The Society for the Registry of Shipping was set up in 1760 by customers of Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House in Lombard Street, London. The aim was to give merchants and underwriters recorded information on the quality of their vessels. The Register Book listed vessels rated, or classed, after the condition of their hulls and equipment had been surveyed. The subscriptions generated by the Register Book paid for the surveyors to carry out the work. This was the true beginning of classification and the Society was the world’s first classification society.
Thanks to: http://www.lr.org/en/who-we-are/heritage/brief-history/