Although the RINA is very much committed to serving the needs of today’s maritime industry, and our members in particular, we remain deeply proud of our long history. So it’s always nice to receive a blast from the past.
Recently we’ve been ‘reunited’ with two artefacts dating back to the 19th century. Earlier this year our friends at Blackwell’s Rare Books contacted us regarding an antiquarian tome that had come into their possession: Constitution of the Scottish Shipbuilders Association. Published in 1860, the same year our own Institution was founded, the book also had a library label for RINA.
However, further investigations quickly established that it had never been officially cancelled or withdrawn from our collection. Happily the book has now been returned to us and resides once more with the many other historic volumes to be found in our Denny Library.
In a separate development, engineer Robin Kooistra was clearing his late mother’s house when he discovered an 1894 certificate bestowing membership to the Institution of Naval Architects (RINA’s name before its Royal Charter) to one ‘R.H. Penney’.
Mr Kooistra has no idea what the certificate was doing at his mother’s home but it seems highly likely that it originally belonged to Brighton-based magnate Robert Horne Penney (1825-1902), once the largest shipowner recorded in the Shoreham Shipping Registers and whose business, R.H. Penney & Sons continued to trade until as recently as 1992.
It’s anticipated the certificate will eventually go on display at RINA Headquarters pending the refurbishment but for now we’re just glad to have it back.