A School of Navigation was established in the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, in 1910, and a course for marine cadets was started in 1912. Previous to this the Board of Trade had been approached by the College to obtain recognition of attendance at navigation classes, probably in a remission of sea service on lines similar to that given to other nautical institutions. This, and subsequent representations made to the Board for recognition of a cadet course and of senior courses, were turned down by the Board because the College was not a residential institution.
After the First World War, it was decided that official opposition might be broken down if all schools in England and Scotland took joint action. It was suggested that a meeting of responsible teachers of navigation should be held in Liverpool on 9 November 1917 at the Central Technical School, Byrom Street. The ports of Bristol, Liverpool, London, Plymouth, South Shields, Aberdeen, Greenock and Glasgow were represented. The meeting resolved that the Board of Trade be requested to accept a period of not more than twelve weeks spent in navigation school recognised for this purpose by the Board, as equivalent to the same period of sea service, for the purpose of qualifying for the Board's Certificates of Competency as Second Mate.
It was agreed that the Shipowners' Associations and the Mercantile Marine Service Association should be asked for support. It was decided that the Body should remain in existence and be named the "Conference of Navigation Schools", meeting on future occasions for the discussion of subjects of professional importance. The word "Conference" was changed to "Association" in 1933.
Mr. W. Merrifield of Liverpool was elected Chairman. A printed letter was sent to the Board of Trade in May 1918, but the request for recognition was refused. The Association then appealed to the President to receive a deputation, which was heard on 8 June 1918 and the Board agreed to recognise the schools. A course for cadets preparatory to going to sea was drawn up, the conditions for the granting of a remission of sea service being announced by the Board of Trade in July 1919.
The collection consists of mainly administrative papers relating to the association and its affiliates. It includes minutes, correspondence, publications and reports mainly focusing on course structures and examinations. There is a substantial amount of material relating to the Departments of Trade and Industry, and Education, as well as several committees who took an active role in supporting the Association.
The collection is arranged into six series, each relating to one of the bodies involved in the running of the Association. It dates from the early 1950s through to the mid-1980s and consists of eight boxes.
Related material at the Maritime Archives & Library includes an earlier deposit of Association papers which can be found at reference D/ANS. This contains minutes, correspondence and booklets and dates up to the late 1960s. The collection is accessible to any reader within the Maritime Archives & Library Searchroom.