As journals librarian I am always eager to share the discoveries I uncover in the collection. May I introduce ‘The Shipmasters’ Society London’ journal. 

This publication consists particularly of papers that were presented to a committee of shipowners and masters of merchant vessels. As these papers were written and delivered by men who were actively employed in the merchant maritime industry, they provide a unique snapshot of what was happening in the industry at the time.

The description of the journal is taken from the mast-head:

“Founded in the year 1876 for the mutual protection and advancement of the general interest of the members, and subject to the rules, to defrag legal expenses on behalf of such member who may have to appear on an official enquiry; and to watch any proposed alteration of the law or further enactment which would affect the interest of the Mercantile Marine.”

A chapter entitled ‘Seamen’s organizations and Social Protest’ in the publication: ‘Before the Unions: wage earners and collective action in Europe, 1300 – 1850’ (ed. by Catharine Lis., pub. 1994) highlights that before trade unions were formalized, the shipmasters societies were one of the strongest advocates of the merchant seaman. 

The Shipmasters' Society: The British Mercantile Marine: it’s Past, present, and probable future.’ pp.1-26, No.1, Jan.1890
The Shipmasters' Society: The British Mercantile Marine: it’s Past, present, and probable future.’ pp.1-26, No.1, Jan.1890

The first paper found in this journal was presented to the Society in London and was delivered by Edward Blackmore, J. P., Associate of the Institute of Naval Architects […] and Master Mariner. ‘The British Mercantile Marine: it’s Past, present, and probable future.’ pp.1-26, No.1, Jan.1890.

In February 1900 William Allingham presented a paper titled: ‘Board of Trade Examinations’  (Paper No. 67) which raised discussion around the question of the level of education that was required to obtain a Master’s Certificate. He states:

“In my opinion the system starts with the false assumption that education, as such, is altogether unnecessary for the navigating branch of the British Mercantile Marine.”  p. 115, No.67, Feb.1900.

Perhaps you will find this series of journals to be of use into the raison d'être of the qualification process of Master Mariners Certificates. 

To find out more about this and the rest of our collection of periodicals, visit the Caird Library and Archive

Penny Allen, Librarian (Systems and Serials)