Lloyd's Register of Shipping

To turn back to 1760 is to realise just how much the world has changed since Lloyd’s Register was founded. At that time the sailing ship was the only reliable and speedy form of transport and the steam engine’s full potential was only just being developed. Industrialisation of the western world had not yet accelerated to encourage the wide-spread exploitation of natural resources such as oil and gas, and the nuclear and jet ages were not even envisaged.

It started with a cup of coffee!  It is hard to believe that Lloyd’s of London began life as a coffee house. 

World’s first classification society 

The Society for the Registry of Shipping was set up in 1760 by customers of Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House in Lombard Street, London. The aim was to give merchants and underwriters recorded information on the quality of their vessels. The Register Book listed vessels rated, or classed, after the condition of their hulls and equipment had been surveyed. The subscriptions generated by the Register Book paid for the surveyors to carry out the work. This was the true beginning of classification and the Society was the world’s first classification society.

Classification was and continues to be all about quality. Put simply, it is an assessment against defined standards of the condition of a ship either under construction or already in existence. From 1768 the Society used a1 to indicate a ship of the highest class. From 1775 A1 was used and is now recognised as a symbol of quality.

The Quebec Board of Trade in particular made repeated requests for a surveyor due to the number of ships being built on behalf of British owners or for sale once they reached British ports. As a result, in 1852 the Society sent out Thomas Menzies as the resident exclusive surveyor for Quebec and the St Lawrence River. Menzies and his assistant, Charles Coker, did much to help local shipbuilders raise standards of construction. It was Menzies’ idea in 1853 to use the Maltese Cross in the Register Book and on the classification certificates to denote a ship built under special survey.

Further appointments were made in continental Europe in the 1860s including at Antwerp (1866) and Rotterdam (1868). Louis Meyer, the Antwerp surveyor, seems to have been the first person appointed with responsibility for an entire country when he was promoted to cover Belgium in 1869. Once a special sub-committee had been set up to consider establishing more overseas surveyors, there was a flurry of appointments. The first was the transfer of Joseph Tucker as exclusive surveyor to Shanghai in 1869. Other appointments included non-exclusive surveyors for Calcutta, Hong Kong, Melbourne Sydney and Hobart.

*Lloyds information is reproduced from Lloyd’s Register of Ships Online/Archive & Library/Heritage

Printed annually as a global record, Amazon first appears in 1856
1856 entry, Amazon noted with Maltese Cross, Captain Ogier, Carrell & Co, Jersey
Detailed Amazon Survey Report No 729
Page 2 of the Survey Report signed by Surveyor William Goss


Written in the Master’s handwriting, Captain Abraham Ogier has listed the crew and what each one undertook following the demise of the ship Amazon at the Inverloch Surf Beach. The Committee is grateful to Peter, an Inverloch visitor, who came across this information whilst researching family genealogy at the Public Records Office in Melbourne.

The final crew list and discharge notes following Amazon's demise