British ships were registered at one of hundreds of ports of registry around Britain and what were then British colonies.
This page is an index of ships by their port of registry using data from the contemporary official sources such as the Mercantile Navy List (MNL) and the Appropriation Books.
For each port, it shows first a count of the entries by year. For a year selected from that list, it shows ship names and official numbers, sorted first by name, then by official number, with other details such as date of registration, and rig. For each record, links are provided to images of the source documents and to other data items such as holdings of crew lists.
For a full explanation of the records of British shipping, please see our information page, here: Records of British ships
As described above, first select the port, then the year from the table of counts of ships.
For some ports, where there were other ports nearby, ships may have been registered at one of those ports. Where this is a possibility, the form provides facilities to switch to one of the other ports, or to see data for all the ports together.
The results show the names of ships registered at the port according to the records for that year. For record sets after 1855, the ship's official number is shown. The results show any other details from the source, and the exact reference for the source so that you can see where our information came from. The icon links to images of the source.
For the pre-1857 data drawn from BT 111 and BT 162, there is a link on the right hand side Data post 1855 which will search the CLIP data for later years by name and port, looking for possible matches in the period 1855 to 1870. Beware! Because there were no official numbers for this period, these are only tentative suggestions, not exact matches. Some common names could result in many possibilities!
For post-1857 data, which has official numbers, there are also links to show holdings of crew lists for that ship, using the Maritime History Archive index and our own CLIP index.
The 'More...' link will show all the information that we have for that official number.
The records are initially sorted by the ship's name. For the pre-1857 records, the records can be sorted by year and number of registration; for the post-1857 data, they can be sorted by official number. To change the sort, click the small icon next to the column heading.
The sources of the data are:
Please see our general information page CLIP data for details on sources, methodology, the abbreviations we have used, and our acknowledgements.
Be aware! CLIP data is transcribed 'as seen' - we have not tried to interpret or correct it (but see note about BT 111 in the Data sources section). Where we have doubts about an item, or have edited it, we mark it with a ? .