Bartlett Library

The Bartlett Library houses a diverse collection of maritime reference books, periodicals and archive material for public consultation and reference, admission free.

The resources in the library contain information on many types of boat and their construction and usage, and help to provide deeper knowledge and understanding of our maritime heritage and the maritime heritage of Cornwall.

The core of the library collection was donated by J. V. Bartlett Esq, whose interest in all types of maritime craft prompted him to start a library collection in 1945. Since this time this collection has grown to include around 19,000 maritime reference books.

You can access the Library catalogue here or using the link on the right of this page.

The Book Collection
The library’s core collection falls within three main categories.

  • Boats; with a special emphasis on material relating to the Museum’s boats – the National Small Boat Collection.
  • The Maritime Reference section; which includes an extensive run of Lloyd’s Registers of Shipping and similar publications from 1788 to date, a comprehensive run of Mercantile Navy Lists from the 1860’s, fully supported by a wide range of books covering such diverse topics as fishing boats, shipping company histories and aircraft carriers. While the library does not specifically focus on naval history, it does hold a representative selection of books on naval subjects.
  • Periodicals, Magazines & Journals; embracing many elements of maritime enterprise from boating for pleasure to pure academic research.

Conserving the books
Many of the books are rare or original. Specialist cleaning and conservation work is carried out by a dedicated team of Heritage volunteers from the Falmouth Decorative and Fine Arts Society.

Useful resources
The Bartlett Library contains a wide variety of resources to help you with your maritime or family research and the Volunteers are always ready to help out. To find out more information about the Bartlett Library, including contact information, please click here.

You might also find some of the websites listed below useful. We often visit them when looking into research enquiries.

Cornwall based
The Morrab Library
Cornwall Family History Society
Cornwall Records Office – written & printed heritage of Cornwall
Cornish Studies Library – written & printed heritage of Cornwall
Remember Falmouth – an archive of Falmouth history
The Courtney Library
Falmouth Harbour Commissioners

British Newspaper Archive
British Postal Museum & Archive – Falmouth Packet Service
Crew List Project – access to the records of British merchant seafarers of the late 19th century
Dark Age Boats – Log boats, coracles, curraghs
Family & naval history – WW2 diaries
Find My Past – Merchant Navy seamen 1835-1941
Historic Naval Ships Association
List of Brixham Registered Sailing Trawlers & their history
Maritime & Coastguard Agency
Memorial University of Newfoundland – UK crewlists & log books
National Archives (Naval) – service records of naval ratings
National Meteorological Library & Archive
Naval History – old ships’ logs, casualty lists & more
P&O Heritage – ship search and family history research
Passenger lists 1890-1929 – passenger lists from ships sailing to destinations worldwide
Royal Museums Greenwich
South Wales Mariners
The Guildhall Library – Indexes to Lloyd’s Captain’s Registers
The National Archives
– the official archive of the UK government
Traditional wooden & classic boats
Trinity House – lighthouse history
University of Exeter – database of references to records with maritime & naval significance that are held in local record offices & other archives across England & Wales
University of Exeter (RASOR) – British naval & maritime history bibliography
Yachting Bibliography – the first (& only) interactive bibliography of British yachting