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A wonderful resource of maritime matters


The museum’s research work is led by the Bartlett Maritime Research Centre which incorporates the Bartlett Library, a wonderful resource of books, archives and records on maritime matters. It houses a team of volunteers who answer enquiries for  members of the public and who work on a range of research projects.

The main themes are:

Research facilities

Private researchers are very welcome to explore the library or to seek answers to specific questions with the help of one of our volunteers.

A range of finding aids for researchers are constantly being developed and updated. With around 40 databases, these cover subjects such as:

The collection

The Bartlett holds some 18,000 volumes on our open shelves, having grown by gift and purchase, from the core collection of 6,000 volumes, generously donated by our benefactor J. V. Bartlett Esq., in 2003.

Significant loans from the Cornwall Library Service [including a number of Lloyd’s Registers], together with gifts from many individuals have greatly increased the size and value of the collection since our establishment in 2003.

The collection comprises:

Maritime Reference Section

Covering everything from supertankers to sailing dinghies, it includes an extensive run of Lloyd’s Registers from 1764, to near current editions; a good run of Mercantile Navy Lists, 1850s to 1960s; Lloyd’s Lists, the British maritime newspaper (facsimile editions, or microfilm copies), 1841 to 1859. Our books cover such diverse subjects as Shipping Companies, British and foreign; Yacht cruising; Fishing and Fisheries; a selection of Naval material;  Maritime Art and Artists; Navigation; Exploration; etc.

Archives, Periodicals, Magazines and Journals

A comprehensive range of Falmouth harbour archives, has been deposited with the Bartlett, by the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners – including Harbour Commissioners, and Harbour Committee minute books; Dredging ledgers; Harbour Masters Journals, 1870’s to 1970s. These are held in the Haddon Room. These archives are supplemented by an extensive range of Falmouth Harbour pilotage material, and G. C. Fox & Co.’s Falmouth Arrivals ledgers.

The Haddon Room, also holds runs of yachting magazines and maritime journals – including Yachts & Yachting, Motor Boat & Yachting, Yachting World, Mariner’s Mirror; Maritime South West, Ships in Focus, a representative number of the Nautical Magazines, and Lifeboat Journals, all of which embrace many elements of maritime enterprise from boating for pleasure to academic research.

Archive material

The Bartlett Centre holds a growing collection of original archive material including:

Other digital material

We are also growing our digital material, much of it transcribed from original documents:

Some of these are available online in our Maritime Views on-line publication.

Visiting the Bartlett Centre

The Bartlett Centre is open free to the public. Personal visitors should ask for directions at the Museum’s enquiry desk in the entrance foyer.

Opening times

Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. Closed SUNDAY & MONDAY.

Research enquiries

The team of dedicated volunteers are pleased to try and answer any maritime queries. Brief enquiries can be answered by telephone on 01326 214579 during opening hours. You can also email us at library@nmmc.co.uk 

Please note: within the expertise of the volunteers on duty, enquiries are dealt with in strict order of receipt. We normally respond to queries within three to four weeks of receipt.

The Bartlett Library

The 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.

Access the Library catalogue

The Book Collection

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

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

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
The Courtney Library
Falmouth Harbour Commissioners

National

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


Contact the library and research centre team

Telephone: 01326 214579 during opening hours.

Email: library@nmmc.co.uk

National Maritime Museum
Cornwall Trust
Discovery Quay
Falmouth
Cornwall
TR11 3QY

Tel: +44(0)1326 313388

Email: enquiries@nmmc.co.uk