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History and Development

The Navy Records Society was founded in 1893 by a group of historians, naval officers, publicists and statesmen led by Professor Sir John Knox Laughton and Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge. Its aims was to publish documents on the history of the Royal Navy in order to influence naval policy and doctrine.

In the 21st century the Society redefined its purpose as being to promote Britain’s naval heritage by publishing original, often rare, documents aimed at professionals, academics and members of the public with an interest in the subject.

The Society has published printed volumes of original documents and papers almost every year since its foundation. In 2006 the NRS produced its 150th volume. This was Part 2 of the Cunningham Papers, edited by Michael Simpson, lately Reader in History at the University of Wales, Swansea. The event was marked by a reception in St James's Palace attended by the Society's Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who, as a midshipman served under Admiral Cunningham at the Battle of Matapan, and by former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jock Slater, a kinsman of Cunningham.

 In recent years the Society has expanded its activities into the internet and social media:

  1. previous printed volume are now available to members in digitised form on a fully searchable website
  2. Facebook and Twitter pages enable feedback and discussion of subjects of interest
  3. A dedicated interactive site is being developed to enable the publication of  documents and images online