Research & Programmes Committee

The Research and Programmes Committee’s function is to lead encouragement of nautical research and education.

Although each year a great deal of time is spent by the committee in assessing books for the Anderson Medal award and dealing with applications for research grants or from conference organisers, in recent months they have been taking a lead in developing the ‘Way Forward’ for the Society as a whole.  As a result of the ‘Call for Help’ sent out to members the committee is now identifying neglected areas of research , promoting an awareness of the importance of maritime history and proposing new projects.  In conjunction with the Publications Committee they are also looking at other aspects, such as enhancing the Society’s social media presence.  Although not all the suggestions put forwards may be viable, it is felt that a number of desirable new initiatives can be launched in the future thus improving areas which may perhaps have been neglected in the past.  The Chairman, Admiral Sir Kenneth Eaton, has given a resume in the May 2016 Topmasts magazine regarding what has been achieved during the past year.

Annual work undertaken includes:

Grant Applications.

The committee have recently considered and assessed various applications for grant funding from the Anderson Bequest Fund and the Tomlin Fund.  Those that have been successful include:

  • The British Commission for Maritime History for their King’s Maritime History Seminar Programme and for the New Researchers Conference held at Plymouth University.
  • The International Postgraduate Port & Maritime History Conference.
  • The Maritime History North / University of Hull ‘Battle of Jutland’ Conference.

Research grants for various individuals have also been awarded i.e. ‘Merchant Crusaders in the Aegean 1291-1352’,’Private Shipping in Renaissance Venice 1480-1550’ and ‘Royal Naval Coast Volunteers and Development of the British Naval Reserve’.

The committee has also awarded funds to the National Archive / National Maritime Museum collaboration relating to the WW1 Royal Naval Lives at Sea Project.

Anderson Medal Award.

Each year the committee review books that have been nominated for this prestigious award.  Most years there are about twenty books to read and this takes up a great deal of the committee’s time before a short list is drawn up and a final winning book chosen by the end of the year.

Membership of the Research & Programmes Committee

Membership of the Committee is drawn from a mixture of ordinary members of the Society, Vice Presidents and members of Council.  They also come from a variety of backgrounds, both academic and non-academic, and have a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience. Currently they are:

David Davies (Chairman):  Dr David Davies is a prize-winning full-time author and a leading authority on British naval history of the seventeenth century.  His book Pepys’s Navy won the Samuel Pepys prize for 2009.  He has served as Chairman of the Naval Dockyards Society, as a Vice-President of the Navy Records Society, and as a member of Council of the SNR.  He is also the author of the acclaimed series of naval historical fiction, The Journals of Matthew Quinton, set against the backdrops of the Restoration age and the Anglo-Dutch Wars.  He was formerly Deputy Headmaster, and subsequently a governor, of Bedford Modern School (HMC).

Alistair Roach (Secretary): Alistair Roach worked for the National Trust for nearly 30 years.  He holds an MA in Heritage and Archaeology and an MPhil in Maritime History and Archaeology.  He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (a member of the Maritime Affairs Group) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  He is the author of The Life and Ship Models of Norman Ough and has published papers in refereed journals, articles in magazines, papers in conferences and contributed to the ScARF Marine and Maritime Panel Report.  Although retired from full-time employment he is now a freelance consultant / researcher, assists at the Brunel Institute (SS Great Britain Trust) and is a member of Council of the SNR.

Alan Aberg:  Alan Aberg worked for Ipswich and Southampton museums before joining the University of Leeds as a lecturer in archaeology.  In 1976 he joined the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments for England as Director of the National Archaeological Record.  Since retirement he has served as Chairman of the National Archaeological Society and SNR, and has been a member of the Trustees of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and a Vice President of the Trustees of the Royal Navy Museum.  Currently a member of the Ship’s Council of the SS Great Britain, and a Vice President of the SNR he is also trustee of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, council member of the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association, Vice President of the Medieval Settlement Research Group, and Hon. President of the European colloquium, Ruralia.  Awarded the Fellows Medal of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2011 and the Fellowship of the SNR in 2015.

Ann Coats: Dr Ann Coats is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, teaching heritage and the built environment.  In 1996 she co-founded and now chairs the Naval Dockyards Society. In 2000 she co-founded and coordinated (until 2015) the Porter’s Garden at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. She served on the SNR Research & Programmes Committee 2005-9 and was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2015.  Research publications concern the history and re-use of dockyards, mutiny and convicts, a three-year Historic England / Naval Dockyards Society project culminating in 20th Century Naval Dockyards: Devonport and Portsmouth Characterisation Report (2015). She is currently consultant historian to the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust.

Eric Grove: Professor Eric Grove has had a distinguished academic career which spanned the Royal Naval Colleges of Dartmouth and Greenwich, and the Universities of Cambridge, Salford and Liverpool Hope.  The author of many books including Vanguard to Trident, The Future of Sea Power, and The Royal Navy since 1815, Professor Grove has been a long serving Vice President of the SNR and is a Vice President of the Naval Records Society.  He is a member of the Commission for Military and Maritime History, a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the SNR and an Honorary Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy.

Edward Hampshire:  Dr Edward Hampshire worked at the Public Record Office and National Archives for nearly ten years, latterly as Principal Records Specialist with responsibility for diplomatic, colonial and intelligence records.  He has written numerous articles and papers and is the author of the books From East of Suez to the Eastern Atlantic, British Naval Policy 1964-70 and British Intelligence: Secrets, Spies and Sources. Edward was previously Secretary to the Research & Programmes Committee of the SNR and in 2012 he joined the Defence and International Affairs Department of the RMA Sandhurst.

Richard Harding:  Professor Richard Harding is Head of Department of Leadership, Development and Organisation and Professor of Organisational History at Westminster University.  He has written extensively on the development of navies and has particular interest in amphibious operations.  Editor of The Mariner’s Mirror for five years from 2000, Richard was then Chairman of the Council during the years leading up to the celebrations of the Society’s centenary in 2011 and is at present a Vice President. He was awarded Fellowship of the SNR in 2015 for his outstanding contribution to the Society.

Alan James: Dr Alan James is a Senior Lecturer at King’s College London.  He is currently director of MA studies in the ‘History of Warfare’ and among other roles he is a trustee of the British Commission for Maritime History and the reviews editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies.  As an author his award winning books include The Navy and Government in Early Modern France 1572-1661 and The Origins of French Absolutism 1598-1661.  He is currently working on a collaborative study of European navies and warfare and on a critical survey of French sea power from 1540s to 1815.

Barbara Jones: Barbara Jones is the Curator of Heritage at the Lloyd’s Register Foundation. She is an elected member of the British Commission for Maritime History, the China National Maritime Research Council and chair of the Maritime Information Association. As well as writing numerous papers she was co-author and editor for the publications Lloyd’s Register: 250 Years of Service and Maritime Science and Technology: Changing our World. She has contributed to both Hattendorf’s The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History and Wiley’s Encyclopaedia of Marine and Offshore Engineering, and was for many years the editor of Maritime Informer.

Campbell McMurray: Dr Campbell McMurray was born in Campbeltown, Argyll in June 1941, educated there and in Edinburgh; he took up an apprenticeship in marine heavy engineering and served as an engineer officer in the mercantile marine before entering the University of Leicester in 1967.  Graduate studies at the LSE followed and in 1970 he was appointed the first Caird Research Fellow at the National Maritime Museum.  Subsequently Assistant Keeper in the Department of Printed Books and Manuscripts, with responsibilities principally for the merchant shipping collections and curator in charge of the Royal Brass Foundry, he left to become the founding Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1983 before becoming director of the Royal Naval Museum in 1989.  Retiring from the appointment in 2006 he has variously served as a member of the Advisory Committee of National Historic Ships from its inception in that year until 2011 and more recently as a member of the board of the SS Great Britain Trust.  He is currently a Vice President of the SNR, President of SNR(S) and was awarded the Fellowship of the Society in 2015.

Susan Rose:  Dr Susan Rose was first elected to the Council of the SNR in the 1960s while still working on her PhD thesis on the navy of the Lancastrian Kings.  She was later elected as Trustee under the old Articles of Association and eventually as Vice President of the SNR.  She has been closely involved with the affairs of the Society for over fifty years.  During that period she has continued her research into medieval shipping publishing a number of books and articles including Medieval Naval Warfare, The Medieval Sea and also England’s Medieval Navy for which she was awarded the Anderson Medal in 2014.  She was previously Chair of the Research and Programmes Committee and is a member of the Editorial Board of The Mariner’s Mirror. She is also currently a Council member and a past Vice President of the Naval Record Society for which she edited Vol.VII of the Miscellanea. Susan was awarded Fellowship of the SNR in 2015 in recognition of her work in the furtherance of the Society’s objectives.

John Ross: John Ross served in the Regular Army, the RAF and the Reserves.  He has a BA in War Studies from Kings College London and an MA in Naval History from Exeter University.  He has worked as an Historian at the Army’s Land Warfare Centre and now works as an independent analyst on military affairs.  He has served on the SNR Research & Programmes Committee for a number of years and is a member of the British Commission for Military History plus the Guild of Battlefield Guides. He is currently researching The Development of Command and Control systems in the Naval Home Commands in WW2.

Ann Shirley: Dr Ann Shirley is a long standing member of the SNR and was Hon. Secretary from 1988-91.  She was a member of Council at intervals from 1991-2000 and as an eminent scholar she has published widely on Polar exploration and maritime history.  Working for the Scott Polar Institute from 1954-66 she then joined the NMM firstly as Assistant Keeper and then Custodian of Manuscripts.  Over the years Ann has also been a member of the RGS Council, the Hakluyt Society Council at intervals from 1980 – present and a Vice President 2002-06 as well as serving on the SNR Research and Programmes Committee for many years. Made an Hon.D.Litt (University of Kent) in 2001 and elected a Fellow of the SNR in 2016 she writes under her maiden name Ann Savours. She is the author of The Voyages of the ‘Discovery ‘and The Search for the North West Passage and recently edited the fourth volume of The South Polar Times (1912).