Pepys Show and Tell

These days, I approach major exhibitions dealing with subjects I know something about with a considerable degree of trepidation. Maybe there’ll be massive omissions, or catastrophic errors of emphasis, that wreck the whole thing. Perhaps right-on organisers will have applied a gut-wrenchingly awful, unhistorical, and anachronistic interpretative slant. Maybe the layout of the exhibition space […]

Maritime Nation(s)?

Just over a week ago, I attended the annual conference of MOROL, the Institute of Welsh Maritime Historical Studies. This took place in the somewhat unlikely setting of Trinity St David’s University College at Lampeter. Now, Lampeter is a very nice town, but one thing it most certainly isn’t is ‘maritime’ – it’s not quite […]

Of Babies and Bathwater

Two blogs for the price of one this week – my latest, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, observations on the Carmarthenshire Archives affair/scandal/fiasco (please select favourite apocalyptic noun), and this one, some thoughts on last week’s conference at the National Maritime Museum about ‘the emergence of a maritime nation’ in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In all essential […]

The Lost Journal of Captain Greenvile Collins, Part 2

On 22 May the English ships anchored off Tenedos, which ‘lyeth right opposite the vast Ruines of old Troy’. Collins provided a long, detailed description of the island and its people, commenting in particular (as he often did in Mediterranean ports) on the merits of the local wines. He soon discovered that the ‘vast ruines’ […]

The Lost Journal of Captain Greenvile Collins, Part 1

This is the first part of an article that I wrote in the early 1990s, and which, for one reason or another, never made it to its intended home in an academic journal. I originally published it on my old website, but re-posting it in the blog seemed to be a better way of bringing […]

Annus Mirabilis: Or, a Very Good Time for 17th Century Naval History

This is turning into something of an annus mirabilis for we few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters), who nail our tattered colours to the rickety mast of seventeenth century naval history. Next month, on 4 July, there’s what promises to be a fascinating day at Hastings under the auspices of the splendid Shipwreck […]

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I recently assumed the chairmanship of the Research and Programmes committee of the Society for Nautical Research. I was very proud to do so, and as my colleague Lorna Campbell, who’s just taken up the chair of the society’s Publications Committee, blogged about her new role last week, I thought I’d follow suit! I’ve been […]

The Return of That Other Guy

Conference season again. Last week – ‘Statesmen and Seapower’ at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. This week – Naval Dockyards Society conference at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Next week – hitting my head slowly and repetitively against a wall in yet another attempt to remind myself that agreeing to give papers […]

Dead Admirals Society on Tour

I spent last week at a remote cottage in Shropshire, brainstorming ideas for new books. Shropshire, of course, is quite a long way from the sea, but even though I didn’t venture outside my ‘man cave’ very much, I still came across several interesting naval and maritime connections. In one sense, of course, Shropshire was […]

#2ADW350

Happy New Year to all! 2015 already, though…? I’m increasingly convinced that I fell through a worm hole in the space-time continuum in about 1976 and have largely lost track of things ever since. But then, I have a sneaking feeling that many of my friends, and my ex-students in particular, have suspected that all […]