Captain Stanley Lord, Master of the SS Californian, career papers, Titanic articles and other papers

Scope and Content

The collection contains documents dated between 1891 and 1997 and mainly concerns the campaign to clear Captain Lord of the accusations levelled against him with regard to the sinking of the Titanic. It contains Captain Lord’s career papers, and some contemporary items from 1912. The majority of the material is related to the actions of the M.M.S.A (Mercantile Marine Service Association) and Leslie Harrison from 1958 onwards. As well as providing evidence for the arguments both for and against Captain Lord, the collection also demonstrates the continuing level of public interest in the sinking of the Titanic and the strength of feeling and activities of Titanic enthusiasts and specialists.

D/LO/1 (1st Deposit): Papers from Stanley Tutton Lord (1891–1978)

  • 1/1: Career Papers of Captain Stanley Lord (1891-1922)
  • 1/2: Titanic - Captain Stanley Lord's Affidavit and Exhibits (1912-1959)
  • 1/3: Letters re Captain Stanley Lord and the Board of Trade, Inquiry into the loss of Titanic (1912)
  • 1/4: Board of Trade Inquiry Proceedings (1912)
  • 1/5: Contemporary Descriptions of Sinking (1912-1963)
  • 1/6: Articles etc. by A. M. Foweraker, supporter of Captain Lord (1913-1965)
  • 1/7: Contemporary Titanic Newspaper Articles (1912-1914)
  • 1/8: Titanic Newspaper Articles (1962-1978)
  • 1/9: Articles etc., re Titanic (1961-1970)
  • 1/10: Broadcasts (1962-1968)

D/LO/2 (2nd Deposit): Papers from Stanley Tutton Lord, 1896–1993

2/1: Papers of Captain Stanley Lord, 1896-1962

  • 2/1/1: Personal Papers, 1896-1943
  • 2/1/2: Career Papers, 1896-1962
  • 2/1/3: Letters of Support to Captain Stanley Lord re Titanic, 1912

2/2: Stanley Tutton Lord, 1908-1993

  • 2/2/1: Documents re Titanic, 1961-1991
  • 2/2/2: Newscuttings re Titanic, 1912-1992
  • 2/2/3: Books and Magazines re Titanic, 1965-1993
  • 2/2/4: Recorded Tapes re Titanic, n.d.-1992
  • 2/2/5: Photographs, (1932)-1990

D/LO/3: Papers from Leslie Harrison, 1905-1997

  • 3/1: Leslie Harrison and Captain Lord (and Stanley Tutton Lord), (1912)-1994
  • 3/2: Mercantile Marine Service Association (M.M.S.A.) campaign on behalf of Captain Lord, 1958-1996
  • 3/3: Leslie Harrison’s publications, (1912)-1996
  • 3/4: Correspondence – Leslie Harrison and various interested parties re the sinking of the Titanic and Captain Lord, 1905-1996
  • 3/5: Ships - Titanic (wreck, etc.), Californian, Carpathia, Burma, 4th Ship and Charts, (1912)-1994
  • 3/6: Press Cuttings and Publications (articles), (1912)-1997
  • 3/7: Broadcasts, (1936)-1983
  • 3/8: Recorded Tapes, (1936)-1992

Administrative / Biographical History

Captain Stanley Lord (13 September 1877 – 24 January 1962) was born in Bolton, Lancashire. After serving his apprenticeship with J. B. Walmsley & Co, Liverpool, from 1891-1896, he joined the West India & Pacific Steam Ship Company in 1897 as a third officer on the Barbadian. The company was taken over by the Leyland Line in 1899, which in turn became part of the International Mercantile Marine Company in 1902, as was the White Star Line.

Lord obtained his master’s certificate in 1901, and was given his first command, the Antillian, by the Leyland Line in 1906, aged 28. In March 1907 he married Mabel Henrietta Tutton, daughter of a retired master mariner and the couple had one son, Stanley Tutton Lord (1909-1994). In March 1911 he was made Captain of the Californian.

The Californian, commanded by Captain Lord, was in the vicinity of the Titanic as it sank on the night of the 14th April 1912. Captain Lord was summoned to appear as a witness at both the US and British inquiries into the loss of the Titanic. Both inquiries concluded that Captain Lord had failed to assist the Titanic and this had compounded the tragedy. As he had appeared only as a witness he could not directly defend himself, but only answer the questions put to him. Such was the public interest in the case that Lord was forced to resign by the Leyland Line.

Immediately after the British inquiry’s finding were published Captain Lord made a number of attempts to put his side of the story, both to the press and the Board of Trade, who refused his request to reopen the inquiry. In 1913 he was contacted by Lawther Latta, managers of the Nitrate Producers Steam Ship Company, who had received a letter in support of Lord and offered him the command of the Anglo Saxon. Lord commanded various vessels for the company until he retired from the sea due to his failing eyesight in 1928 aged 51.

Lord retired to Wallasey. In 1958, the year after the death of his wife, Mabel, the film A Night to Remember was released and enjoyed considerable success. Based on the book of the same name by Walter Lord (no relation) the film concerned the sinking of the Titanic. Lord contacted the Mercantile Marine Service Association (M.M.S.A), which he had joined in 1897, and requested assistance in correcting what he saw as an untruthful and inaccurate representation of events being presented as fact. The M.M.S.A, mainly in the guise of its General Secretary, Leslie Harrison, took up Captain Lord’s case and began a campaign to reopen the British inquiry into the loss of the Titanic, which they hoped would clear Lord of any blame in the tragedy.

After Captain Lord’s death in 1962, Leslie Harrison continued his efforts on Lord’s behalf. The location and actions of the Californian and Captain Lord in regard to the sinking of the Titanic is still a subject of discussion and disagreement.


The division of the separate accessions of material has been maintained during the listing of the collection, with the exception of the material donated by Leslie Harrison, as this had been amalgamated and the original order could not be determined. This system of arrangement means that certain types of material, for example newspaper articles or career papers of Captain Lord, can be found in more than one section of the catalogue. The contents page should be consulted when using this list.

Access Information

The Maritime Archives & Library is located on the second floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and open Tuesday to Thursday, 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.


The collection is accessible to any reader within the Maritime Archives and Library Searchroom. Access restrictions for security reasons may be placed on certain items.

Maritime Archives & Library, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AQ.

Tel: 0151 478 4424



Other Finding Aids

Searchable online Information Sheets describe the records held (and not held) in the Maritime Archives and Library, and the information they contain:

Archivist's Note

Created by Jane Ronson (Archives Hub team) using the Archives Hub EAD Editor, March 2014.

Description prepared by Sarah Starkey (Curator of Maritime Archives), 11 July 2007.

Custodial History

The collection was received by the Maritime Archives & Library, National Museums Liverpool, in 4 separate accessions. Section D/LO/1 was donated by Stanley Tutton Lord, son of Captain Lord, on 2 March 1983. A further instalment of material, D/LO/2, was received from the executors of Stanley Tutton Lord on 13th March 1995. Walter Leslie Stringer Harrison, (usually known as Leslie Harrison) former General Secretary of the Mercantile Marine Service Association deposited the records that form section D/LO/3 on 20 October 1982 and 20 March 1984, these items were gifted to National Museums Liverpool in 1996.

Related Material

The library collection of the Maritime Archives & Library holds a large number of books and pamphlets at reference code 340.TIT. These include the publications by Leslie Harrison, A Titanic Myth and Defending Captain Lord which reproduce a large amount of the original material in this collection.

The archive collection contains a small number of items relating to the Titanic, including a first class ticket for the maiden voyage and telegraphic messages sent from the Carpathia. See Guide to the Records of Merseyside Maritime Museum, volume 2, chapter 8 for full details. Stanley Lord’s service history with the Leyland Line is documented in DX/863, Captain’s Report on Officers, c.1875-1930.