National Maritime ‘The Big Skills Debate’

November 8 @ 5:30 pm8:00 pm

at the University of Greenwich, London.


The National Maritime ‘BIG SKILLS DEBATE‘ is delivered in partnership with Jobs in Maritime, the Greenwich Maritime Centre (GMC) and the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association (SSA). The event further supports our work around, encouraging and developing closer collaboration between all industries within the UK maritime cluster to drive economic growth.

The debates Chairperson:

  • Andrew Bull, Headmaster, The London Nautical School.

The panel:

  • Tony Graham, Chairman, The UK Naval Engineering Science and Technology Forum (UKNEST)
  • Peter Aylott, Chairman, Education and Training, The Honourable Company of Master Mariners (HCMM)
  • Susan Potter, HC Development Manager, DP World London Gateway
  • Sally Atkinson, Project Manager, Parkol Marine Engineering Limited
  • James Burr, Head of Human Resources, MBNA Thames Clippers
  • Dr Christopher Ware, MA Programme lead International Maritime Policy., Greenwich Maritime Centre
  • Ben Willows, Chief Executive, UKSA

The expert panel represents UK maritime cluster interests in naval design and engineering, the merchant navy, port operations, fisheries, shipbuilding, inland waterways and education.

The debate will explore how corporates, entrepreneurs and governments currently collaborate to deliver maritime training that best supports business succession planning, it will challenge existing UK maritime training provision and funding streams and take the opportunity to consider how the national ‘skills gap’ discussion can be simplified to encourage wider participation and collaboration from across the UK maritime cluster. The format will be a 90 minute panel debate (BBC Question Time panel delivery). The event includes a drinks reception.

Event Registration: 17.30 hrs


£20 + VAT for National Maritime SSA members

£25 + VAT for Non-Members

For more details or to purchase your ticket please visit or email


‘State of Maritime History Research’ Conference Report

The GMC is pleased to announce that the ‘State of Maritime History Research’ conference, held in partnership with the Society for Nautical Research (SNR), was a resounding success.

On 9 September 2017, we welcomed over 70 delegates to the first maritime history conference hosted by the GMC, and the first national conference organised by the SNR. The SNR supports maritime history events in conjunction with other organisations, such as the New Researchers in Maritime History conference and the King’s Lecture series, co-sponsored with the British Commission for Maritime History. Although a half-day conference in Glasgow in 2010 to celebrate the SNR’s centenary developed into the Annual Scottish Maritime History Conference held with the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Museums, this was the first time they held a full one day event under their own flag. At the same time, the GMC wanted a conference for alumni of the former Greenwich Maritime Institute. Both organisations also sought to attract those who write maritime history but who don’t identify as maritime historians. This conference was the result.


With the theme of ‘The State of Maritime Research’, it was befitting that the first SNR Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to long-time member John Hattendorf, Professor Emeritus of Maritime History, U.S. Naval War College. Prof Hattendorf has for a long time been a keen observer and prolific writer on developments in naval and maritime history. In answer to the conference’s key question about the future of maritime history he answered in the affirmative. Maritime history is in a healthy state, with at least nine maritime history journals: ‘a field with so many active journals seems to be one that is vibrant’. He suggests there is ‘great future potential’, and to ‘Let’s all get to work and keep maritime history under-weigh with way on!’

The tone was set perfectly for the rest of the conference. Keynotes by our other master naval historians, Prof Eric Grove and Prof Richard Harding, also set the bar high by sharing their experiences with incorporating broad perspectives. Prof Grove regaled us with an ‘aha’ moment, which came from watching a programme on food history. This changed the way he interpreted the U-boat crisis of 1917. He advised that we can’t understand battles and war without seeing the bigger picture, such as the importance of logistics and food production.


Prof Richard Harding, our last keynote of the day, had a similar message. Maritime history is robust and diverse, and yet offers even more opportunities for research. The field is multi-functional, multi-disciplinary; it helps us to understand the global condition and organizational problems. This is especially true when maritime history connects with other approaches, such as the social sciences. He emphasised as well, that the field’s strength lies in its breadth of practitioners—both professional and amateur. Indeed, our amateur researchers are our bedrock.

The papers presented at the conference supported the points made in all three keynotes. They were wide-ranging, and all offered exciting new avenues for research. Indeed, one of the themes of the conference was the importance of reaching out, to bring together academics, independent scholars, heritage organisations, museums, and the interested public. We all need each other.


All-in-all, the feedback for the conference was very positive, and the excitement was palpable. One delegate remarked on Twitter that “I had a great day, thanks for the kick start to my MA studies. Am one of the enthusiastic amateurs mentioned in round table!” It wasn’t long before the organisers heard the comments of ‘Let’s do this again!’

I think we all took away an appreciation for the vibrancy and positive future of maritime history. We really do have an embarrassment of riches considering the topics and methods we can choose from, and potential impact of our research. The field is in good hands.

If you didn’t get to attend, conference organiser JD Davies has written an engaging blog at which describes individual papers.  Tweets from the conference can be viewed by searching on #MarConf17 on Twitter. The SNR is also planning on publishing many of the papers in Topmasts, which will be available open-source online. Check out their website at


One last comment—but a very important one: The organisers offer their gratitude to the University of Greenwich for hosting the conference, as well as to the Events team for all their help in set-up, registration, catering, and taking care of the delegates. We couldn’t have done it without you.


“The Future of the Ocean: Health, Wealth and Biodiversity” Seminar at the University of Greenwich.

Our new seminar series starts this month! Sign up here!

Maritime at Greenwich

The Greenwich Maritime Centre is very proud to announce our first 2017-2018 seminar in collaboration with the Coastal and Marine Research Group:

“The Future of the Ocean: Health, Wealth and Biodiversity”

with Professor Steve Fletcher

Venue: University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, 30 Park Row, London SE10 9LS

Lecture Theatre QA080.

Tickets are free but please sign up using our Eventbrite form so we can keep control of the numbers:

There is increasing appreciation of the critical role the oceans play in human health and sustainable economic growth.  As is well known, the ocean provides the basic building blocks to support life through its regulation of climate and global temperature, but we are now also appreciating the role of the ocean in supporting the quality of our health through providing new drugs from the deep sea and spaces for relaxation, de-stressing, and personal restoration. In parallel, the…

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‘Ending the Era of Plastic Pollution’

A public talk by Louisa Casson, Greenpeace Oceans campaigner

Thursday 26 October, 6.00pm.

Venue: University of Greenwich, Room QA080, Queen Anne Court, Greenwich Maritime campus.

Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, London SE10 9LS

This will kick start the History & Environment Talks 2017-18 ​series (co-organised by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and Greenwich Maritime Centre).

LEG 4: Beluga II Ocean Plastic Pollution Tour in Scotland

Summary: Greenpeace has been campaigning for healthy oceans for several decades. Oceans are not only home to incredible marine life, but provide food for billions of people and regulate our shared climate. While plastic has only been produced at scale since the 1950s, plastic pollution is now one of the greatest threats facing our oceans. As campaigns ramp up to end the era of single-use plastic, the tide is beginning to turn. Join us to discuss the changes we need to see to stop the flow of plastic into the ocean, from governments taking action on microbeads and plastic bags, to major businesses recognising the risk for their brand if they continue to pump out throwaway plastic, from governments taking action on microbeads and plastic bags to major businesses recognising the risk for their brand if they continue to pump out throwaway plastic.

Download and share the PDF flyer here


Further info at:

The Maritime Origins of Abolition: The Case of Benjamin Lay, Quaker and ‘Common Sailor’

This series, convened by the National Maritime Museum and held at the Institute of Historical Research, explores humankind’s relationship with the sea through museum and archive collections. At is heart is the idea that our history is entwined with the maritime world and that people’s lives have always been shaped by the sea. Bringing together established names and new researchers, the series draws upon a range of different approaches to encourage debate and discussion.

26 October 2017

Professor Marcus Rediker

University of Pittsburgh

The Maritime Origins of Abolition: The Case of Benjamin Lay, Quaker and ‘Common Sailor’

Location: The Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, London WC1E 7HU

*This seminar will start at 17:30 in The Chancellor’s Hall and will take on a Thursday rather than a Tuesday.*

Please visit our website for more information and links:


Exploring Maritime Kent on Film

Exploring Maritime Kent on Film

6:30 p.m. 18th October 2017

A talk by Frank Gray, Screen Archive South East

Kent History and Library Centre, James Whatman Way, Maidstone ME14 1LQ

Download and share the flyer here

To book: call 03000 416438 or email

Admission Fee £5

‘all that rag-tag and bobtail from town’

‘all that rag-tag and bobtail from town’: seaside reading for Londoners, from Dickens to Barbara Cartland

6:30pm 11th October 2017

A talk by Carolyn Oulton, Canterbury Christ Church University

Kent History and Library Centre, James Whatman Way, Maidstone ME14 1LQ

Download and share the flyer here

To book: Call 03000 416438 or email

Admission fee £5