A Very Palpable Hit: the State of Maritime Historical Research Conference 2017

Greenwich, 0900, Saturday 9 September: will anybody actually come? will the speakers be any good? will the technology work? is this, the first conference that the Society for Nautical Research has ever staged under its own auspices, going to be a success? Greenwich, 1745, Saturday 9 September: yes, they did; yes, they were; yes, it […]

UPDATE – The Battle of Northampton; or, Are You Carmarthenshire in Disguise?

This afternoon, Friday 4 August, Northamptonshire County Council has announced that, in the short term at least, it’s backing down over the woefully misconceived and crassly announced scheme described in my post below. You can find a link to the full statement, and some clarifying remarks, here. While this is clearly welcome, the long term […]

You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time (Redux)

The current media storm about ‘alternative facts’ put me in mind of a post I first published on 1 November 2011, when this blog was read by two men, a dog, and a vole called Kevin. So I thought I’d re-post it now for a rather wider audience, especially as it chimes neatly with some […]

The Kings of Post-Truth

OK, right, all this ‘post-truth’ malarkey, then. Now, you know you’re never going to get out-and-out politics in this blog, for reasons I might fully elucidate one day. But for various reasons, I’ve been getting a little peeved with all this media hype about ‘post-truth’, ‘fake news’, and so on and so forth. To me, […]

Noah’s Archive

So there are conferences which you go to and think ‘meh’, conferences which take place on a Saturday and you’ve completely forgotten what they were all about by Monday, and the conferences that fire you up and leave the building thinking you’re Thor or Wonder Woman (delete as applicable) and that the bad guys had […]

Game of Hats

Back after a terrific weekend at the Historical Novel Society conference in Oxford. Yes, there were big guns – Melvyn Bragg, Fay Weldon et al – but as always at such events, the information and ideas coming out of the panel sessions were more important, and the networking was more important still. In the latter […]

A Darker Angel

Last week, I posted the first few pages of the fictional plot of Death’s Bright Angel as a ‘teaser trailer’ for the book’s forthcoming publication. But as I’ve mentioned before, this title is actually ‘two books in one’, with the second part being a detailed historical analysis of the evidence surrounding the outbreak of the Great Fire. […]

Highways and Byways of the Seventeenth Century: The McEnroe Moment

Busy, busy, busy! So a slightly modified reblog of an older post this week, this one from pretty much exactly four years ago, in April 2012.  Every now and again, a historian comes across a snippet of information so bizarre that he or she reacts by silently quoting a certain illustrious tennis player – ‘you […]

The Real Gentlemen Captains, Redux, Part I

In the lead-up to my appearance on 13 March at Weymouth Leviathan, Britain’s first maritime literary festival, I thought I’d reblog some of my very earliest posts on this site, from November 2011, about some of the characters who will be making appearances during my talk. Here’s the first of them! People often ask me […]

Highways and Byways of the Seventeenth Century: the Prince of Transylvania

Time for another in my (very) occasional series of oddities and little-known tales that I’ve stumbled across during the course of my research. Actually, though, this was one that I came across during my teaching career, my ‘day job’ for thirty or so years. Back in 1987, I took up a new post at Bedford […]