This page is dedicated to the memory of late fellows and trustees of the BCMH
*Detailed content coming soon*
John Armstrong (1944-2017)
Although perhaps best remembered as a maritime historian, John Armstrong (1944-2017) also made significant contributions in other areas of transport history and in business history. John’s first degree was from the Polytechnic of Central London (now University of Westminster) under Philip Bagwell, who hired John as a new graduate to work as a research assistant on his seminal 1974 work The Transport Revolution from 1770. John also collaborated with Philip Bagwell on chapters in Transport in the Industrial Revolution (1983) and Transport in Victorian Britain (1988), amongst the first of 84 papers that John was eventually to write or co-author.
The once-neglected field of coastal shipping was one which John made very much his own, with contributions including work on shipping’s relations with railways, the conference system, development of trade routes, freight rates and coastal shipping’s role in pioneering technological change. Many of his papers were collected in The Vital Spark: The British Coastal Trade 1700-1930 (2008). Collaboration with David Williams resulted in some 20 papers on the development of steam navigation, a selection of which appeared in The Impact of Technological Change: the Early Steamship in Britain (2012). John’s wider interests in transport also saw him become a long-running editor of the Journal of Transport History, and heading the team that edited the Companion to British Road Haulage History (2003).
John’s impact in business history was also significant, including editorship of the Journal of the Business Archive Council from 1984 to 1988, and co-authorship with Stephanie Jones of Business Documents: Their Origins, Sources and Uses in Historical Research (1987). Following post-graduate studies at LSE, John was appointed as a lecturer at Ealing College of Higher Education which subsequently became Thames Valley University, where he held the Chair of Business History until he retired. He is particularly remembered for his contributions to the pioneering seminars run by Derek Oddy, which are considered to have helped business history to become a mainstream topic at British universities.
In his roles as journal editor and convener of the BCMH’s series of seminars at King’s College, John was very keen to encourage others in their research. The present writer is undoubtedly not alone in knowing John as first a highly-supportive doctoral supervisor who then went on to became a genuine friend. It is hoped that the John Armstrong Prize will be a fitting commemoration for both a notable and influential scholar, and a man who is held in very considerable affection by those privileged to have known him.
Pat Crimmin (1933-2020)
An obituary to Pat Crimmin, ex Treasurer of the BCMH, will be published in the February 2021 edition of the Mariners' Mirror.
David Proctor (1934-2000)
David Proctor, who died in July 2000, was a man of wide culture; his interests embraced maritime history, the arts, music, and much more. His book Music of the Sea demonstrated the breadth of his scholarship, ranging over the centuries and drawing on his research in many European archives.
Until his retirement, David was Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, where he was a source of advice to countless scholars, often from overseas, who sought his guidance. Such qualities led to him serving as Secretary-General of the International Commission for Maritime History in its early years. He did much to establish its structures and pattern of activity as well as contributing to its conferences held under the aegis of the International Commission for Historical Sciences. He also played a significant role in the founding of the International Congress of Maritime Museums.
David was a founder member of the British Commission and its first Secretary. He inaugurated the King’s Maritime History Seminar which he organized for many years. The annual Proctor Memorial Lecture is dedicated to David.