‘The shrine of manly virtues’: the 1920s Restoration of HMS Victory, Sarah Westbury


HMS Victory post-restoration. Detail from late 1920s postcard. Image: Sarah Westbury

Over the past year I’ve been researching HMS Victory, the 251 year old warship preserved in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The Victory is already the subject of dozens of publications, but these focus almost exclusively on the ship’s military career – so the famous battles it fought in, the famous admirals in command – and focussing especially on its role as the flagship of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

But despite all of this published work, for me, the most interesting, and largely forgotten chapter of the ship’s history is actually its preservation and restoration in the 1920s. This was when an organisation called the Society for Nautical Research, who were a motley crew of antiquarians, naval architects, artists, and retired admirals persuaded the Admiralty to let them take control of the Victory’s future. By 1921 the Victory was found to be badly decayed: the First World War had seen to it that the Admiralty’s attention and resources had been distracted elsewhere.

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Programme, Sea Lines of Communication 2016: Discovery: 17 November 2016

 We are delighted to announce the programme for the Southampton Marine and Maritime Postgraduate Group’s third annual colloquium, Sea Lines of Communication: Discovery. The event celebrates and encourages diverse and interdisciplinary postgraduate and early career research across all fields of marine and maritime studies. The event is free, and open to all. We hope you will join us – please register here:

 Programme below the cut:

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How Humpback Whales Talk, and why Grey Whales Listen, Nicholas Flores Martin


Humpback whale, photograph by Jaqueline Clare

Nicholas Flores Martin is a PhD student within the CDT-SIS group, currently working on developing an acoustic-based behavioural guidance system for fish. His talk dealt with the mechanics of humpback whale vocalisation and investigating the potential use of ambient sound by grey whales for navigation and foraging.

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Black and white photograph of the Imperator

Port Out, Southampton Home with Maria Newbery


This week, the SMMPG were treated to a tour of SeaCity Museum’s latest special exhibition, Port Out, Southampton Home by Maria Newbery. In addition to being a SeaCity Curator, Maria is also a PhD student researching Southampton’s trade in the late 1700s – so we were extremely grateful for her time!

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Call for Abstracts: Sea Lines of Communication 2016

Theme: Discovery
Location: Hartley Suite, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton
Date: 17 November 2016
Abstract Submission Deadline (NOW EXTENDED): 13th May 2016

The Southampton Marine and Maritime Postgraduate Group (SMMPG) would like to invite abstracts for a multidisciplinary conference. SMMPG is a collaboration between the University of Southampton’s postgraduate academics, the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), and Lloyd’s Register. The group aims to encourage multidisciplinary  research by fostering discourse between many disciplines, from shipbuilding to archaeology and oceanography to literature.

The theme of the conference is Discovery, which is meant to be taken in a broad sense. As such, ideas for papers include (but are not limited to):

  • how do you rediscover centuries-old maritime history?
  • the discovery of new technologies to address current problems
  • new ways of improving mariners’ physical and mental health
  • how do new and novel technologies affect the interpretation of the law?
  • how does our understanding of maritime geography influence literature?
  • how do we adapt to the effects of global climate change?

The event builds on the highly successful conferences of the last two years, where papers from diverse disciplines were presented to audiences of scholars and professionals from various maritime fields; and published in a monograph of the day’s papers. As befits the theme of Discovery, we hope to engage researchers from many diverse fields to inspire a new approach to maritime research.

We are accepting abstracts from postgraduate and early-career researchers in any discipline, for papers which resonate with the theme of Discovery and relate to any four of the SMMI’s broad themes:

Society & Government ● Trade & Transport ● Energy & Resources ● Climate & Environment

Papers will each last 15 minutes and will be organised into four panels based on the categories above. Each panel will be introduced by an established academic and followed by a period of discussion. Additionally on the day we will be having poster presentations. Therefore, we will be accepting abstracts for these as well. While Discovery is the broad theme we have chosen to work within, the conference’s focus is firmly on the concept of multidisciplinary communication. The ultimate aim of the conference is to forge connections between academics with different fields of expertise as well as engage with the wider public, including representatives from business and industry. As such, the presentations should be delivered with the aim of communicating the paper’s central themes and proceedings will be published in a book, which aims to develop a set of tools that can be used to further multidisciplinary research and develop our understanding of the maritime world.

Please send your proposal (250-300 words) to smmpg@soton.ac.uk by Friday 13th May, 2016. Abstracts should be formatted in a Word file and attached to the email. Please include your full name, the name of your university, and a brief bio. Themes are open to interpretation. Please indicate if your abstract is for a presentation or a poster. Please direct any questions to the conference organisers at the above email address.

Press Releases, Social Media, and More: Catherine Beswick, SMMI Editor-in-Residence

This week we welcomed Catherine Beswick, SMMI Editor-in-Residence, to talk to us about her (new) role, and how we, as postgraduate researchers, can benefit from her work. In Catherine’s own words, her job is to ‘shout about’ the work of the SMMI and its students to the outside world. While a big part of being a postgrad is about learning how to get your work out to academic audiences, Catherine is here to help us to share research with audiences outside of academia: be that the media, policy-makers, or relevant industries. Catherine has a background in Oceanography & Earth Sciences, and is dedicated to getting all kinds of marine and maritime research out to the audiences who could benefit the most from it.

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Turbulence and the Beach, guest post by Hachem Kassem


Me inBardexII

Hachem surveying the beach in between wave runs during the BARDEX II experiments.



Hachem Kassem, an SMMI PhD researcher based in Ocean and Earth Science, gave a talk as part of the SMMPG seminar series, on turbulence and its role is shaping the beach. His talk, enthusiastically called “Turbulence and the Beach” answered our much sought after question, ‘what does Hachem actually study?’. Attempting to present the most complex problem in classical physics to an audience of non-physicists, Hachem presented ample examples of turbulence in nature and engineering from the daily cup of coffee to the raging storms on Jupiter. Art depicting nature such as van Gogh’s Stormy night, and a selection of historical quotes often highlighting the frustration of those who endeavoured to study this problem, where heavily featured, with quotes like:

Turbulence was probably invented by the Devil of the seventh day of creation (when the Good Lord wasn’t looking (Bradshaw, 1994, J. Exp. Fluids)


‘this area of research has quite a lot in common with studies of alleged paranormal phenomena, precognition, telepathy , ghosts, messages from the underworld, and so on” (McComb, 1990, the Physics of Fluid Turbulence).

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