Ships Log

The Catalogue Is Online

One of the main goals of the Trawling Through Time project since the very beginning, way back in April 2018, was to produce an online finding aid for the Cook, Welton & Gemmell archive, that would allow researchers to discover what we hold in the collection and request to see items of interest and potentially order copies.  Our initial target for this was to catalogue 600 technical drawings relating to various ships built by the company at Grovehill shipyard.

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The cataloguing volunteers, hard at work!

We recruited a team of volunteers for this task, who all brought a range of expertise and experience from their varying backgrounds in  maritime industries, armed forces, administrative, and education sectors, to name but a few.

“The team effort was so impressive that 500 plans had been itemised within 3 months.”

We were really strengthened by the fact that we had volunteers who had served on trawlers (some of them built at Grovehill), been involved in the design, construction, and fitting out of Cook, Welton & Gemmell vessels such as Arctic Corsair, served on Royal Navy and Merchant Navy ships, cargo ships, and others who had substantial sailing experience and knowledge of engineering.  This gave us an ‘inside track’ on the shipbuilding process and helped us understand and interpret the highly technical engineering information that we were faced with.  Add to this, the administrative expertise of other volunteers and it created a team that was able to learn new skills from each other and pull together in a collective effort to sort, arrange and describe the contents of the archive.

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Volunteer John Wilkinson inspects a plan of the ‘Arctic Corsair’.  He was involved in the sea trials of this vessel in 1961 (working as a Draughtsman and later Chief Buyer for C D Holmes & Co.Ltd).

The team effort was so impressive that 500 plans had been itemised within 3 months, and our initial target was well exceeded with an estimated 1825 plans catalogued by the end of the project term, resulting in a catalogue for the entire collection.

“The volunteers’ contribution specifically focussed on the technical sectional drawings relating to numerous significant ships…”

Full credit to our volunteers, their enthusiasm, dedication and ability, but one of the reasons they were able to make such rapid and thorough progress was because Archives staff in the collections management team had laid a solid foundation with work on the general arrangement plans and other material in the years preceding the project, since the archive was first received in 2010.  This provided an ideal template from which the volunteers could continue the work through to its completion.

The volunteers gather for one of the group ‘Sorting Days’.

The volunteers’ contribution specifically focussed on the technical sectional drawings relating to numerous significant ships including ‘Thorina’, ‘Arctic Corsair’, ‘Spurn No.14 Lightship’, and ‘Yorkshire Belle’, which complement the general arrangement plans, reports and some miscellaneous ships plans listed by the Archives staff prior to the project.

The combination of this work has resulted in a complete catalogue of the Cook, Welton & Gemmell archive (ref DDCO), now searchable via the East Riding Archives online catalogue.

Volunteers (left to right) Christine Pinder, Colin Walden, and Malcolm Cooper delve into some plans for a steam trawler.
Boxed and Preserved: The Cook, Welton & Gemmell archive (catalogue ref ‘DDCO’).

You can use this to find plans about ships that interest you and request to see them in the research room at the Treasure House, Beverley.

To find every catalogue entry for the Cook, Welton & Gemmell archive, simply enter ‘DDCO‘ in the ‘FindingNo‘ field of the online catalogue search.  You can narrow this down to higher level descriptions by selecting ‘Collection‘, ‘Series‘, ‘SubSeries‘ in the ‘Level‘ field.

Alternatively, try searching for specific vessels by typing the name in the ‘Any Text‘ field e.g. “Arctic Corsair”.

(Search the online catalogue here).


Please note that the catalogue comprises descriptions of physical items that we hold and does not include online images.  To see examples of digital images of plans from the archive, go to our Vessels gallery.

The online catalogue for East Riding Archives.

With special thanks to our cataloguing volunteers:

Pamela Taylor, Clive Dennison, Peter Holmes, Theresa Longbone, Barry Gibson, Ian Stanley, John Wilkinson, Phil Pick, Stephen Keane, Christine Pinder, Colin Walden, Elaine Woods, Malcolm Cooper, Tony Jennison, Elaine McGuinness, John McGuinness, Neil Parker.


 Sam Bartle

Digital Archivist and Project Coordinator

13 thoughts on “Ships Log

  1. Would you have the plans for the hull trawler Angelo h grandad james Edward Calvert was skipper of her in 1905 and again in 1908,


    1. Hi Tony, I’m not sure that we do we have plans for this particular vessel unfortunately, but please feel free to check our catalogue via the link in the blog post, and if you find anything then you can request to view it in our research room.


      1. Many thanks for your reply,my grandad James Edward calvert,was also on the h.m.t Marne h231,in ww1 any plans would be,great.regards tony Calvert.


  2. I’m rather late to discover your excellent work and I don’t have anything valuable to offer but it’s reassuring to find so much attention has been paid to such a valuable part of the Fishing Industry.

    Chris Welton


    1. Thanks Chris, yes that’s a shame it would’ve been good to have more additions to the volunteer team. We may be asking for contributions to this blog though in the near future as part of the project’s legacy, so it’s worth keeping a lookout for announcements


  3. Dear, I am trying to use the online catalogue, but my device does not recognise it, but I am looking for plans from the Hill class trawler from the Royal Navy , it’s based on the 1937 Barnett by Cook Welton and Gemmell of Beverley and the Military Class Trawler from Royal Navy , it’s based on Lady Madeleine by Cook Welton and Gemmell of Beverley. Could you help me with that I build Rc boats in scale 1/96 and try to build them historical correct . The Royal Navy trawlers are little bit forgotten, they
    contribute a lot during WW2 .
    Kind regards


    1. Hello Bart, thanks for getting in touch, and apologies for the delay.
      During the project it came to our attention that the material for the Royal Navy vessels is most likely preserved by them at Portsmouth, presumably in some form of repository or military museum. Although they were built at Beverley, the plans, being classified, appear not to have been retained by Cook, Welton and Gemmell. Sorry that we couldn’t be of more assistance with this particular query.


  4. Hello team, thoroughly enjoying the work your doing and trawling through the online archive. Would you have plans for Hildina H222, I believe she was one of only two vessels of that design built. Any help would be truly apricated. Stay safe team during these odd times.
    Stephen dell.


    1. Thanks Stephen, and apologies for the delay. We do have a number of plans recorded on our catalogue here
      If there are any particular items that interest you, such as the general arrangement, then please get in touch with us at and we’ll see what we can do to help.
      Obviously, we’re operating a reduced service during the current lockdown. Best wishes.


  5. I am trying to find a photo plan of Swanland H402 built as Kings Grey GY486 in 1915 Yard number 318 of CW&G. I sailed on her in 1952 as a 14 year old out to Bear Island. Can you help. I have tried using your website, but alas it defeats me. Regards Ivan Cloherty


    1. Hello Ivan, thanks for getting in touch. Apologies that you’ve been unable to access our catalogue. Having checked the latter, unfortunately we don’t hold anything on record for this particular vessel. The number of plans for this period tend to be less comprehensive than the later vessels. Sorry that we couldn’t help more with this query.


  6. Hi, what a fantastic project you are doing. Great to see some of the history is being saved and people can access it. Has all the ship’s plans been catalogued, or are there still some to go through. I have looked the the ship plans, but the ones I am interested in are not there.
    I was trying to trace these many years ago, but I was told a collector from abroad had purchased them. So I am surprised to find that this is not the case. Unless some of them have gone abroad or don’t exist anymore. Look forward to your reply. Keep up the good work.
    Best regards


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks James, glad you find our project of interest. The Cook, Welton and Gemmell archive is now fully catalogued and can be viewed here: . Some of the entries for general arrangement plans have clickable links through to our digital access portal, but most of the plans are not digitised. Hope this helps.
      Best wishes
      (project coordinator)


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