Californian Research Trip to Guildhall Library, London


Harland Duzen

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Hello everyone,

In over a week's time, I will be visiting the Guildhall Library, London after recent personal events have given me the opportunitiy to visit.

Along with general Titanic research, I might be able to find out some more info about the Californian's cargo and / or arrival and departure times from the Royal Albert Dock (or at the least back them up).

Aside from Lloyd's Register and List, are there any other sources anyone might want me to look for info on either the Californian or any other ships people might be interested in?

I can't guarantee I find any new Californian Info, but it's possible...
 
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Good Luck on your search...that will be interesting. The draught of the California was listed at 34'. That would have excluded her from going up the river to London no? I've seen some big barges on that river but don't know what the limits are.
 
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A lot of people, including Tracy Smith and myself, have been particularly interested in exactly what the ship's cargo was. For some reason, it was enough to have Earnest Gill have his cigarette top side. (Or so he claimed,)

I don't know if you can find a copy of the manifest and it might not have survived the attentions of Uncle Adolph's Bombing Club back in 1939 to 1945, but good luck. You just might score!
 
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Was it procedure that a ship's manifest would be recorded where she arrived? Maybe a copy in the U.S.?

I know its off topic but I always thought it was cool that Uncle Adolph's nephew joined the US Navy to fight against the nazis with whom he hated.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Thanks for the good luck everyone.

However, just to say, rechecking the Guildhall website, it doesn't automatically say if they have any cargo manifests there (unfortunately), but does anyone know if in the Lloyd's List, they list cargo within shipping movements?

__________
Edit: I would bet it's extremely likely the Californian's Cargo manifest could be found in Boston.
 

Rob Lawes

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Harland, would you cut all this hard work and research out!! You're making us lazy gits look bad.

What's wrong with just supporting wild opinion with rehashed sections of the inquiries transcript??

:p;)
 
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Harland Duzen

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Sorry Rob.

don't worry though, I'm exhausted and after next week it be back to intense speculation and confusion! :confused:;)
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi Harland,

The Guildhall Library is well worth a visit, but I have my doubts whether you will find anything of interest in respect of The Californian. Kew is the repository for HM Customs and Excise records, which in turn would show what the cargo was, if the records survived WW2. The Walter Lord archive at Greenwich NMM is another candidate if you are visiting London.

In respect of Steven's query in respect of the draft of The Californian, the London berth for The Leyland Line was No.24 shed The Royal Albert Docks, which was considerably down stream.

On a positive note, I did a lot of research on an arcane topic some 25 years ago, and discovered a box file in a certain County Records Office, literally covered in dust. It's contents had not been catalogued, and have not been to the best of my knowledge to this day, but they contained substantial primary source documents of facts and information long thought lost.

So good luck!

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Was it procedure that a ship's manifest would be recorded where she arrived? Maybe a copy in the U.S.?

I know its off topic but I always thought it was cool that Uncle Adolph's nephew joined the US Navy to fight against the nazis with whom he hated.

A manifest should have been filed in the port of departure on the day of the sailing or, if amended, a day or two after the ship got underway. That same manifest, like any of the other ship's documents, would have been subject to inspection at the port of arrival.
 

Harland Duzen

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I just discovered that the Guildhall's Archives contain the Titanic's Passenger List for Southampton and Queenstown on Microfilm for anyone interested. Might take a look at them if there's time...
 

Harland Duzen

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I also just found out, that there is a memorial to William T. Stead next to the moored HMS Wellington on the Victoria Embankment in London.
 

Mike Spooner

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Hi Harland,
Reading one of Robin Gardiner book, which I am aware he is rather regarded as suspicious believes the Titanic and Olympic ships were switched!
But never less he does seem to know good information too.
States the California built at Dundee in Scotland November 1901 yard number 159 for Frederick Leyland line. Gross ton 6,223 designed primarily for cotton trade and bulky cargo. However during her construction the Leyland Line was taken over by Mr J.P. Morgan and integrated into IMMC. To make the new ship more versatile the upper bridge deck was lengthened and 19 stateroom were included. Certificated to carry 47 passengers. Passenger accommodation was on the port side, as for crew accommodation on starboard side. For what type class of passenger is not mentioned but the description given indicates more suitable for second class. As ten pounds from London to Boston is the fare.
Captain Stanley Lord would be the forth captain by March 1911. Salary of 240 pounds per annum.
On the 20 February 1912 Californian left New Orleans with a cargo of cotton, bound for Le Havre France. On arrival 20 March was discovered 55 bales were damaged. Why it took a month is not mention?
But the 55 bales have to be return to get there money back. Why London docks? With the national coal strike in progress there was better chance to get coal as large amounts of coal were shipped down from Newcastle and stockpiled for the power stations and domestic use to. Probably paid a hefty price for it and just enough for the Atlantic crossing providing you run at a economic speed.
The ship leaving London on 5 April 1912 with Evans picking up the wrong Marconi wireless chart for South America and with no passengers. It claims the wrong wireless chart is vital piece of paper for a wireless operator to carry out his duties with any efficiency! Not myself been an operator know how true this is or not?
If the cotton bales are to been returned, why Boston and not New Orleans? I can only think there is a better chance of getting coal in Boston. Then there is what happen to the cotton bails in Boston!
I have also looked into why a British built ship and registered in England has an America name of Californian? If you know already I won't bore you with the details.
Good luck with your visit to the Guildhall Library London and can find more information, please let us know.

Mike.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Hello Mike,

To veer off topic here for a moment on general Californian info;
Firstly at the risk of shameless promotion, the symbolism of the Californian's name can be found here under "A Name Of Good Omen": The SS Californian and Dundee: Scotland’s Forgotten Leviathan (Ahem).

Secondly when IMMC brought Leyland Line in 1901, I didn't find any mention of changes to the Californian passenger accommodation or superstructure being updated or enlarged with initial reports veering between 40 - 60 passengers. Because of that, I didn't mention it in the paper.

Thirdly, is Robin Gardiner the source for the damaged hay bales info? I only heard about the damaged hay bales in "Triumph and Tragedy" and since that book didn't reference any sources, I wasn't sure if it was true or not.

If it is, Lord must have been very irritated after the February-March East-Bound Trip. He had to deport a lady on his ship, ward off reporters prior to departure (presumably gone though some storm or storms ) and then find out some of his cargo suffered from water damage. All this prior to Titanic!

Hope the above helps, and back to topic!
 

Harland Duzen

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I'm back (and very tired)!

It's been a very eventful trip having reunited with a lot of family members I haven't seen for a while and whilst at the Guildhall, the fire alarm went off and the entire building had to be evacuated. Fortunately it was a false alarm and no one was hurt or endangered.

Anyway, back to what everyone's been looking for, I checked though Shipping & Mercantile Gazette and Lloyd's List and Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index and I have found a few interesting facts. In no particular order:

  • Dock Records for April 2nd and 3rd DO show the Californian at Shed 24 of the Royal Albert Dock but oddly she's NOT recorded as docked there on April 4th?
Californian In Royal Albert Dock April 2nd 1912 copy.jpg

(Above: Californian at Shed 24 of Royal Albert Dock, London April 2nd 1912 from Shipping & Mercantile Gazette and Lloyd's List)​
  • While I could find no mention of her Cargo, Ships Loading Directory for April 3rd state the ship's broker as "Wilson and F." This was either the ship's ensurer and / or group who brought space for the cargo, so if anyone knows anything about Shipbroking, they might(?) store the info for the Californian Cargo.
Californian Ships Loading Directory April 3rd 1912 copy.jpg

(Above: Californian Dock Information in Ships Loading Directory April 3rd 1912 from Shipping & Mercantile Gazette and Lloyd's List)
  • Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index States the following for the Californian Arrival / Departure Dates:
1) The Index for April 11th states the Californian departed London on April 5th and later reported "100mls SW of Browhd April 7 &-"
2) The Index for April 4th 1912 states the Californian arrived in London on "March 30th-InputApril 3rd (7.55a.m.)"

3) The Index for March 28th 1912 states the Californian Arrived in Havre on March 20?

Californian Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index April 11th 1912  copy.jpg

(Above: Californian Listed in April 11th Edition of Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index)

Californian Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index April 4rd 1912  copy.jpg

(Above: Californian Listed in April 4th Edition of Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index)

Californian Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index March 28th 1912  copy.jpg

(Above: Californian Listed in March 28th Edition of Lloyd's Weekly Shipping Index)

I got more Listings of Californian from February 22nd 1912 onwards if anyone wants to see them.

I hope the above proves useful to everyone, and if you excuse me, I'm very tired... :)
 
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Mike Spooner

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Hi Harland,
Well done for your research and the plot just thickens on what cargo she was carrying! Is this another Government cover up?
I don't know if the National Archives at Kew Richmond would hold such record. I don't live too far from Kew, if you want me to have a look I will do so.

Mike.
 
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Harland Duzen

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Thank you Mike, that's very generous of you to offer to go to Kew, but unfortunately, from checking the National Archives online, they appear to hold no records of the Californian's April 5th Voyage.

That means as far as we know, the only way to check what the Californian was carrying would be for someone to check the cargo lists somewhere in Boston (and even then, we can't be certain that's if they still exist).
 

Rob Lawes

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Whatever Californian was carrying would have to appear in customs declaration records both at the point of departure and the point of arrival.

As I posted elsewhere, the Boston records appear to be held in the US National Archives.

Presumably the port of London records will be held somewhere if that is, the German aerial town rezoning committee didn't dispose of them at some point between 1939 and 1945.
 

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