Why is Britain Apparently Trying to Erases it's Maritime History? - Ships Nostalgia
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Why is Britain Apparently Trying to Erases it's Maritime History?

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  #1  
Old 20th April 2010, 19:01
Shipbuilder Shipbuilder is offline
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Why is Britain Apparently Trying to Erases it's Maritime History?

I have been aware for some time that the maritime history of Great Britain is rapidly being consigned to obscurity, especially when it comes to the once enormous Merchant Navy. It was brought home to me this morning when wandering around a car boot sale. Look what I picked up to add to my collection of heavy bound maritime volumes so wantonly disposed of by many British Libraries and technical institutions. This leather-bound tome is a 1930/31 Lloyds Register. It measures 11 1/2 inches by 10 inches and is five inches thick. It has recently been disposed of by a refernce library!

I am very happy to have it and never intend selling it, but I wonder what compels such supposed "guardians of history and learning" to dispose of their valuable collections in such a casual manner.

When I asked at a local refernce library, I was greeted with a blank stare followed by "not man people interested in boats these days!"

Bob
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Old 20th April 2010, 19:12
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Satanic Mechanic Satanic Mechanic is offline  
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I am guessing here but there will probably be a master copy somewhere as well as possibly an electronic copy and to be honest books do take up a hell of a lot of room and if no body is actually reading them they are probably better off with someone like yourself .
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Old 20th April 2010, 19:25
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Maybe they have transferred all the content to data somewhere, soon available to all?
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Old 20th April 2010, 20:08
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That is certainly very true and the 1930/31 volume pictured is actually available for all to read online. I knew this when I purchased it this morning. However, I find it very difficult to "trawl and browse" through an "online book of this magnitude and it would not be viable to print it out (Five inches thick - gasp - gasp). I have just spent a very pleasurable hour browsing through it and remembering ships that I actually never knew apart from reading about them!

I appreciate as well as anyone that they take up an enormous amount of shelf space, but surely, isn't that what reference libraries and museums etc are there for? I do grow weary of going into such libraries and seeing rows of books on:
TITANIC, CUTTY SARK, BOUNTY & VICTORY and being told that no-one is interested in boats any more apart from the four just mentioned!
Bob
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Old 20th April 2010, 20:50
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Quite agree, I would much rather trawl through an actual book, than to struggle with a poor scan on screen. I have more books on Cornish History and Maritime History in my house than the whole of the Penzance Library, in fact all the Cornwall Libraries. They have sent what they had out to a central information office and two sets to other offices. The rest have been sold out. I got so fed up being told .. 'no call for that', or 'we can get it from Liverpool' and then wait for three months. Much easier to search for the book, buy it and just to reach it down from my shelf.
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Old 20th April 2010, 23:35
DAVIDJM DAVIDJM is offline  
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well done Bob

I am always looking for books and magazines to add to my collection, and i have lost a few in moving.

Like everone else its having the cash ready to buy them.
where are these car boots sale, the ones around south wales are few and not much to go by for maritime books
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Old 21st April 2010, 00:04
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Ship builder, The real maritime history is us, ie the host of former sea goers that frequent this site and many other nautical forums around the globe.
As the romance of and demand for this particular branch of history may fade in many younger eyes we can at least collect the precious books and records that remain and document as much of our personal record as we can.
I guess that this SN site is well on the way to a worthwhile effort of a preservation account .

Bob
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Old 21st April 2010, 00:19
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I think that due credit for a major effort to erase the British Maritime History must be made to the many Property Developers ( SPIT) around this Isle of ours who appear to be hell bent on so re-developing our historic and famous ports, that their original purpose and history is obliterated from view and memory, so that they can make mega bucks, and to h-ll with our history.

Chris.
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Old 21st April 2010, 01:20
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I think that due credit for a major effort to erase the British Maritime History must be made to the many Property Developers ( SPIT) around this Isle of ours who appear to be hell bent on so re-developing our historic and famous ports, that their original purpose and history is obliterated from view and memory, so that they can make mega bucks, and to h-ll with our history.

Chris.

Again - how much do you want to keep. I am all for preserving some of our past but you can only have so many dock building doing nothing.

We got rid of the Granaries in Glasgow - they were silos inside, absolutely nothing could be done with them. On the other hand the Graving docks in Govan are being saved which I am all for.

But what on earth do you do with, for instance, an old sugar warehouse in Greenock though.
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Old 21st April 2010, 12:39
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Satanic,
I am not even talking about preserving docks or ships or other large artefacts - only books, plans, documents and photographs. So many libraries and institutions seem to be getting rid of their collections. A large number of plans have fallen into the hands of the National Maritime Museum, but their cost are very high and they load it on with "handling fees" and P & P. Furthermore, if they find out the prospective buyer wants to make a model from a plan and then sell it, the cost of the plan then soars. A friend of mine recently purchased a copy of a surveyors report from them (two pages) and it cost over £20 - absolute rip-off! A 5 x 7 inches photograph copy from them costs teens of pounds!
British publishers generally don't want to know if the subject is nautical.
Bob
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Old 21st April 2010, 13:17
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Satanic,
I am not even talking about preserving docks or ships or other large artefacts - only books, plans, documents and photographs. So many libraries and institutions seem to be getting rid of their collections........
British publishers generally don't want to know if the subject is nautical.
Bob
I think that you answered your own question there, Bob. When we were young, there was no internet, handheld devices, mobiles or instant gratification with "reality" t.v. There were men going into space, frontiers still to be conquered and news filtered through by wire service. We would glean and learn the nuts and bolts of everything technological going on around us. How many can still name astronauts and missions and data of WW2 planes, details of ships long gone, the requirements for configuring a serial port (or even "handshaking protocol" for a modem)! I think that this is more obvious to the Sparks amongst us.
Today, the information is under your fingertips at the keyboard, although many times it is not correct! "Books" only refer to the latest Harry Potter or Twilight edition. Technology is wireless and configures itself; there is no need to have any knowledge of what goes on inside. Just look at cars,"I have to put it on the scanner to find out what's wrong" is the mechanic's mantra nowadays!
And gentlemen, that is what happened to that artefact of millenia and collected knowledge, the "book". It became innecessary and anachronistic!
Buen día a todos,
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Old 21st April 2010, 14:35
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Makko,
To a certain extent, I agree. But the internet is still rather inferior to a book for a lot of things. A lot of technical journals have been scanned in and may be read online. But as the scanning is done by hand, it seems to turn the people who undertake it into zombies (I would probably go the same way as it is so repetitive). I know they are scanned by hand because every dozen pages or so, a finger or two gets scanned along with the page as they were being held down. I also note that the scanners often become so "automatic" that they will scan a blank flyleaf etc. Or if there is a fold-out plan, they will not unfold it and scan it, but just scan the folded leaf that of course has nothing on it because it is folded!

Most of the ancient journals that I have collected have literally thousands of these plans in, but they hardly ever appear in the online scanned versions!

Fortunately, over the years, I have become more-or-less self-contained in matters of nautical research. The big register has now been covered in an old chart by my wife as it was shedding a lot of leather dust and now has its own spot on the shelves.

I myself am committing a lot of material to CD disks, but I am doing it properly, even going as far as getting permission to do so from the original publishers or their decsendants! I don't suppose it will count for anything in the end, but I enjoy doing it and that is the main thing.

Bob
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Old 21st April 2010, 18:51
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And gentlemen, that is what happened to that artefact of millenia and collected knowledge, the "book". It became innecessary and anachronistic!
Buen día a todos,
Dave
I certainly hope not or the four thousand odd books we have for sale will be off to landfill.
Having said that there is a distinct decline in the value of "average" books.
The coffee table style books produced in their millions in the last decades of the last century are definitely landfill material. Usually only sold at boot fairs or jumble sales for a few pence. Remaindered books can be had from internet sellers for $1 upwards.
Eight boxes of nice clean paperbacks (average 25 per box) sold for £15 at auction recently. After commission I received £9.21.
There is still a market for specialist and rarer books. We send books all over the world (Japan today - a book of quiz questions about British Royalty - go figure).
It's a constant job keeping ahead of the market and culling the old stock.
Dead - Never! Specialised - Yes!
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Old 22nd April 2010, 13:03
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It seems Manchester Central Library may have the right idea. Whilst they are going to refurbish the Library they are going to store all their books underground in the Cheshire salt mines at Winsford as per BBC Northwest news.
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Old 24th April 2010, 12:37
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I saw that on Look North the other day. Unfortunately, the books are now out of the public view for about three years. Visited it several times and they have a very fine collection shipbuilding & engineering journals.
Bob
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Old 24th April 2010, 17:36
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I guess we're trying to erase our entire history which would include the maritime bit. I think our politicians are embarrassed and ashamed of it, probably of us too.
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Old 24th April 2010, 18:16
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I guess we're trying to erase our entire history which would include the maritime bit. I think our politicians are embarrassed and ashamed of it, probably of us too.
Spot on!
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Old 24th April 2010, 18:22
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I guess we're trying to erase our entire history which would include the maritime bit. I think our politicians are embarrassed and ashamed of it, probably of us too.

why would that be then
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Old 24th April 2010, 20:14
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It probably isn't that they are ashamed of us. They just don't know we exist (or existed)! They may have wondered sometimes as they fly off over the vast world what the flat blue bit is, after they have been flying for a few minutes. When aircraft were grounded because of volcanic ash, a lot of them started mumbling that we may all starve because aircraft bring in our food supplies!
Bob
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Old 24th April 2010, 23:14
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Referring to the subject of this thread, it would be wrong not to mention the sterling work carried out by the late Dr Bill Lind assisted by volunteers at the institution he set up, the Ballast Trust at Johnstone, Renfrewshire. Over a number of years, he rescued records discarded (sometimes, by the skip-load!) by now defunct shipping and shipbuilding companies and railway organisations.
Much of this material was of no historical significance but Bill was able to recognise items which did have archival value, and after such identification, sorting, and cataloguing, these records were handed over to various interested organisations, e.g university business archives, for posterity.
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Old 25th April 2010, 09:44
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It probably isn't that they are ashamed of us. They just don't know we exist (or existed)! They may have wondered sometimes as they fly off over the vast world what the flat blue bit is, after they have been flying for a few minutes. When aircraft were grounded because of volcanic ash, a lot of them started mumbling that we may all starve because aircraft bring in our food supplies!
Bob
A bunch of total tossers!
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Old 25th April 2010, 10:38
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Maritime History

A few years ago I set up a website about the history of the shipyard I started work at in 1964. I had a lot of photos of ship launches but when I did a search for information about the yard I could not find very much at all. This surprised me a lot as I had assummed that the history of shipbuilding would be well documented. I have since added two more shipyards to my main website and I am very surprised at how many hits they all take.
The shipyard I worked at was John Readheads in South Shields. The Town Council are going to build a Centre on the sea-front to encourage more visitors to the town. I have been trying to get them to include a heritage centre to show the history of the areas shipyards, docks and mines but I have a feeling that it wont happen.
I have seen an excellent Heritage type centre at Barrow, and St Ives has a great display for the local Hain Line in its museum. It would be nice to have something similar in the North East where so many ships were built.
My Main website is at www.johnbage.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
If anyone has information, photos or stories I would be pleased to add them to the websites.
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Old 2nd May 2010, 00:39
Brent Chambers Brent Chambers is offline  
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John, I've just been looking through your website, in particular the history & ships built by Readheads. What a pleasure to come across such interesting and well-laid out history, with lots of photos. Must have given you much pleasure, as your efforts are now giving others. I hope others will be inspired to record shipping in the same way. All the best,
Brent(NZ)
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Old 5th May 2010, 23:14
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Quote:
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Satanic,
I am not even talking about preserving docks or ships or other large artefacts - only books, plans, documents and photographs. So many libraries and institutions seem to be getting rid of their collections. A large number of plans have fallen into the hands of the National Maritime Museum, but their cost are very high and they load it on with "handling fees" and P & P. Furthermore, if they find out the prospective buyer wants to make a model from a plan and then sell it, the cost of the plan then soars. A friend of mine recently purchased a copy of a surveyors report from them (two pages) and it cost over £20 - absolute rip-off! A 5 x 7 inches photograph copy from them costs teens of pounds!
British publishers generally don't want to know if the subject is nautical.
Bob
HI , i totally agree about the charges of NMM , £20 for a 7x5 photo, have queried this with , they have 20 photos i would like for my collection, thats £400, that equates to 2 brand new washing machines , where is the comparison in value , ? most were donated free of charge to them , they forget pensioners on fixed incomes, like all big organiseations they just rip us off , got no sensible replY from the curator when i complained, i have a collection of over 250 photos of ships owned by watts watts, i would sooner burn them than give to NMM. stores.
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Old 6th May 2010, 08:18
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Hi Stores,
I didn't realise photograph costs had gone up to £20 now! It was £14 when I last asked several year ago. A large amount of NMM photographs , they do not have the negatives for. Although they may claim copyright, I do not believe they actually own it in most cases! There may well be duplicates of pictures you want elsewhere. What are the 20 you are looking for?

Over many years, I have built up an enormous collection of plans and photrographs and have made sure that when I croak, none of it will ever fall into the hands of the NMM! In the many technical journals I now have, I contacted the publishers years ago asking for permission to use plans and drawings in my articles and book writing activities (hobby as I am retired after long sea career). Without exception, their attiude was "feel free" and we wish you luck with you writing! The NMM however, came out with a very firm "NO", unless I wanted to pay their extortionate fees! Fortunately, I am now quite self-contained in maritime researches and have sufficient plans, info and photographs to take me two lifetimes to sort through.

I don't want to open the flood gates with half a million requests for info, but I would be happy to look up the 20 photographs you are looking for.

Bob
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