Project: Child Growth – The Long View

Child Growth: The Long View

Training Ships

Based on the extensive records from two training ships, the Exmouth based in London (1876-1925) and the Indefatigable based in Liverpool (1865-1995).

  • The Boys’ Record Books and Admission and Discharge Register of the training ship Exmouth, held at the London Metropolitan Archives, contain 14,000 boys.
  • The Cadet Records for the training ship Indefatigable, held at the Maritime Archives and Library (MAL) in Liverpool, contain 10,450 boys.

Both training ships were founded to prepare working class and pauper boys for careers in the Navy or the merchant marine, but unlike the earlier Marine Society data, there do not appear to have been minimum height requirements for boys entering the ships. The boys generally entered the ships at age 10 to 14 and were discharged by the age of 15 to 18. Critically, their height and weight were recorded at entry onto and at discharge from the ship, providing a longitudinal measure of their growth. In addition, the ships’ records were incredibly consistent over the 50-150 year period.

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