Centre of Port and Maritime History events
CPMH runs a series of events throughout the year. Highlighted events are listed in brief below. Please click on the link or select from the drop-down menu boxes below for further information, including, venue, time and how to join us.
Scheduled events 2023 and 2024
7 and 8 September 2023: Annual Conference
18 October 2023: CPMH Hybrid Seminar, Gillian O'Brien (LJMU)
Scheduled events 2022 and 2023
15 and 16 September: Annual Conference
12 October: Seminar: Michael Bennedsen Hansen (Copenhagen Business School)
2 November: Peter N Davies Seminar: Morten Tinning (Copenhagen Business School)
22 November: Seminar: Jayne Friend (University of Portsmouth)
13 January 2023: Musical Drama Production (LJMU Drama Students supported by CPMH and in conjunction with Western Approaches HQ Museum)
‘Blowing a Raspberry at Hitler’ - The story of the search for a way to defeat the U-Boats terrorising the Atlantic during World War Two – a search led by the women involved in the Western Approaches Tactical unit.
2pm and 6:30pm LJMU John Foster Drama Studio
23 March 2023: History Pub Talk '"Hostage Capitalism”: Liverpool, Shanghai and the Blue Funnel Line in the 1960s’, Nick White (LJMU)
Spring 2023: (Date TBC) Exhibition Launch: Captain Morgan Archive
20 May 2023: Battle of the Atlantic 80, Conference.
24 May 2023: Mike Stammers Memorial Lecture: Dr Jo Stanley, (Senior Visiting Research Fellow, LJMU)
26-28 May 2023: Battle of the Atlantic 80: A weekend of events across Merseyside to mark the 80th anniversary. Further details will be announced in Spring 2023.
Peter N. Davies Seminar
Peter N Davies Seminar 2022
'Imagined futures of sail and steam' by Morten Tinning, PhD candidate, Copenhagen Business School
Wednesday 2 November 2022, 5.30pm GMT
Hybrid event - Liverpool John Moores University and Online
Venue: Room 106, John Foster Building, LJMU, 80-98 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, L3 5UZ
Registration for online participation only.
This presentation explores how a Danish maritime community shaped entrepreneurial activity through the process of envisioning competing imagined futures. It does so through a public debate about the transition from sail to steam in 1899. In the debate, local actors evaluated and negotiated expectations for the future as embedded in existing norms, interpretations of the past, and socio-technical systems. The presentation gives an in-depth view of a traditional maritime community struggling to navigate the transition from sail to steam and the potential role of community in constructing and disputing over imagined business futures.
Peter N. Davies Seminar
‘Maritime Education in the 1890s: microhistories from the Liverpool Nautical College’ by Dr Wayne Turnbull, PhD Candidate LJMU
Venue – Online
Time – 5:30pm GMT
Length - 45 Minute Presentation followed by Q&A
Call for Papers
Peter Davies was one of Britain’s foremost scholars of the international shipping industry and was instrumental in strengthening the international standing of maritime history. Peter was a founding member of the Centre for Port & Maritime History (CPMH) and, as such, the Centre is pleased to host this annual seminar series in honour of his contribution to maritime history and his support for emerging scholars in the discipline.
The seminar will take the form of a 45-minute online presentation followed by Q&A.
CPMH seeks applications to present the seminar from emerging scholars working on any topic within the discipline of Maritime History. All applications and supporting materials should be submitted to Professor Nick White at firstname.lastname@example.org by the Deadline 15 June 2022. The successful applicant will be notified week commencing 31 July 2022.
Please access the links below for further details and an application form:
Battle of the Atlantic 80, Conference
20 May 2023
The Centre for Port and Maritime History is hosting a one-day conference on Saturday 20 May at The Maritime Museum, Liverpool, to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.
Capt. Sean Ryan, The Maritime Warfare Centre, Naval Command Headquarters. Intelligence, wargaming, and naval doctrine
- Dr Jayne Friend, University of Portsmouth. ‘Veterans and Relics: Britain’s Shipping Crisis and the V, W and Town-class Destroyers’
- Dr David Kohnen, Naval War College, USA. “All the Dismembered Heads”: Special Intelligence and the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic, 1937-1947
- Dr Sarah-Louise Miller, visiting scholar at the University of Oxford. ‘The Wargame Women: The Women’s Royal Naval Service and the Western Approaches Tactical Unit During the Battle of the Atlantic’
- Dr James W E Smith, King’s College London. ‘Refighting the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ After 1945: Policy, Plans, Doctrine, and the State’
- Rear Admiral James Parkin CBE, Director Develop, Naval Command Headquarters. Innovation in the ASW space: NavyX and Patrick Blackett
The event is free, but all delegates must register in advance.
Centre for Port and Maritime History Annual Conference
Hybrid Event - Thursday 15 and Friday 16 September 2022
Conference Theme: Memorialisation and the Sea
Call for Papers deadline: 19 July 2022
Centre for Port and Maritime History Annual Conference
Thursday 9 and Friday 10 September 2021
Conference Theme: Identities, Nations, Seas
Registration £5 waged, free unwaged
Registration closes on 7 September 2021.
Call for papers deadline: 18 June 2021
12 and 13 September 2019, CPMH Conference, Art and the Sea
14 September 2018, Singapore 200 ESRC funded workshop.
13 September 2018, CPMH Conference, Labour and the Sea
Mike Stammers Memorial Lecture
2023 Mike Stammers Memorial Lecture
Venue - The Maritime Musuem
Date and Time - Wednesday 24 May 2023, 5:30pm.
'Race, gender and class: ayahs and amahs as “worker-passengers” in British ships 1890-1950'. By Dr Jo Stanley, FRHistS, AssocRINA, writer, consultant and Honorary Research Fellow, Blaydes Maritime Centre, University of Hull and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, LJMU
New ideas about equality, diversity, and inclusion are enriching maritime historiography. Exploring transnational movement by a significant group of mobile subjects - Asian nannies - enables fresh understandings of how intersectionality worked on early 20C ships. Thousands of Indian ayahs and Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian amahs travelled round the British empire creating domestic comfort afloat as non-kin members of the Raj families they accompanied.
Voyages changed ayahs. In gendered, racialized and very hierarchical colonial times these non-white, poorly-educated, female domestic workers gained unusual mobility and motility. Conversely, ayahs’ status changed voyaging. For example, segregationist policies and practises led to ship’s architects creating ayahs’ bathrooms aboard.
This talk looks at ayahs and amahs as part of an under-researched group: worker-passengers. Neither seafarers nor passengers, such voyagers included maids, valets, bearers and governesses. Their subjective, segregated and exceptional experiences differed from those of maritime labourers directly employed by shipping companies, such as Lascars and white stewardesses who routinely serviced the vessel and processed multiple batches of human cargo respectively.
Ayahs’ own testimony is barely visible. But the quantitative evidence used here includes freshly-sorted data derived from passenger lists. This is triangulated with genealogical information about ayahs’ employers, travellers’ voyage descriptions, newspaper reports of ayah-related crime, and recent interviews with ayahs’ (now elderly) carees. The lenses used include those generated by the new international working party on ayahs and amahs, which contextualises them along with today’s airborne chattels.
2022 Mike Stammers Memorial Lecture
Venue - Merseyside Maritime Museum
Date and Time - Wednesday 4 May 2022, 5.30pm
Abstract: 'The Bethesda Shipping Company and its Liverpool connections, 1877-98' by Dr David Jenkins, Honorary Research Fellow, National Museum of Wales
This lecture is an attempt to reflect Mike Stammers' interest in the maritime history of north Wales in the 19th century and the close connections that developed with commercial activity on Merseyside. The 1870s marked the high point of the north Wales slate industry when slate quarrymen had money to spare, money which was invested in a remarkable series of shipping companies founded in the quarrying areas during that decade. In particular, the lecture looks at the company founded in Bethesda in 1877 and traces the company's links to Liverpool and ports elsewhere in the UK, reflecting the economic vitality of the slate quarrying communities during that remarkable decade.
Wednesday 12 May 2021, Roy Fenton, 'Salt, Stone and Steam: Making the Mersey a Coastal Shipping Hub'.
The Mersey developed as the west coast’s major centre for coastal shipping through its unique geographical position. The river was the natural outlet for Cheshire salt and Lancashire coal, and became a highway for moving Welsh stone and slate for urban development. Major canal systems connected it to inland industries as far away as Yorkshire and the Midlands. Increasing trade with Ireland was an important growth factor, whilst Liverpool becoming Britain’s Atlantic gateway was an major stimulus to coastwise trade. Local ship owners grasped the opportunities offered by exploiting the steam ship and helped turn the Mersey into one the busiest in Britain for coastal shipping. This lecture aims to demonstrate how these factors contributed to the rise of the Mersey as a coastal shipping hub, and considers how ship owners in Liverpool and the other Mersey ports contributed to and benefited from this growth.
8 May 2019, Rachel Mulhearn, ‘”Don’t think of emigrating!”: Liverpool and overseas migration during the First World War’.
13 June 2018, Prof. Nick White (LJMU), ‘Liverpool Shipping and the End of Empire’.
Seminars and talks
History Talk at Carnival Brewing Company
23 March 2023 at 7pm
‘“Hostage Capitalism”: Liverpool, Shanghai and the Blue Funnel Line in the 1960s’. By Nick White
In the late-1960s a number of Blue Funnel seafarers were interned in China. The Liverpool-based Blue Funnel Line was Britain’s premier shipping group in eastern Asia, and the talk will address this ‘hostage capitalism’ in the context of China’s Cultural Revolution and the UK’s enfeeblement ‘east of Suez’. But it will also delve deeper in discussing the shifting power balance between Liverpool and Shanghai going back to the 1860s and the origins of Blue Funnel’s trade with China in the period of so-called ‘informal empire’ period followed by the twentieth-century upheavals of the Nationalist Revolution, Japanese militarism and the ascendancy of the Chinese Communist Party
12 October 2022, 5pm BST
"Narrating Pride and Loss at Sea: Oral History and the Exploration of Seafarer Identity in the Age of Containerization” by Michael Bennedsen Hansen
Michael Bennedsen Hansen is a PhD candidate at Copenhagen Business School and visiting researcher at CPMH, LJMU.
The seminar is based on Michael's dissertation, an oral history project exploring changes in the life world and identity of Danish seafarers employed in container shipping 1970-2022.
Containerization as a key driver of globalization has transformed international shipping and maritime cultures. But how has this historical transformation affected the working lives of the seafarers experiencing the changes onboard the ships? The dissertation seeks to answer this question by exploring how the seafarers construct an identity when remembering and narrating their work life stories in oral history interviews.
The dissertation views oral history as a way for the historian to engage with processes of memory and to explore people’s relation to the past. Remembering and narrating one’s life is an active form of identity work, as much about the present as about the past. Narratives are, to quote Ricoeur, how people reckon with time.
Drawing on insights and concepts from narrative theory, the dissertation shows how the seafarers: i.) Draw on public and available narratives and myths in constructing their personal story and identity. ii.) Negotiate contrasting feelings of pride and loss by stressing continuities with the past in container shipping. iii.) Express a reflective nostalgia, actively negotiating the meaning of the past. iv.) Are able to ascribe new meaning to their work by aligning their values as seafarers with the values of the company and industry at large. v.) Strive for composure and coherence in their narratives thereby also constructing silences.
The dissertation contributes to the renewed conversation between business history and oral history by showing how business historians can work with memories when trying to understand the meaning of larger historical transformations.
Wednesday 22 November, 5pm
'Not a Round of 'Beer and Skittles’: Life Aboard Royal Navy Destroyers, 1900-1945' by Jayne Friend, PhD Candidate, University of Portsmouth
Venue: Room 116, John Foster Building, LJMU, 80-98 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, L3 5UZ
Registration for online participation only.
Life aboard destroyers could be especially arduous and uncomfortable owing to the cramped conditions, the nature of operational duties and the danger of conflict. Yet, despite numerous hardships and privations, many men expressed a preference for life aboard destroyers. The purported resilience necessary to endure such acute hardships coloured reporting and honed an image of the destroyer sailor as an embodiment of the bravery, heroism and resilience that underlined the ‘best traditions of the British Navy.’ This presentation examines first-hand accounts, news reporting and narratives that explore the unique nature of life aboard destroyers and contends that the ship had a significant part to play in shaping sailors' experiences and identities.
9 December 2020 at 5pm
For details of how to join the online seminar, please contact Prof. N. J White at email@example.com
26 February 2020, Dr Alston Kennerley (researcher and historian of the University of Plymouth), "Preparing for Sea”: Merseyside and Merchant Seafarer Training since the 18th Century.’
10 February 2020, Visit by MA Transport Planning and Management students from Lagos State University who attended a talk delivered by Patrick Toosey, former MD of Elder Dempster Lines hosted by CPMH at LJMU.
23 October 2019, Dr Eric Schneider (LSE & Pei Gao -NYU Shanghai),’ The health of boys on the Training Ship Indefatigable, 1865-1995.’
21 November 2018, Dr Edmund Chilaka (Lagos State University), ‘The Impact of Apapa’s Traffic Gridlock on Global Maritime Trade and Nigeria’s Economy: The Case for Re-design and Renewal of the Port City’.