Caird Library Research Seminars 2018

Essential information

Date and time: 
3.30pm - 4.30pm
Admission: 
Free
Location: 
National Maritime Museum, Caird Library & Archive

A series of free seminars convened by the Greenwich Maritime Centre and the National Maritime Museum

Please note: seminars are now on the first Monday of the month

5 February

Josh Ivinson, NMM Research Fellow

Assessing the Navigational and Geographical Knowledge of England's First Transatlantic Fishermen

This paper evaluates the geographical and navigational knowledge of England's first transatlantic entrepreneurs, via an analysis of sixteenth-century cartographic material regarding Newfoundland and its fisheries. This official and 'public' knowledge will be contrasted with the 'private' knowledge displayed by ordinary fishermen and mariners as obtained in an extensive survey of relevant court depositions – allowing a better understanding of the privately-led 'discovery' and exploitation of pre-colonial North America by European fishing crews.

5 March

Quintin Colville, Curator of Naval History

Collecting Maritime History? Callender, Caird and the National Maritime Museum, 1928–39

This paper explores the vision of British history and heritage that guided the work of both the National Maritime Museum’s first director and its most generous benefactor. Though from differing professional backgrounds, these men shared a particular vision of Britain’s past, present and future – one inseparable from notions of sea power and national destiny. The historic themes, objects, people and events around which they fashioned the Museum tell a complex and important story.

9 April

Megan Barford, Curator of Cartography

Maps and Refugee Journeys: A Contemporary Collecting Project at Royal Museums Greenwich

This paper will discuss a new research and collecting project at RMG, which revolves around understanding the ways in which maps are part of, implicated in, and reflect on, refugee journeys in the twenty-first century. The research and resulting collection will enable an exploration of maps' fluid status, as art works, as political tools, as pragmatic resources, as forms of memory as well as planning.

14 May

Chris Ware, Greenwich Maritime Centre

Standard Ships of World War One: Too Little and Too Late?

After a hands-off approach to Merchant Shipping for most of the First World War, by 1917 the need for new tonnage was becoming acute. The Standard ships were seen as the answer. Based on contemporary designs, they were to fill the void left by losses to U-boats, but did enough come into service to make a difference? Or did they create a bubble in the market for ships that caused a collapse in the period of post-war austerity?

4 June

Jack Avery, NMM Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD student

Satire and the Anglo-Dutch Wars

The Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars (1665–67, 1672–74) saw the restored monarchy in conflict with the developing European news industry. Consequently, these were wars in which news itself constituted a key battlefield at home and abroad. This seminar will discuss the Restoration regime’s attempts to control news, an agenda pursued in part through popular poetry, before demonstrating the manner in which wartime satirists engaged with these efforts.

2 July

Philippa Hellawell, NMM Caird Senior Fellow

Projecting Power: Cultures of Experiment and Innovation in the Late Seventeenth-Century Navy

Histories of the fiscal-military state routinely consider ‘innovation’ as fiscal and administrative change, rather than in terms of technology. By examining the Navy Board’s response to the inventions and engines submitted to them, this paper sketches out the culture of experiment and innovation that existed within the late seventeenth-century navy and points to the wider role of technology in the development of the state and its strategies for global maritime power.

3 September

Lucy Dow, NMM Caird Fellow

Ideas about Eating at Sea during the Seven Years War

Hannah Glasse’s 1747 The Art of Cookery contained a whole chapter dedicated to the ‘Captains of Ships’. This paper will compare the recipes she presented with naval victualling records from the Seven Years War (1756–63). It will highlight how these recipes were part of the construction of the idea of England as a maritime nation and how this became part of everyday life.

1 October

Naina Manjrekar, NMM Caird Fellow

‘Cooking for the Company’: Colonial Cooks in Merchant Ships

Colonial firemen, cooks, stewards and attendants laboured on British ships in large numbers in the twentieth century. Some of them came to settle in Britain and continue their profession as cooks in some of the earliest ‘curry’ restaurants. Using the colonial cooks’ certificates from the Caird Archive, as well as passenger diaries, this paper will explore their lives aboard ship, and their relation to the food they produced and the passengers who consumed it.

5 November

Emily Akkermans, NMM Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD student

Chronometers at Sea: Translating Theory into Practice, 1819–36

Developments in technology, mathematics and astronomy during the eighteenth century transformed the nature of navigation at sea, enabling established theories to be put to practical use in the decades that followed. The marine chronometer became part of standard practice for determining longitude, although users faced many problems putting this new technology to use in often challenging environments. Focusing on specific voyages, this seminar will explore how the process of standardisation overcame these challenges during the early nineteenth century.

3 December

Katherine Roscoe, NMM Caird Fellow

Convict Labour on British Imperial Dockyards

Convicts have been remarkably absent from histories of imperial expansion. Yet around 20,000 felons transported from Britain and Ireland to dockyards in Gibraltar, Bermuda and Australia built the maritime infrastructure that enabled Britain’s empire to function. The focus is two-fold: first, this seminar examines the daily labour regimes of convicts, and their relationships to civilian labourers, naval officers and government officials. Second, it explores the disciplinary issues that arose as convicts socialised with civilians and seamen.