Annual Summer Party!

This year will see the Navy Records Society’s inaugural summer party where members will get together in a fabulous maritime setting to celebrate the society’s and our members’ achievements over the past year.

This year the party will be held on board HQS Wellington a historic ship moored on the Embankment in London. The Wellington is the last surviving member of the Grimsby Class of sloops which served the nation with much distinction in World War Two. She has been moored on the Thames since 1948 during which time she has been the home of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, a City of London Livery Company.

All members, especially new members, are invited to attend the AGM, at 5.00, which considers finance, governance, and related matters, and then at 6.00 the cash bar opens.

From 6.30 to 7:15 two leading naval scholars and members of the Society will give fifteen-minute talks on their works in progress, with five minutes each for questions. This is an opportunity for members to have an insider’s view into how naval historians of international standing prepare, organize, and conduct their research. The speakers will be Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, on ‘Laughton, Mahan and Rozhestvenski: shaping the NRS in the 1890s’, and Catherine Beck, Pearsall Fellow of the Institute of Historical Research, on ‘Madness, Mobility and Ships at Sea: Mental Disorder in the Royal Navy, 1740-1820’, research that ‘seeks to develop a new model of what constituted naval insanity in the long eighteenth century’.

These will be followed by three talks from members, especially new or unpublished members, who are conducting research. These will be five minutes each with five minutes for discussion: an opportunity to raise awareness of your current publication and/or research projects with a sympathetic and knowledgeable audience and to make connections in the naval history and naval history publishing industry. The society invites interested members to send a short proposal to the secretary by Friday 21 June.

Note: these are informal talks, without audio-visual equipment.


1400                       Finance Committee

1530                       Council meeting

1700                       AGM

1800                       Vistors invited to mingle (Cash Bar)

1830                       Talks:

                                – Andrew Lambert: ‘Laughton, Mahan and Rozhestvenski: shaping the NRS in the 1890s’

                                – Catherine Beck: ‘Madness, Mobility and Ships at Sea: Mental Disorder in the Royal Navy, 1740-1820’

                                –  Presentations (by invitation) from Authors and Researchers

2000                       Close of Formal Proceedings 





Archives of the National Museum of the Royal Navy

For our next trip, The Navy Records Society has been given a very exciting opportunity to visit the archives of the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth on Monday 24 June.

We will be hosted by one of their curators, who will begin with a short talk on the work currently being undertaken, before we are allowed to view select items from the museum’s collections. The event will be followed by a gathering in the historic pub the Ship Anson, to discuss the day’s discoveries!

This event is open to NRS members only, is FREE, and there are just 20 spaces available – so if you want to join us, ensure you sign up sooner rather than later, as it will be first come, first served!

If you are interested please register with our events co-ordinator, Kate Jamieson:

We hope to see you there!


Caird Library, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

On 18 February, members of the Navy Records Society were given the chance to visit the Caird Library & Archive at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

We were greeted by archive staff and given a short presentation on the history of the Caird Library, its relocation from what is now the Pacific Encounters exhibition at the museum, and the processes involved in selecting or approving documents to be kept for future generations and researchers. It is a longer process than many of us had imagined, especially once we were told about the sheer number of documents being offered regularly from private collections. It was interesting to find out how cataloguing worked and how many people are involved in the process.

Around 5000 people visit the Caird Library every year to consult documents from 6,025m of archive & original documents, 4,683m of printed books and 1,247m of maps and charts! One recent acquisition by is a selection of papers from the Colville family. These include the letters of Admiral Colville, who took on the young James Cook as Master of his flagship, the Northumberland. The cataloguing of these papers will take around eighteen months and, as such, these documents have not yet been seen by the research community. We felt very privileged to be allowed a ‘sneak peak’!, especially as some of our members are currently working on topics mentioned in these journals and letters. Excerpts from Colville’s journals will appear soon in our Online Magazine.

We were also shown some letters from the lower deck including a petition from a German seaman on the Foudroyant in 1799, judged as fit to serve, but wanting to go home. Another was from a Marine, wanting to appeal his disciplinary charge.  Seeing these documents  gave us an insight into the priorities of some of these men, and a brief glimpse into their lives.

After the tour was concluded, members headed to The Trafalgar Tavern to swap notes and research stories. It was a wonderful afternoon, and many have said they are already looking forward to the next, to be held at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth later this year. We hope you can join us!

Kate Jamieson.

The Navy Records Society