Talks & Courses

Maritime Lecture Series: Living in the Arctic

Herbert will take us through the journey of polar food, introducing the cultural and spiritual connection Inuit have with hunting, their environment and the food they eat.  Expect tales of Arctic explorers, surprising provisions, and some fun food stories.

Kari Herbert is an author and travel photojournalist. She has travelled widely in the Polar regions. Her first book, The Explorer’s Daughter, is a travelogue-memoir about her return to Northwest Greenland where she lived as a child with her father, Sir Wally Herbert, among a small tribe of Inuit hunters.


Mental health at Sea, 1740-1820

What happened to those who suffered from mental health problems at sea? What did it mean to be ‘mad’ in the Royal Navy? How were ‘mad’ sailors and ‘drunken’ sailors viewed differently? 

Join Dr Beck (Pearsall Fellow, Institute of Historical Research) as she explores experiences of mental illness in the Royal Navy of the 1700s and early 1800s. Hear how ships’ surgeons and courts martial sought to understand and treat ‘madness’ when life at sea exposed men to hard drinking, exhaustion, head injuries, sunstroke, loneliness and grief, all believed by contemporaries to cause insanity.

The Revolution comes to Hampshire: Black Revolutionaries in an English Castle, 1796-1800

Historian and archaeologist Abigail Coppins will explain how over 2,000 black and mixed-race soldiers came to be imprisoned in Hampshire during the 1790s. Her research is based on an exciting new exhibition now on at Portchester Castle (English Heritage) that tells their fascinating stories.

Maritime Lecture Series: Feeding the Georgian Navy: The work of agents victualler

Before and during the Napoleonic Wars, with a few exceptions, food for the navy was supplied via the Admiralty's Victualling Board.  Ships collected it from stores ashore all over the world run by men called Agents Victualler.  Their job often involved an amount of juggling with replacements for items that were in short supply.  But one of these agents, Richard Ford, was termed an Agent Victualler Afloat, and he sailed with Nelson's fleet in the Mediterranean, going ashore when necessary to find supplies.

Maritime Lecture Series: Putting the World on your Plate

What do ships have to do with food? Well, more than just naval rations. Throughout the Tudor and Stuart eras the ships of the British Isles explored the globe to bring back the exotics of the world to the plates of diners at home. Food Historian Marc Meltonville will take us through the tables of wealthy diners to examine the history of nutmeg, chocolate and even the fork in this comprehensive overview of how the changing face of the globe affected food, drink and dining.

Flamsteed Lecture: The Search for Life on Mars by Dr Peter Grindrod

In essence, studies of water and the habitability of Mars will drive and constrain the search for life in the coming decade and beyond. There is compelling evidence that the atmosphere and climate of Mars have affected the global distribution and chemistry of water, ultimately controlling the habitability of the planet. Martian stratigraphy provides a rich record of the paleoclimate and paleohydrology of the planet, revealing changes in the surface environment over a range of timescales. The current paradigm presents a Mars that has become less habitable with time.


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