Of Ships and Stars provides a full historical account of the development of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Using all available public records, it places the story of the museum in the context of the social and political history of Britain from the 1920s to the millennium. It examines such diverse subjects as British imperialism and the part played by national museums and galleries in reflecting national identity; the changing role of the Navy; the art market and the world Depression of the 1930s; the growth of mass society, leisure and tourism; and the increasing influence of management and government policy.
Unfortunately it's not all there: there seems to be a chunk missing between p. 123 and p. 158. This might be a navigation problem with Google Book Search, as keyword search results will sometimes find the missing pages. It's fascinating reading though, especially the description of the building of the Caird Library and rotunda. It began as: "a simple plan by the SNR to commission a bust of Sir James Caird" and ended with: "this Caird Rotunda, lined in Tivoli and Golden Travertine marble, and incorporating a fluted frieze with Caird's coat of arms above the library door". It may have cost a fair bit (£5,760) in 1937 terms but it is lovely. Renée (Digital Resources Librarian)