By the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, the responsibility for maintaining a systematic wreck register was taken over by the Marine Department of the Board of Trade; for a short period before this date it had been the responsibility of the Admiralty. Between 1864 and 1867 the Wreck Department was created to deal with wrecks, salvage and related matters.
The records consist of volumes of the wreck register, 1855 to 1898, giving the names and details of wrecks of British vessels reported to the Marine Department. The information includes the name of the vessel, its official number, port of registry, port number and year of registration, tonnage, name of managing owner, master, date and place of wreck, cause and the number of lives lost. Printed reports clipped from shipping newspapers, as well as manuscript reports from the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen are often included as well as references to Lloyd's List , Mitchell's Maritime Register and Board of Trade correspondence (see MT/9 at The National Archives). The reports are listed alphabetically from 1855 to 1859, 1863 to 1864 and 1873 to 1898 and chronologically from 1860 to 1862 and 1864 to 1873. Apart from part of 1863, each volume of the chronological lists has its own alphabetical index.
1855 - 1898
Public records: records of the central administration of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy