Plymouth's Other Fleet The Merchant Shipping Registers of the Port of Plymouth 1814-1815 & 1817-1876
[Additional comments from David Clement. Ed]
See also the main review of this CD-ROM
This is a stupendous compilation of many years work by a very dedicated person. The method adopted by Gary Hicks in recording the information results in a completely interlinked and searchable database …..A particularly interesting area is the peripheral information to be found – for example all sixteen acts of Parliament relating to ship registration in the period covered are reproduced enabling detailed research to be carried out. This carries on through evaluations of the rig of vessels, whether they joined the Plymouth registry as new or second hand, variations and trends in the numbers of vessels over the period. Fleet overall numbers and sizes are provided which show the gradually increasing tonnage of individual vessels and variations in rig. Information is provided on the differences between ‘old’ and ‘new’ measurements with the effects this has on the statistics.
A total of 120,000 tons of vessels joined the register at its height between 1860-4 which does go to show the importance of the port and the amount of shipbuilding carried on. This is further apportioned between the various rigs employed. The fates of the vessels are evaluated – and 41% (744 vessels) were lost by stress of weather and about the same number sold away. Lastly the decline of commercial shipping is considered.
All of that information can be gleaned working through the information – but the work has been done for you. In a similar way the shipbuilding yards have been evaluated, the whole being assisted by means of a valuable gazetteer. So well interlinked is the disc that it is instantly possible to jump to examples of the National Archives CUST 66 by a mere click of the mouse.
I have said little about the vessels themselves, but click on the name and you immediately come to the full history of the vessel, sometimes in a number of pages, giving the most detailed information, including share ownership etc.
This is altogether one of the most comprehensive research projects I have ever seen and all our members should be encouraged to purchase a copy. If I might encourage you, look at the Rose of Devon and explore the pages of information and photographs. Gary is still hard at work now dealing with the personalities associated with the vessels, and anticipates having a web site operational shortly.
Reviewed by David Clement
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