This varied accumulation represents the surviving records of the East India Company's management of its commercial shipping activity to 1834, and of its other marine business (after 1858 the marine affairs of the India Office) until 1879. The collection is in process of re-arrangement and listing in separate series L/MAR/1-9 according to type and provenance. A copy of the revised list in progress, based on the published 'List of Marine Records of the late East India Company' (London, 1896), is available in the Oriental and India Office Reading Room of The British Library. The documents are normally available for consultation throughout the revision process.
Administrative / biographical background:
Knowledge about the range and scope of the operations of the Committee of Shipping of the East India Company and of the Marine Branch of the Company and of the India Office is developing from the examination and of these surviving records and of their re-arrangement in the late nineteenth century. The following main constituent elements have been identified, each denoting an area of activity or responsibility: documents from seventeenth and early eighteenth-century voyages, including letter-books, accounts, copies of wills and inventories, lists of missing seamen, bills of lading and commissions; committee records from the Committee of Shipping and the Marine Branch of the Finance and Home Committee, fragmentary before 1713 but relatively complete thereafter; the the Company's Home Correspondence (with individuals and bodies not in the East Indies) on Marine matters from 1837 to 1867; shipping records, including lists of ships appointed for trade and other published shipping lists, terms for building, freighting and hiring ships, licences for ships to trade to India, returns of ships arriving at, or leaving, Indian ports, and reports of ships unloading at East India Docks; personnel records of the Company's maritime service (at all levels of employment, but including particularly the appointment and services of commanders and mates of East Indiamen), the Bombay Marine, the Indian Navy, and the Bengal Pilot Service; experiments in, and later the introduction of, steam navigation to and in the Indian Ocean; and records concerning troop transport from 1857 to 1870.
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