Board of Trade and Ministry of Transport and successors: Marine, Harbours and Wrecks (M, H and W Series) Files
This series consists of correspondence and papers of the Marine Departments of the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Shipping, the Ministry of War Transport, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.
The papers in this series relate to: the conditions of service of merchant shipping personnel; merchant shipping legislation; the inspection and survey of ships; merchant shipbuilding; safety at sea and navigational matters; war risks insurance; wartime requisitioning of ships; wrecks; foreshores; the registration of shipping and seamen and the coastguard service.
This series includes a separate series of papers of the Wreck Department of the Board of Trade for the years 1864 to 1866.
PLEASE NOTE: A selection of records within this series are available to download free of charge as part of the Digital Microfilm project.
These are predominantly 'M' (Marine) files, but there are also some 'W' (Wreck) files and 'H' (Harbour) files.T
M files used in the Consultative Marine Branch are in: MT 15
See also records of the Coast Guard Agency in MT 19
Registers of this correspondence for the years 1851-1919 are in: MT 85
Indexes to this correspondence are in: MT 86
Ministry of Shipping, Marine Division, 1939-1941
Ministry of Transport, 1919-1941
Ministry of Transport, 1959-1970
Ministry of War Transport, Marine Departments, 1941-1946
The Marine Department of the Board of Trade was set up in 1850 to carry out supervision of the personnel of the merchant service required by the Mercantile Marine Act 1850 in addition to existing functions of the Board in connection with nautical matters and the inspection and survey of passenger steamers.
Subsequent legislation extended state supervision of merchant shipping and much of the work fell on the Marine Department. In 1867 it absorbed the Wreck Department of the Board which had been formed in 1864 to deal with wreck, salvage and a variety of mercantile marine matters. In 1919 the department took over functions of the dissolved Harbour Department of the Board not transferred to the Ministry of Transport, principally relating to navigation, pilotage and foreshores.
In 1921 the department was renamed the Mercantile Marine Department and took over work of providing for the Government's direct shipping needs. After 1939 this work was carried out by separate Sea Transport and Shipping Divisions. In 1923 the department took over from the Admiralty control of the Coastguard Service, though between May 1940 and October 1945 control was restored to the Admiralty.
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