Through the generosity of previous members the Society for Nautical Research has a number of funds which it uses to support primary research into maritime history and its public dissemination through conferences, lectures and publications.

Funding for individual research

The Society grants research awards to individuals for any purpose related to research into any aspect of maritime history. Such research grants have covered a wide range of projects, and research reports derived from them are published in Topmasts. These grants are made from the Anderson Fund, which was established with a legacy from Dr Roger Charles Anderson, a distinguished naval scholar and founder member of the Society. Grants are awarded for travel and accommodation costs while undertaking archival research (but not subsistence), and for the costs involved in other methods of research e.g. oral history or archaeology

Funding for conferences and seminars

The Tomlin Fund was established in 1993, after the death of Lt Cdr Richard Tomlin, who left a substantial bequest to the SNR. This fund supports education in historical maritime affairs by funding the annual New Researchers in Maritime History Conference, supporting the activities of Maritime History North, and contributing to the costs of the maritime seminars at King’s College London and the University of Exeter. The fund can also be used, for example, to meet exceptional costs of a special event supported by the Society, such as for essential foreign travel by speakers to conferences or seminars. Both the Anderson and Tomlin funds can be used to provide grants to other conferences; in recent years, these have included the Lusitania centenary conference in Glasgow, the international postgraduate port and maritime history conference, and the conference on trade in the medieval Mediterranean at the University of Cambridge.

How to apply

 Please note that the Society does not award funds for subsistence, and cannot provide assistance towards the cost of publication in any format.

We welcome applications for grants from the beginning of the academic year (1 September until midnight on 15 January the following year). Your proposal should include:

  • Purpose of the research and how it will be conducted with full details of material to be used
  • Mention of any other application for funding
  • Sum requested and a detailed breakdown of how the money will be spent
  • Brief CV
  • Names, contact details and copies of recent references from two referees including any academic supervisor

Your application will NOT be considered if neither a CV or copies of recent references are supplied.

We prefer to receive applications by email, but you may use post if you prefer. For details of where to send your application, please see our contacts page. You may not normally apply for more than one grant, but in exceptional circumstances you may reapply for an award of up to three annual grants if you provide satisfactory progress reports.

What happens next

 If you are given a grant, the award will be announced in the Society’s newsletter and you will be expected to submit a brief report on how you have used it within six months of the completion of the project. This will be published in Topmast, the SNR newsletter. Any substantial publication of the research must fully acknowledge the Society’s support. Similarly, any conference or seminar supported by funds from the SNR should acknowledge this, e.g. by referring to it in conference documentation and/or by using the society’s logo.

Tomlin Fund

The Tomlin Fund was established in 1993, after the death of Lt Cdr Richard Tomlin, who left a substantial bequest to the SNR. This fund supports education in historical maritime affairs by funding the New Researchers Conference each year as well as the King’s College London series of seminars. The balance of up to £1,500 is available each year for helping to meet exceptional costs of a special event supported by the Society such as for essential foreign travel by speakers for conferences or seminars. The Fund will, subject to availability, also support individual research grants.

What it’s for

  • Expenses incurred during archival research and the investigation of maritime history including maritime technology
  • Help with survey of or research relating to historic ships and shipbuilding
  • Cost of travel to present an appropriate paper at a conference, seminar or colloquium
  • Help with the cost of preparing a paper or publication such as illustrations or photographs
  • We do NOT contribute to fees for academic courses.

How to apply

See Anderson Bequest Fund above

What happens next

See Anderson Bequest Fund above


Lt Cdr Tomlin’s main interest for over 30 years was 19th century marine engineering, in particular the restoration of HMS Warrior. Launched in 1860, HMS Warrior was powered by both sail and steam and Lt Cdr Tomlin did extensive research on her engines and boilers. You can read more about her in the Portsmouth Dockyard website.

Farrar Fund

This bequest was created in 2006 following the death of the late Austin Packard Farrar and is available to the Trustees for specific initiatives designed to promote the reach and influence of the Society in the broad maritime sphere. It has in the past been called on to support the Centenary year activities as well as the process of digitization of The Mariner’s Mirror. It is now funding the development of this website.

The following film was made in Memoriam of Austin Farrar who had a keen interest in the preservation of HMS Victory and in particular in the construction of the Victory cutter. Farrar personally drew the cutter’s lines. He lived a remarkable life, and saved countless lives at sea by inventing the pulpit, the guard rail round the bows on modern yachts which serves as a vital handhold for anyone in difficulty. His obituary in the Daily Telegraph which includes the impressive fact that he was taught at school by Enid Blyton can be read here.