New Researchers Conference 8/9 April 2022 

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New Researchers Conference

Research degree students and independent scholars are warmly encouraged to share their work at our annual New Researchers Conference.

New Researchers in Maritime History Conference

At this annual conference, the British Commission supports emerging scholars who wish to share their work in a supportive environment and build relations with other maritime historians. We encourage applications from research degree students and warmly encourage participation by independent scholars. Contributions can address all aspects of maritime history in its broadest sense.

It is held in the spring of each year, and the location moves around Britain, as the conference is hosted by a variety of universities and museums and is sponsored by the Society for Nautical Research. 

BCMH Conference 2022, at Chatham Dockyard 8-9 April

The British Commission for Maritime History (BCMH), in association with the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, invites you to join them for the twenty-seventh conference for new researchers. For 400 years Chatham dockyard provided new ships and repair facilities for the Royal Navy, from sailing warships, steam warships to submarines.

It is a wonderful location in which to hold this annual conference, which is supported by the Society for Nautical Research. The conference provides a unique opportunity to hear from new scholars presenting their work in a historic setting.

Please note that booking has now closed on Eventbrite

We look forward to welcoming you to this in-person event! 

Conference Programme

(Full programme - downloadable pdf)

Friday 8th April : From 14:00 there will be opportunities for delegates to join guided tours of The Historic Dockyard Chatham.  

17:30 registration

18:00  Welcome & Keynote Lecture

‘Fit for Purpose: Merchant Shipbuilders and the Naval Dockyards during the Napoleonic Wars’

Dr Helen Doe.

As the Navy Board expanded warship building from 1801 it was forced to use a wider network of merchant shipbuilders across England. Many had never built on this scale before. This talk examines the challenges both for the Navy Board and for the small businesses. Appropriately for Chatham Dockyard, it features Mrs Mary Ross of Rochester, a redoubtable businesswoman who deserves to be celebrated.

This will be followed by a buffet and the opportunity to explore the Award-Winning Command of the Oceans Galleries. This Gallery features two internationally significant maritime archaeological discoveries – the timbers of the Namur (1756), intriguingly laid to rest beneath the floor of the old Wheelwrights’ workshop, and an incredible treasure trove of archaeological objects recovered from the sea bed, from the Invincible (1758

Saturday 9 April

9:00 Welcome

9:30 – 10:45 Session One

Philanthropy and Innovation

Paul Mersh, (University of Greenwich) Charles Gordon's work among boys in Gravesend

Samantha Jones (University of Exeter) ‘We have fairly started a very valuable institution': The Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Board of Trade – state aid at a time of laissez-faire -

Joao Simoes, (University of Lisbon) Royal Yacht Amelia IV - An innovative ship of its time 

10.45-11.15 Coffee

11.15 -12.30 Session Two:-

Social Worlds of the Navy

Lee-Jane Giles, (University of Plymouth) “These Strictly Honest Guards”: Theft and the Marine Corps, 1755-1779

Andrew Venn, (Independent)  Duty, Devis and the Doctor: The Legend of the Death of Lord Nelson

Manon Williams, (University of St Andrews)  Discipline and Addiction: The Medical Treatment of Drunkenness in the British Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815)  

12.30-13:30 Lunch

14.00 to 15.15 Session Three:

Maritime Communities

Ben Weddell, (Goldsmiths, University of London) Shared Identities in the Maritime Communities of the Thames, the Medway, and the Downs, 1650-1685

Michael Powell-Davies, (University of Kent), Middling Culture and the Authorship of People and Place in Early Modern Maritime London

Andrew Lyter (Lewes Historical Society, Delaware), Navigating the Channels of Freedom: Black Pilots and the HMS Poictiers, 1812-1813  

15.15 to 15.45 Tea

15.45 to 17.00 Session Four:

Maritime Protest and Piracy

Robin Plant, (University of Liverpool) The Age of Atlantic Revolution: Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Political Thought of Thomas Spence and Robert Wedderburn

David Isserman, (Edge Hill University) Red Jack Tar: Syndicalism and Industrial Unionism among maritime workers in Liverpool, 1911-1925

Nathan Jopling, (University of Birmingham) The Jamaica Discipline and the Epochial Nature of Anglo-American Caribbean Piracy (1660-1730)



World Ship Society Bursaries

The World Ship Society (WSS) is please to be able to offer five bursaries, each worth £100, to support attendance at the forthcoming BCMH New Researcher's Conference in Chatham Historic Dockyard. 

Ph.D students and independent researchers studying maritime topics are invited to apply to the WSS for assistance with the costs associated with attendance at this conference. It is expected that most applicants will be presenting papers but those just wishing to attend will also be considered. Successful applicants will be awarded £100 towards their travel and/or accommodation costs. Please complete the WSS Bursary Application form and return to the WSS by 1 April 2022

Please note that booking has now closed on Eventbrite

For more information about the Conference, please write to our New Researchers Coordinator.

The Commission supports a clear Code of Conduct during its events.

See details of previous New Researchers Conferences



ss Great Britain, host of the 2018 New Researchers’ Conference

ss Great Britain, host of the 2018 New Researchers Conference

Floating exhibits Swansea cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Chris Allen -

Swansea – location for our 2009 New Researchers Conference