Samuel Plimsoll, M.P

Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898) brought about one of the greatest shipping revolutions ever known by shocking the British nation into making reforms, which saved the lives of countless seamen. By the mid-1800's, the overloading of English ships had become a major problem. Plimsoll took up as a crusade the plan of James Hall to require that vessels bear a load line marking indicating when they were overloaded, hence ensuring the safety of crew and cargo. His passionate speeches aroused the House of Commons; his book, Our Seamen, shocked the people at large into clamorous indignation. His book also earned him the hatred of many ship owners who set in motion a series of legal battles against Plimsoll. Through this adversity and personal loss, Plimsoll clung doggedly to his facts. He fought to the point of utter exhaustion until finally, in 1876, Parliament was forced to pass the Unseaworthy Ships Bill into law, requiring that vessels bear the load line freeboard marking. It was soon known as the "Plimsoll Mark" and was eventually adopted by all maritime nations of the world.

When the Plimsoll Club was established in 1967, its founders elected to name the Club after Samuel Plimsoll to honor his great contribution to international trade and to identify the Club with the Plimsoll Mark, thereby reminding all of his efforts on behalf of seamen everywhere.