Barry Gough Awarded SS Beaver Medal

January 2015

Professor Barry Gough, Ph.D., D.Lit., noted exponent of the maritime foundations of Imperial history, has been awarded the prestigious S.S. Beaver Medal by the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, Patron of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

The award is made annually for Maritime Excellence, and in Gough’s case for his numerous prize-winning publications about the littorals and islands, and trades and peoples of the Pacific Ocean in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The paddle-wheel steamer Beaver, built in London for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1835, sailed round Cape Horn for the Northwest Coast of North America and eventually came to grief at the entrance to Vancouver port in 1888. The SS Beaver Medal is made of copper salvaged from this legendary vessel.

Professor Gough was the Canadian Overseas Corresponding Member of the Society of Nautical Research for twenty-five years. Since his retirement in 2004 as Professor Emeritus of History, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, he has turned to writing full time. The Royal Navy and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1810-1914 (1971) established his reputation as a master of Admiralty, Foreign Office and Colonial Office documentation. Gunboat Frontier (1984), The Falkland Islands/Malvinas: Contest for Empire in the South Atlantic (1992), and Fortune’s a River (2007) disclosed a widening of interests. These he has now extended to the Seven Seas, culminating in Pax Britannica: Ruling the Waves and Keeping the Peace before Armageddon (2014), the first global study of British sea power in its geographical areas of interest in the years 1815 to 1914.

Interested in who writes our histories and why, he examined the private papers and interviewed many who knew the exemplary naval historians and rivals Arthur Marder and Stephen Roskill. This was published as Historical Dreadnoughts (2010). He is an Archives Fellow, Churchill College, Fellow of Kings College London, and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is Official Historian of the famed Canadian Tribal class destroyer HMCS Haida, and his book Battle Ensign Flying is credited with saving the ship as a world heritage site, in Hamilton, Ontario. He is past president of the North American Society for Oceanic History, the Canadian Nautical Research Society, and the British Columbia Historical Federation. He served for many years as Editor of The American Neptune: Maritime History and Arts. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Below is a selection of Professor Gough’s published books works and you can read his articles in The Mariners’ Mirror here.

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