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The UKHO Archive

The UKHO Archive

The Archive supports the day-to-day operations of the UKHO and is also a place of deposit under the Public Records Act. It contains hundreds of thousands of hydrographic records in varying formats and in different languages.

About the UKHO Archive

A brief history of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

The UKHO Archive started life as an accumulation of charts, surveys, reports, books and atlases held within the Admiralty in London. When the Hydrographic Office was established in 1795 the first Hydrographer to the Admiralty Board, Alexander Dalrymple FRS, was charged with arranging and digesting a ‘considerable mass of information’ and was given a clerk to take ‘care of the plans and charts’ that had accumulated in the Admiralty over nearly two centuries. With the expansion in surveying capability after 1815 the number of surveys and, subsequently, printed charts in the Hydrographic Office expanded.

Accumulation and expansion forced the Archive to be moved in 1923 from the Admiralty to Cornwall House. In September 1939, as part of the relocation of Admiralty staff out of London, the Archive, along with the Compilation staff, were moved to the Royal School in Bath. Conditions at the Royal School were far from ideal and caused the Hydrographer some concerns, therefore in October 1941 the Archive was moved once again, this time to the outskirts of Bath at Ensleigh.

After the war was over the Archive was moved for the third time in eight years. The move saw the collection return to London in October 1946, not to the Admiralty but to the basement of a building in Cricklewood. The Hydrographer, Sir John Edgell, wanted all his staff to work on one site at Taunton but the Admiralty did not grant permission for this and it was not until 1964 that the Archive and all the staff were co-located in Somerset. In 2003 a new purpose-built archive was opened by His Royal Highness the Duke of York and named after Rear Admiral G. Steve Ritchie, who had served as Hydrographer of the Navy from 1966 to 1971.

Today the Archive holds over 600,000 surveys, books, charts and files, containing millions of individual letters, reports, photographs and documents. Currently the Archive is undertaking a project to transfer its historical material to The National Archives based at Kew, which involves cataloguing over 250 metres of departmental documents dating from the early 1800s. This is estimated to take three years and will improve access to an important collection of historical naval and hydrographic information.

Click here for a record of the number of UKHO documents added each month to the Archive

UKHO Archives Building in Taunton


Access to the archive

Appointments

To arrange a visit to the Archive for bona fide research purposes, please contact the Archive Research Section at least two weeks in advance. Foreign nationals requesting a visit to the Archive for research purposes need to give at least four weeks notice, failure to do so will mean a visit may be refused.

Personal access to the archive is free. We do, however, charge for reproductions of documents, any research work and handling undertaken by our staff. For further details please see below.

To download a form for a request to visit please select one of the following: visitor form (PDF) | visitor form (.Doc)

Click here for a record of the number of visitors to the Archive.

Research

The customer will be entitled to the first hour of research free. Once the free hour has passed customers will be asked whether they wish to use the Archive Research Service, who charge £20 for each 15 minutes spent working on your request. If you need this Service we will provide you with an estimated number of hours which will require payment in advance. No work will be undertaken until the payment has been received.

Alternatively you can employ your own record agent to come in and undertake the work you require. If you require a list of specialist record agents please let us know. The UKHO does not endorse the work of any persons whose details are on this list.

Click here for a summary of the requests we have received for archival data.

Contact us

To find out more about the archive and researching its contents please contact:
Archive Research Section
Tel: +44 (0)1823 337900 ext 3670
Fax: +44 (0)1823 352561
Email: research@ukho.gov.uk

Copying

We are able to provide A4 and A3 colour and black and white photocopies of original documents no larger than A3 size. Any requirement for an original document larger than A3 to be reduced, will need to be scanned, costing a minimum of £25 plus V.A.T.

Reproductions can be printed on either Somerset 100% Cotton fine art textured paper (with a matt finish), or satin paper (with a glossy finish). Please note that Somerset 100% Cotton is only available in sheets up to A2 size. See the table below for further options for copies.

High resolution digital images can be provided at (approximately) £25.00 for one A0 size camera image. For documents larger than A0 an estimate will be provided by Research staff. These may also require digital stitching together; this service costs an additional £50 per hour.

Each order for a copy, or copies, of documents incurs a £15.00 handling fee. Value Added Tax (VAT) is added to the total of each order unless the purchaser is exempt from paying VAT.

Please allow a minimum of ten working days for an order to be despatched after making payment, depending on the complexity of the order.

Requests for copies of digital survey data should be addressed to bdc@ukho.gov.uk.

SIZE*

Up to A4

Up to A3

Up to A2

Up to A0

Up to 2xA0

Up to 4xA0

Copy from an existing scan AO or larger

PRODUCT

297 x 210 mm

420 x 297 mm

594 x 420 mm

1189 x 841 mm

1682 x 1189 mm

2378 x 1520 mm

B&W Photocopy

£0.40

£0.50

 

 

 

 

 

Colour Photocopy

£0.80

£1.00

 

 

 

 

 

Colour Print on Somerset
100% Cotton (225g/m2)

£25.00

£25.00

£25.00

 

 

 

 

Digital Print on Satin Paper
(maximum width 152cm)

£15.00

£20.00

£25.00

£40.00

£80.00

£160.00

£30.00

Digital Scan
(on CD-Rom or DVD)

£25.00

£25.00

£25.00

£25.00

£ 50.00

£100.00

£20.00

Research Fee
(Per 1/4 hour)

£20.00


Do not forget to add to your estimate:

  • Handling charge (minimum of £15 per order)
  • Postage and packing (minimum of £3 per order)
  • V.A.T. at 20% (if applicable)

Handling/Admin Fee
(per 1/2 Hour)

£30.00

Stitching (price per hour)

£50.00

Uploading to our FTP site

£10.00

* Sizes are based on the size of document to be copied (copies are not reduced unless asked for)

Order form

Please consult the price list above and the Frequently Asked Questions tab before filling in an order form. Please note that the minimum cost for an A2 print is £52.60 and for a digital image requiring new photography is £57.60 (delivered to a U.K. address). Please complete as many fields in the form as possible.

To download an order form please select one of the following: order form (PDF) | order form (.Doc)

Copyright and Permissions

All work created by the UKHO is protected by Crown copyright and/or database rights and may be protected by the rights of other organisations. You may not reproduce, translate, store in a retrieval system or distribute the material in any way (including electronically, by photocopying, recording or otherwise) without our permission in writing.

We encourage you to use our material for new purposes. If you want to re-use UKHO material, please visit www.ukho.gov.uk/copyright for more information. You can apply for permission online or download an application form. Alternatively, please contact:

Intellectual Property Branch
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
Admiralty Way
Taunton
Somerset
TA1 2DN
Tel 01823 337900 Ext 4146
Email intellectualproperty@ukho.gov.uk

Archive contents

We're moving some of our collection

To improve public access to items of interest, since 2003, we have been moving some of our historic material to The National Archives at Kew, where they'll be available to the public five-days-a-week without advance notice. The transfer is an ongoing process, with the main transfer scheduled for completion in 2015.

To access TNA catalogue visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/search.asp. Items transferred from the UKHO have been allocated the references ADM344 to ADM356 and their former UKHO references can also be viewed on TNA catalogue.

The transfer is concentrating on surveys dated before 1830 and supporting documentation before 1950. Some items will be unavailable whilst they are being processed and to establish what is at the UKHO, contact our Archive Research Section.

Click here for a record of the UKHO Documents transferred to The National Archives.

Historical holdings and the UKHO Archive

We receive a wide range of data from all corners of the world and are an appointed place of deposit under the Public Records Act of 1958. This allows us to hold and maintain our own historical archive on site. We predominantly hold survey information from 1830 to the present.

Surveys

Today we receive about 400 hydrographic surveys a year, in various forms, including those by the Royal Navy Surveying Squadron, contract survey companies and other contractors and developers. Though the quality of these surveys varies, all are registered and copied before being evaluated by the relevant chart branch, then placed in the archive with their accompanying field data.

The Hydrographic Office has been collecting surveys since 1795 and we hold an estimated 60,000 examples, mainly executed by the Royal Navy. Many have been published in their entirety, or included in part, in printed Admiralty charts. Surveys dated before 1830 are being transferred to The National Archives.

UKHO Archives Building in Taunton

Record copies of Admiralty charts (old copy bundles)

Record copies of published Admiralty charts, produced since 1800, are an important part of the archive. However, we do not have a copy of every chart ever published by the Hydrographic Office, but we do have the most complete collection in the United Kingdom. We do not have a copy of every correction to every chart, but it is possible to follow the history of most charts from the 1830s to the present day.

Our record copies are arranged by chart number. This collection is known as the 'old copy bundle' system. There is no single catalogue of its contents, but access to the charts can be made through the published catalogues of charts. The earliest catalogue we hold dates from 1825 and electronic versions of catalogues can be downloaded here:

A digital version of the Admiralty chart catalogue for 1898 is available at:
http://www.archive.org/stream/catalogueofadmir00grearich/catalogueofadmir00grearich_djvu.txt

Copies of Admiralty charts are also held by many institutions in Great Britain and abroad. The larger collections include:

Some Admiralty charts are available on the internet at:

Coastal views

A view of the coast from the sea was an essential aid to navigation. Subsequently the Hydrographic Office accumulated many hundreds of views, some of them appeared in engraved form on the face of Admiralty Charts and in Admiralty Sailing Directions. A large collection of 18th, 19th and early 20th century coastal views, covering most areas of the world, are now deposited at the National Archives at Kew (TNA series ADM 344).

To access their catalogue visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/search.asp

Correspondence, Ships' Reports, Minutes and Data

To support the use of surveys and charts the Hydrographic Office has retained a number of letters (from 1815), minutes (from 1825) and supporting data. These were catalogued by Lt-Cdr A.C.F. David and issued as A provisional catalogue of logs, journals, documents, letters, record copies of books and pamphlets published by the Hydrographic Department and held in its archives at the Hydrographic Department, Ministry of Defence, Taunton, Somerset in 1974. An unrevised electronic version of this catalogue can be obtained on request.

Please note that much of the material included in the catalogue will be transferred to The National Archives.

Notices to Mariners, Lights Lists and Tide Tables

We hold a complete run of printed Notices to Mariners from 1834, Lights Lists from 1827 and Tide Tables from 1833. We also hold some correspondence and records concerning these publications but they are not in one discrete series and it can involve a lengthy search to identify them. Notices to Mariners published from 2003 onwards are available on our website http://www.ukho.gov.uk/nms.

Information and queries

To find out more about the archive and researching its contents please contact:
Archive Research Section
Tel: +44 (0)1823 337900 ext 3670
Fax: +44 (0)1823 352561
Email: research@ukho.gov.uk

Information Asset Register

Our Information Asset Register (IAR) contributes to the government-wide IAR, available through the Office of Public Sector Information. It is compiled under the guidance of Her Majesty's Stationery Office and contains listings of those datasets and databases which are unpublished and are not intended for general publication by us. Datasets and databases that contribute to our published products are not listed here.

More about our products

Please note: the IAR contains information listings only. It does not provide direct access to holdings or contain the full content of the datasets listed.

[+] A bibliography of books and articles on the history of the Hydrographic Office
SUBJECT: Hydrographic Office,Royal Navy Surveying Service,history
IARN: MD042-LIB0002 DATE: 1993 LAST UPDATE: n/a CREATOR: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office COMMENTS: n/a
DESC: A list of books and articles concerned with a) the foundation in 1795 and, b) the growth and development of the Hydrographic Office up to 1970.
SOURCE: The information is created and held by the united Kingdom Hydrographic Office.
COVERAGE
: n/a FORMAT: Pamphlet (4 pages) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: 0001454 RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: n/a
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] A provisional catalogue of logs, journals, documents, letters, record copies of books and pamphlets published by the Hydrographic Department and held in its archives.
SUBJECT: Hydrographic Office,Royal Navy Surveying Service,tides,Royal Navy,ships' logs,survey data books,sailing directions,coastal views,lights list,Admiralty list of radio signals,correspondence,archives,manuscripts,letters,geographical positions
IARN
: D042-LIB0003 DATE: 1974 LAST UPDATE: n/a
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: The departmental records held by the archives of the Hydrographic Office are Public Records deposited outside the Public Record Office. The records are still required for active use inside the office. The catalogue has not been verified as complete.
DESC
: A catalogue of ships' logs, journals, documents, letters, record copies of books and pamphlets published by the Hydrographic Department and held in its archives. It is arranged in 22 sections by category of material.
SOURCE
: The information is created and held by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Loose-leaf file (500 pages) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: 0001847 RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: n/a
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Catalogue of Admiralty Charts and Publications
SUBJECT: charts,hydrographic,Admiralty List of Lights,Admiralty List of Radio Signals,Admiralty Tide Tables,Admiralty Sailing Directions,Admiralty Distance Tables,Admiralty Astronomical data,Chart catalogues,Hydrographic Practice and Symbols,Meteorological Publications,Oceanographic Publications,Notice to Mariners,Admiralty Collection,Wrecks service,Law of the Sea Service,Tidal Predictions,Chart Agents,Admiralty Distributors
IARN
: MD042-MSU00001 DATE: 2000 LAST UPDATE: 2000
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: This publication is updated by Notices to Mariners as required
DESC
: List of all commercially available United Kingdom Hydrographic Office charts, publications, services and products
SOURCE
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office COVERAGE: WorldwideFORMAT: Book LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: NP131 RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Annually
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Departmental files
SUBJECT: hydrography,surveying,charting,letters,correspondence,19th century,20th century
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00002 DATE: 1866LAST UPDATE: 2000
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: Any information supplied to the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office by a third party will require their permission before it can be copied and distributed.
DESC
: Incoming and outgoing correspondence, reports, departmental minutes and action taken. These are files contain the whole range of work associated with hydrography all over the world including records of administrative work undertaken when parts of the Professional and Naval Divisions were housed at Bath during World War II. There is correspondence with the following: Officers in charge of of surveys in the India Marine, the Astronomer Royal, Greenwich Observatory, Government Departments, Board of Trade, War Office, India Office, Colonial Office, Foreign Office, Ordnance Office, Meteorological Office, Lloyds, Trinity House, Northern Lights, Irish Lights, Foreign Hydrographic Offices, private and commercial organisations connected with surveying, hydrography and charting from all over the world. A small number are classified.
SOURCE
: Information from Foreign Hydrographic Offices, commercial companies, private individuals, Government offices, Royal Navy and bodies connected with hydrography, charting and surveying worldwide.
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Text: Paper file(s) Book(s) Document(s) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: HH H H(W) S H(MO) HC HD HN HP HS IS M RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: On receipt
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Historical Indexes
SUBJECT: hydrography,indexes,records,minute books,letters,19th century
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00003DATE: 1791 LAST UPDATE: 1924
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: In the 1950s a sum of money was made available to enable Vice-Admiral Sir Archibald Day, a former Hydrographer, to write his book 'The Admiralty Hydrographic Service 1795-1919'. To enable this book to be written it was necessary to examine and index certain departmental records. This examination was done by Mr Stigant and Mr Luff, formerly of the Hydrographic Office, who prepared the indexes for this purpose. These indexes comprising 15 volumes, index departmental correspondence, mainly of the 19th century and include a large number of abstracts of historical interest. The money allocated to this indexing ran out before the work was completed. In particular the surveyors letters have not been abstracted.
DESC
: Partial indexes and abstracts of some 19th century Hydrographic Office records
SOURCE
: Information found in the Hydrographic Office archives
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: TEXT: Book(s)LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: INDRIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Hydrographic Surveys: Bathymetric sheets
SUBJECT: hydrography,bathymetry,bottom quality,soundings,17th century,18th century,19th century,20th century
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00004DATE: 1681 (17th century) LAST UPDATE:: 2000
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: This series includes data supplied by third parties which is not allowed to be copied withour written permission from the supplier. The surveys can be viewed by appointment only. This series contains many undated surveys and maps, some dating from the 17th century
DESC
: Hydrographic survey information including some bathymetric and bottom quality data sheets
SOURCE
: Royal Navy, Foreign Hydrographic Offices, commercial companies, private individuals, harbour masters, port authorities, local authorities, engineering companies and private developers
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Single sheets and some books with folded sheets LANGUAGE:: English
DB ACRONYM
: a-z A-E G-H K-M RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ:: Upon receipt
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, el: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Hydrographic Surveys: Bottom Quality sheets
SUBJECT: hydrography,bottom quality,20th century
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00023 DATE: 20th century LAST UPDATE: 2000
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: n/a
DESC
: Hydrographic survey information showing bottom quality data sheets
SOURCE
: Royal Navy
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Single sheets and some books with folded sheets LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: K M K M RIGHTS: Limited UPDATE FREQ: Upon receipt
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Index to Minute Books
SUBJECT: index,minute books
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00006 DATE: 1846LAST UPDATE: 1922
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: These contemporary manuscript indexes also cover the series of files known as 'HD' papers.
DESC
: Index to the series of volumes known as Minute Books
SOURCE
: Contemporary index created by the Hydrographic Office
COVERAGE
: n/a FORMAT: Books (9 volumes) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: IMBRIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: n/a
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Index to Outgoing Letter Books
SUBJECT: index,abstracts,letters,correspondence,surveyors
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00005 DATE: 1857 LAST UPDATE: 1925
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: Contemporary manuscript indexes.
DESC
: Index of letters received in the Hydrographic Office from 1857 to 1925
SOURCE
: These contemporary indexes were compiled by staff of the Hydrographic Office.
COVERAGE
: n/a FORMAT: Books (4 volumes) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: ILBRIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: n/a
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Instructions to Surveying Ships
SUBJECT: surveying,survey ships,instructions
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00007DATE: 1926 LAST UPDATE:: 1936
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: n/a
DESC
: Letters and instructions to surveying ships.
SOURCE
: Data created by the Hydrographic Office as a record of instructions to officers
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Text: Book LANGUAGE:: English
DB ACRONYM
: ISS RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, el: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Journal of Engraving
SUBJECT: chart corrections,engraving,Admiralty charts,notices to mariners,notice to mariners
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00008 DATE: 1861 LAST UPDATE:: 1910
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: These ledgers contain details about a chart sent for engraving, if passed out of the office and details of the recipient. They are an important source for tracing corrections to charts prior to 1910 when the 'Chart Histories ledger' system was introduced.
DESC
: These ledgers contain details of corrections to Admiralty charts actioned by notice to mariners and by office correction.
SOURCE
: Contemporary record created by the Hydrographic Office
COVERAGE
: orldwideFORMAT: Books (31 volumes) LANGUAGE:: English
DB ACRONYM
: JNLERIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: n/a
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Miscellaneous Papers
SUBJECT: Royal Royal Navy,navigation,surveys,letters,correspondence,coastal views,charts,trade,tides,astronomy,fortifications,anchorage,hydrography
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00010 DATE: 1760 LAST UPDATE: 1853
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office COMMENTS: It was obligatory for ships captains to supply this information.
DESC
: A series of manuscript ships remark books giving information on coasts and ports visited by Royal Naval vessels from 1760 to 1853. The majority of books are divided up into the following headings: 1) Place and time of observations 2) Descriptions for sailing in and out of ports 3) Marks for anchoring 4) Of wooding and watering 5) Of provisions and refreshment 6) Descriptions of fortifications and watering places 7) Further descriptions in regards to trade, etc. This series also includes some survey drawings and a few letters.
SOURCE
: Records created by ships' captains and sent to the Admiralty, and after 1795, to the Hydrographer of the Navy for use in the compilation of charts and navigational publications
COVERAGE
: n/a FORMAT: 114 volumes containg approx. 5000 remark books LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: MISCPPRIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Outgoing Letter Books
SUBJECT: correspondence,letters,hydrography,surveying
IARN
: MD042-HDC0001-00009DATE: 1815 LAST UPDATE: 1893
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: See the 'Historical Indexes' for abstracts of some letters in this series.
DESC
: Copies of letters sent out from the Hydrographic Office from 1815-1887 and 1892-1893 covering all aspects of work undertaken by the office
SOURCE
: Contemporary record created by the Hydrographic Office
COVERAGE
: n/a FORMAT: Books (32 volumes) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: LB RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Photogrammetric Plots
SUBJECT: hydrography,photogrammetry,aerial photography
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00011 DATE: 1952 LAST UPDATE: 2000
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext3451, fax +44 01823 352561
COMMENTS
: Some photogrammetric data is derived from third party information and as such is not availbe to be copied without written permission from the party concerned. The photographs can be viewed by appointment only. DESC: Photogrammetric plots prepared from aerial photographs showing hydrographic and topographic information used for the preparation of nautical charts
SOURCE
: Aerial photography held at the Hydrographic Office is mainly from Ordnance Survey and the Royal Air Force
COVERAGE
: n/a FORMAT: Plastic film sheetsc LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: Pg RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: On receipt of new photography CONTACT/DISTRIB: Not available for distribution. Please contact the Creator for further details.

[+] Returns of Surveys
SUBJECT: surveys,hydrographic surveying,royal navy
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00013 DATE: 1851 LAST UPDATE: 1999
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: n/a
DESC
: Annual returns of surveys executed by Royal Navy vessels giving the geographical area covered
SOURCE
: Information provided by Staff Officer Survey Planning (SOSP) COVERAGE: Worldwide FORMAT: Book LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: RTNSRIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Annually
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Research Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Ship's Logs
SUBJECT: royal navy,ships,log,Dispatch,Kelpie,Starling,Styx,Virago,Young Hebe,surveying,hydrography
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00014DATE: 1832 LAST UPDATE: 1853
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: The Starling, Styx, Virago and Young Hebe were all employed in surveying duties.
DESC
: Official record of the day-to-day work carried out aboard the following ships: Dispatch, Kelpie, Starling, Styx, Virago and Young Hebe. SOURCE: Royal Navy
COVERAGE
: West Indies,West Coast of Mexico,Pacific Ocean,China Sea,Azores,West Coast of Canada,Pitcairn Island,China FORMAT: Book LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: SPLG RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: n/a
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Analysis Reports - 2006 routine resurveys
SUBJECT: temperature,wind,weather,hydrographic surveys,coastal views,hydrography,surveying,royal navy
IARN
: MD042-HDC-001-00012 DATE: 1834 LAST UPDATE: 1909
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext3451, fax +44 01823 352561
COMMENTS
: A list of remark books is available on request but there is no geographical index to the contents.
DESC
: Information from ship's captains of ports and harbours visited between 1834 and 1909. From 1861 the remarks are contained in hard-back printed books giving details of current, temperature, wind, weather and remarks. There are some hydrographic surveys and coastal views contained in the remark books in this series.
SOURCE
: Information provided by Royal Naval Captains. COVERAGE: Worldwide FORMAT: Book LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: RB RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: Not available for distribution. Please contact the Creator for further details.

[+] Survey Data Books: Astronomical Observations
SUBJECT: astronomy,astronomical,royal navy,surveying,geographical positions
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00015 DATE: 1825 LAST UPDATE: 1894
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: A list of volumes is available under the following headings: Station [geographical area], year, observe, ship and remarks.
DESC
: Astronomical Observations made by Royal Navy officers for geographical positions.
SOURCE
: Royal Navy
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Book (90 volumes) LANGUAGE:: English
DB ACRONYM
: SDB1 RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ:: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, el: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Survey Data Books: Triangulation Data
SUBJECT: Royal Navy,surveying,triangulation
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00016 DATE: 1801 LAST UPDATE: 1955
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: A list is available under the following headings: Station [area], year, observer, ship and remarks.
DESC
: Triangulation readings recorded by Royal Navy officers.
SOURCE
: Royal Navy
COVERAGE
: orldwideFORMAT: Book (114 volumes) LANGUAGE:: English
DB ACRONYM
: SDB3 RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ:: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: Not available for distribution. Please contact the Creator for further details.

[+] Survey Planning ledgers
SUBJECT: surveying,hydrography,Royal Navy
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00017 DATE: 1919 LAST UPDATE: 2000
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: The first volume is also known as 'The White Book' and is used as an aide memoir for long-term survey planning
DESC
: A list of areas and localities requiring survey with sources of reports and notes of any action taken.
SOURCE
: Royal Navy Superintendent of Survey Planning
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Book LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: SVPL RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ:: On receipt of information
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, el: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Surveying Expenses
SUBJECT: surveying,hydrography,Royal Navy,finance
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00018
DATE
: 1881 LAST UPDATE:: 1888
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: n/a DESC: Contains details of the costs involved with particular Royal Navy surveys
SOURCE
: Royal Navy
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Book (1 volume) LANGUAGE:: English
DB ACRONYM
: SVEX RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ:: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Research Manager, el: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Surveyors' Letter Books: Outgoing
SUBJECT: surveying,Royal Navy,Hydrographic Office,correspondence,letters,surveyors
IARN
: MD042-HDC001-00019 DATE: 1866 LAST UPDATE: 1921
CREATOR
: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS
: A series of contemporary manuscript indexes are available.
DESC
: Copies of letters sent to Royal Navy Hydrographic Surveyors from the Hydrographic Office.
SOURCE
: Record created by the Hydrographic Office
COVERAGE
: Worldwide FORMAT: Book (25 volumes) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM
: SLBORIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB
: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Surveyors' Letters (Series 1)
SUBJECT: Royal Navy,surveying,hydrography,correspondence,letters
IARN: MD042-HDC001-00020 DATE: 1818 LAST UPDATE: 1873
CREATOR: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS: A list of the first series is available containing brief details of the contents of each packet and the dates covered. Items are ordered from archives by quoting the prefix followed by the packet number, e.g. SL27.
DESC: Letters received by the Hydrographic Office from Royal Navy surveying officers
SOURCE: Royal Navy record of letters received from hydrographic surveyors
COVERAGE: Worldwide FORMAT: Letters (132 packets) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM: SL RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] Surveyors' Letters (Series 2)
SUBJECT: Royal Navy,surveying,hydrography,correspondence,letters
IARN: MD042-HDC001-00021 DATE: 1866 LAST UPDATE: 1913
CREATOR: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS: A list of the second series is available containing the name of the surveyor and the dates covered. Items are ordered from archives by quoting the prefix followed by the year number, e.g. SL1899.
DESC: Letters received by the Hydrographic Office from Royal Navy surveying officers
SOURCE: Royal Navy record of letters received from hydrographic surveyors
COVERAGE: Worldwide FORMAT: Letters LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM: SL RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office Framework Document, April 1996
SUBJECT: agency,finance,Hydrographic Office,trading fund
IARN: MD042-LIB0001 DATE: 1996 LAST UPDATE: n/a
CREATOR: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS: n/a
DESC: This document sets out the relationship that the agency has with government departments and with its customers.
SOURCE: The information is created and held by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office.
COVERAGE: n/a FORMAT: Booklet LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM: 000782 000782 RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: n/a
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561

[+] View Folios
SUBJECT: views,Royal Navy,coastline,harbours,ports,coastal profiles,drawings,sketches
IARN: MD042-HDC001-00022 DATE: 1700 LAST UPDATE: 1955
CREATOR: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
COMMENTS: This series also contains a few charts in printed and manuscript format. After 1955 the coastal views are uncatalogued but are arranged in a geographical order with an index of areas kept with the folios.
DESC: Graphical images of coastal profiles, or views, supplied to the Hydrographic Office by Royal Navy officers and civilians
SOURCE: Records held by the Hydrographic Office and used in the production of nautical charts and publications
COVERAGE: Worldwide FORMAT: Book (104 volumes) LANGUAGE: English
DB ACRONYM: VF RIGHTS: Available UPDATE FREQ: Static
CONTACT/DISTRIB: UKHO, Archive Services Manager, tel: +44 01823 337900 ext 3451, fax +44 01823 352 561


Click here for a record of the UKHO Documents transferred to The National Archives.

Frequently asked questions

1. Can I purchase a copy of a current Admiralty chart?
Answer. Copies of current charts are not available through the Archive service, only through Admiralty Chart agents.

2. How much does it cost for a copy of an A0 size document?
Answer. A colourfast copy of an A0 size document on good quality paper will cost £40.00 plus £20.00 handling fee, plus postage and packing, plus VAT. For an order to a destination within the United Kingdom this will cost £75.60. Outside the United Kingdom prices will vary and VAT may not be applicable. To supply the same on lower quality paper will be £63.60.

3. How much does it cost for a copy of an A2 size document?
Answer. A colourfast copy of an A2 size document on good quality paper, or Somerset cotton paper, will cost £25.00 plus £20.00 handling fee, plus postage and packing, plus VAT. For an order to a destination within the United Kingdom this will cost £57.60. Outside the United Kingdom prices will vary and v.a.t. may not be applicable. To supply the same on lower quality paper will be £51.60.

4. How much does it cost for a copy of a document larger than A0 size?
Answer. For documents larger than A0 size an estimate will be provided. As this will involve stitching images together there are additional charges for this service. For example, a minimum charge for a colourfast copy of a document larger than A0 size on satin paper will be:

Filming cost: £80.00
Digital stitching: £50.00
Handling fee: £20.00
Postage and packing: £3.00
VAT: £30.60
Minimum total cost: £183.60

Additional stitches are costed at £50 per hour. Postage is based on Royal Mail First Class delivery to a destination within the United Kingdom; outside the United Kingdom postage prices will vary and VAT may not be applicable. To supply the same on lower quality paper will cost £159.60.

5. Do you have an online catalogue?
Answer. Not at present. We have catalogued thousands of documents which have been transfered to The National Archives; see http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/search.asp?j=1

6. Do I have to pay to visit the archive to undertake my own research in person?
Answer. There is no charge for entry and staff will be available to offer assistance. However, staff time is limited and any work undertaken by Research Staff will have to be paid for in advance.

7. Can I purchase a copy of a third party survey?
Answer. The UKHO holds a large quantity of third party survey data, i.e. surveys not owned by the Royal Navy. They cannot be released without the permission of the data owner. If permission in writing is obtained by the customer from the data owner, and all the copy costs paid for in advance, then the UKHO can supply a copy.

8. Can I purchase a copy of a Royal Navy survey?
Answer. Copies of Royal Navy surveys can be supplied but permission has to be obtained by Research staff. This only applies to surveys that are less than 125 years old. All copies have to be paid for in advance before they are released.

9. Can I purchase digital survey data?
Answer. Copies of Royal Navy surveys can be supplied but permission has to be obtained by Research staff; this only applies to surveys that are less than 125 years old. All copies have to be paid for in advance before they are released. Digital surveys supplied by non-Royal Navy sources cannot be released without the permission of the data owner. If permission in writing is obtained by the customer from the data owner, and all the copy costs paid for in advance, then the UKHO can supply a copy.

Requests for copies of digital survey data should be addressed to bdc@ukho.gov.uk.

10. Can I buy an unfolded current chart?
Answer. This is not possible at present.

11. How much notice do I need to give of an intended visit?
Answer. If you are a United Kingdom resident you will have to give at least two weeks notice. If you are a non-United Kingdom resident then you will have to give at least four weeks notice.

12. Do you have a copy of every Admiralty chart and publication ever produced?
Answer. No, but we do hold one of the most complete collections of Hydrographic Office publications in the World.

13. Can I purchase a copy of a Fleet Review chart?
Answer. Yes. We have Fleet Review charts dating from 1788, 1856 and from then on a complete collection up until the late 1990s.

14. Do you allow group visits for a tour of the Archive?
Answer. Due to staff shortages and the transfer of documents to The National Archives we are unable to accept group visits for a tour of the Archive at this time.

15. Will someone be available to help me with my research if I visit?
Answer. Research staff will be supervising your visit and available to answer any reasonable question. However, staff time is limited and any work undertaken by Research Staff over and above giving advice will have to be paid for in advance.

16. Can I pay someone to undertake the research for me?
Answer. There are two options. First, you can pay the UKHO to undertake the research for you at £80 per hour plus v.a.t. Or, alternatively, you can employ a record agent to come to the UKHO on your behalf. A list of record agents is available on request.

17. How long will my order take to arrive?
Answer. Please allow a minimum of ten working days for an order to be despatched after making payment, depending on the complexity of the order.

18. Do you hold information on shipwrecks?
Answer. With effect from 13 December 2011 we will be unable to provide a Wreck Information Service and users are advised to use alternative sources. In line with Government Policy, UKHO grants permission to 3rd parties to re-use the data contained in its Wrecks Data Base and therefore enquirers are requested to make use of one of a number of 3rd party web based services. Typing "UKHO wrecks" into a search engine will show alternative sources for wrecks information.

In addition to this we hold some historic charts showing wrecks, notices to mariners and associated correspondence, but this does not cover all the wreck sites all over the World.

19. Do you hold information on tides?
Answer. Please see our web pages for more information on tides. In addition to this we hold some observations and correspondence, but mainly from the 1900s onwards.

20. Can I buy a printed historic chart?
Answer. Please visit the Sea Chest Nautical Bookshop website for details of historic charts published as part of the Admiralty Collection http://www.seachest.co.uk/acatalog/Sea_Chest_Admiralty_Collection_Archive_Charts_133.html.

21. How do I apply for copyright permission?
Answer. Please visit our copyright website for more information.