Lloyds Register was born in 1760 when eleven men met in Edward Lloyd’s London coffee house to talk about publishing a list of ships; a register to define their quality and safeguard life and property carried on them. One hundred and nine years later, in 1869, Lloyd’s sent its first surveyor to Shanghai. In celebration of its 150 years of operations in China, Lloyd’s Register is sponsoring a PhD project at the University of Portsmouth, England, to assess the influence and impact that Lloyd’s Register and its surveyors had on international understandings of health, safety, and risk management, and their broader influences on local infrastructures and imperial cultural knowledge between the years 1869-1918.
‘Lloyd’s Register Surveyors in China, 1869-1918’ will critically assess the role of Lloyd’s Register in developing cultural and scientific exchanges during a formative phase in Anglo-Chinese relations.
As Industrial diplomats and agents of Sino-British maritime cultural exchange, Lloyd’s Surveyors in China, sent comprehensive reports to Lloyd’s London office. These reports would often detail how they settled themselves in to their new surroundings and became involved in aspects of local life. They, therefore, became cultural ambassadors, spreading British values throughout the globe. In addition to understanding how the surveyor operated and in what context, the PhD will inform a burgeoning field within maritime history concerned with health, safety and risk management. The original contribution of this research will fuse the nuances of imperial networking and socialisation with the application of a ‘western’ preoccupation with safety and the negation of risk in shipping and shipbuilding. Thus, the PhD will highlight the process of knowledge exchange and provide historic analysis of the ways in which LR Foundation met its challenges: ‘Safety at Sea’, ‘Skills for safety’, and the ‘Public Understanding of Risk’.
The ‘Lloyd’s Register PhD Bursary’ includes full fees, and an additional travel bursary to support international research and dissemination. The successful candidate will help to develop teaching and learning materials, co-organise an international postgraduate conference in Hong Kong, and undertake visiting scholarships at Hong Kong Baptist University and Dalian Maritime University in 2023, with me!
The PhD is funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and supported by the University of Portsmouth’s Port Towns and Urban Cultures (PTUC) research group in the School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature. The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and will be supervised by Dr Matthew Heaslip, Dr Melanie Bassett and Professor Brad Beaven. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone interested in maritime history, archaeology, safety and Ango-Chinese relations. For more information or a confidential chat, please reach out to Dr Heaslip directly and I hope to see the successful candidate in China soon!