greenwich. Lloyd’s Register played a part in helping to set up the new body and also agreed to sponsor a student every year. A number of staff have also attended several courses at the Institute. Coincidentally, the home of the Institute was in the very buildings which had once housed the Royal School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering with which Lloyd’s Register had been linked more than a century earlier.

The basis of the educational investment made by Lloyd’s Register completely changed in 2000 and was cemented with the formation of the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (LRET) in 2004. For some time the idea of widening the involvement of Lloyd’s Register in education and increasing the sums invested had been under serious consideration. Continuing to fulfil the organisation’s obligation towards education, training and research, the Trust was established as a completely independent charity, entirely funded by Lloyd’s Register, governed by its own board of trustees, chaired by David Moorhouse.

The funding made towards the Trust outstripped anything previously invested by Lloyd’s Register, increasing from £5 million in the Trust’s first year to £9 million in 2009–10. The Trust’s remit covered education, training and research worldwide for the benefit of all in science, engineering, technology and transportation.

By 2012, Lloyd’s Register recognised a change was needed to optimise its commercial operations and to enable maximum returns to be generated for application in charitable activities. On 2 July 2012, Lloyd’s Register converted its status from an industrial and provident society to a company limited by shares, called Lloyd’s Register Group Limited. Lloyd’s Register Foundation subscribed for the new shares in Lloyd’s Register Group Limited as the parent of the Lloyd’s Register Group. The LRET was wholly funded by Lloyd’s Register and was integrated within the Lloyd’s Register Foundation on 1 March 2013.

Importantly, the objectives and mission of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation remain the same as those of Lloyd’s Register previously, to protect life and property and to advance transport and engineering education and research…. because life matters.