The British Commission for Maritime History

Undergraduate Prizes

Undergraduate Achievement in Maritime History

The British Commission awards a small number of £75 prizes each year for undergraduate dissertations in the broad field of maritime history. The Commission's aims are to encourage students to pursue maritime questions in their final year research, and to reward the best of that work.

Subjects eligible for consideration reflect the Commission's view of maritime history as a wide-ranging discipline. It includes topics such as shipping, seafaring, ports, seapower, maritime labour, coastal communities, trade, exploration, shipbuilding, navigation and fishing, and embraces a wide range of political, economic, social, technological and cultural approaches.

Nominations must be made by Heads of Department or equivalent, and the closing date for entries is 1 August in each year. Final year dissertations awarded first class marks are eligible for consideration. Project work will also be considered where extensive use is made of primary evidence, and where the portfolio includes an extended piece of writing.

For further information, please contact the Hon Secretary.

Prize winners


  • Jonathon Grant (Durham University)
    Pamphlets, Protestantism, and Profiteering: English captivity accounts of the Barbary Coast, 1587-1704
  • David Hazeel (University of Exeter)
    Reforming the Lower Decks of the Royal Navy, 1898-1919: The Role and Influence of Lionel Yexley
  • Alexander Jeffery (University of Oxford)
    Admiral Sir Benjamin Caldwell, 1739-1820: An Irish Protestant in the Navy
  • Joseph La Hausse de Lalouvière (University of Cambridge)
    Joseph-François Charpentier de Cossigny and Enlightened Reform in the French Indian Ocean, 1763-1809
  • Ian Parker (University of Portsmouth)
    An Island as Janus: The Two Faces of Jamaica
  • Peter Randle (University of Hull)
    The Mystically Minded Mariner


    • Zakir Asver (London School of Economics)
      The British Privateering Enterprise: Decentralization, Productivity and Incentives during the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War, 1739-1763
    • Edward Gillin (University of Kent)
      “Diligent in Business, Serving the Lord”: John Burns, Evangelicalism and Cunard’s Culture of Speed, 1878-1914
    • Peter Jones (University of Hull)
      Jack Tar and the Periodical Press: What Periodicals Can Tell Us about the Movement for Reform of Merchant Shipping, 1850-1900
    • Samuel William Le Pard (University of Nottingham)
      An Environmental History of Orfordness
    • Laura Smith (Newcastle University)
      Human Intercourse and Human Improvement: the Journey of Seven Japanese Sailors around the World
    • Joshua Montague-Munson (Queen's University)
      The Early Years of the South Sea Company


      • Max Cosby (Newcastle University)
        The Politics of Aircraft Carriers and the Royal Navy, 1965-2010
      • Cameron Dron (University of Glasgow)
        The Evacuation of St. Kilda: A Reassessment
      • Ryan Charteris (Queen's University Belfast)
        Sir Thomas Lipton and the Americas Cup
      • Olivia Pengelly (University of Hull)
        How the Board of Trade reacted to Colour Blindness and the Impact on Safety at Sea, 1877-1914
      • Heather Stewart (University of Edinburgh)
        Unintended Consequences: The Scottish Fishing Industry and British Fisheries Policy, 1950-80
      • Malcolm Venning (King's College London)
        The Italian Navy, 1915-1018: Ally or Incubus?


      • Theodora Burrell (University of Glasgow)
        Pirates and Piracy; Different representations and attitudes in A General History of the Pyrates (1724 and later editions)
      • Rebecca Chenery (University of Edinburgh)
        A whale over time: The value of the catch versus the value of conservation in IWC negotiations, 1946-1974
      • Richard Dunley (King's College London)
        An analysis of Royal Navy mine warfare policy, 1904-1910
      • Thomas Humphreys (University of Manchester)
        The 'Golden Age' of Piracy and the West African slave trade, 1689-1726
      • Mark Petersen (St Anne's College, Oxford)
        The 'Baltimore' Affair and the question of American neutrality during the Chilean revolution of 1891
      • Max Thompson (University of Nottingham)
        England and the 'Golden Age' of the Barbary Corsairs, c. 1620-1660


      • Matthew Briggs (London School of Economics)
        The transition from sail to steam-powered trawlers: How did it affect the living standards of Hull fishermen, 1884-1913?
      • Andrew Robinson (University of Hull)
        Better protected than Trafalgar Square: Were the local authorities guilty of over-reaction during the 1893 Hull dock strike?
      • Matthew Phillips (University of Nottingham)
        The English navy and merchant shipping, 1377-85
      • Christopher Fowler (King’s College London)
        Genuine threat or useful pretext? Extraregional state responses to contemporary maritime piracy in Southeast Asia
      • Richard Miller (University of Nottingham)
        Atlantic slavery and the revolution in cotton textile production in Lancashire: A critique of the Inikori thesis
      • Simon Williams (University of Leicester)
        The Dardanelles debacle: Forcing the Straits, 1915


      • Sarah Collinson (Somerville College, University of Oxford)
        The social world of the female transportee: Power structures and social relations on the Lady Juliana and other First Fleet convict ships, 1787-9
      • Kelly Davis (University of Exeter)
        The introduction and development of searchlights in the Royal Navy
      • Philip Meakins (University of Exeter)
        The English chart-making trade from 1650-1700, and its reaction to English maritime expansion
      • Andrew Pritchard (University of Hull)
        Social reform in the late Victorian mercantile marine: The case of the Merchant Seamen Bill 1878
      • Thomas Sheppard (University of Exeter)
        Manpower issues in the Fleet Air Arm, 1939-1945
      • Scott Sullivan (Durham University)
        Dreadnought? An examination of the social impact of the 1906 launch of the Dreadnought and the 1909 visit of the Fleet to Southend


      • James Ainsworth (University of Manchester)
        The Imperial Maritime League in British politics and society, 1908-1913
      • Rafael Halpin (University of Oxford)
        The Titanic Relief Fund (1912) and charity
      • Daniel Marsden (University of Hull)
        The dangers of the dockside: Topography and mortality in the sailortown of Hull during the nineteenth century
      • Andrew Petersen (University of Exeter)
        The role of the Leeward Islands Squadron in the development of British naval strategy in the West Indies, 1739 to 1763
      • Jessica Scott (University of Durham)
        "Scum upon scum and dregs upon dregs": An examination of the female convicts transported to Australia 1788-1840, their experience and the perceptions surrounding them