Blaydes Maritime Centre

Our main objective is to explore and explain the interaction of human societies and the marine environment, and to assess its significance to human societal development and to natural maritime resources.

Our impacts are many and varied. Some of our projects, such as those dealing with marine environmental and coastal heritage, have direct policy implications locally and nationally.

Much of our research is of popular interest which we maximise through a successful programme of public talks and events, and through rigorous but accessible publications.

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education
Professor David J Starkey
Professor of Maritime History

The Challenge

Our main objective is to explore and explain the interaction of human societies and the marine environment, and to assess its significance to human societal development and to natural maritime resources.

The Approach

We undertake scholarly research that yields high-quality outputs in journals, monographs, edited collections and web publications. We also provide research-informed programmes of study at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Ocean wave


  • to understand and explain the importance of the interaction between human societies and the marine environment, past, present and future
  • to provide a forum in which maritime experts of all kinds can engage with the public and raise awareness of their, and our, work


Fishing nets

Safety in the Trawl Fisheries and Merchant Shipping: An Appraisal of the Archives

funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF)
April 2018 – March 2019

Choppy sea

Thomas Chapman PhD Scholarships

funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF)
October 2018 – January 2022

Norway ice

The Last Ice Age: The Trade in Natural Ice as an Agent of Modernisation and Economic Integration

funded by the Research Council of Norway
October 2018 - September 2022

View all projects

Safety in the Trawl Fisheries and Merchant Shipping: An Appraisal of the Archives, funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF)

April 2018 – March 2019

We are appraising the archives of the LRF's Heritage and Education Centre which are held in selected repositories from the Humber to the Tyne. The focus of the appraisal relates to the safety of vessels, seafarers, fishermen, passengers and cargoes.

We are examining primary sources generated and preserved by Lloyd's Register, an organisation engaged primarily in enhancing safety at sea, and also assessing archival material created for various purposes, many of which were incidentally connected with safety at sea, and maintained in the various collections of provincial record offices.

Thomas Chapman PhD Scholarships, funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF)

October 2018 – January 2022

The overarching aim of the LRF Doctoral Training Programme is to enhance knowledge, understanding and public awareness of the risks to life and property that are inherent to work at sea, and to mitigate those risks through behavioural and policy change.

This will be attained through research into historical records undertaken largely by two PhD students under the supervision of specialists in maritime history, maritime law and marine science at the University of Hull, in collaboration with archivists and historians working in the LRF's Heritage and Education Centre.

The Last Ice Age: The Trade in Natural Ice as an Agent of Modernisation and Economic Integration, funded by the Research Council of Norway

October 2018 - September 2022

The ‘Last Ice Age’ examines the trade in Norwegian natural ice that flourished during the 19th century. In peak years, the shipment of this vital product to a host of overseas markets employed thousands of people and hundreds of ships.

This project examines the far-reaching impact this very particular Norwegian business had on the production, transport, marketing and consumption of fresh food and cold drinks in Europe and North America in the days before modern cooling technology.

Completed Research Projects

History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP)


HMAP was a 10-year international, interdisciplinary research programme led by the universities of Hull, Southern Denmark (Roskilde from March 2006), and New Hampshire. Hull shared responsibility for the co-ordination of 15 research teams in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia, which produced more than 200 printed and online research outputs.

Integrating Multiple Demands on Coastal Zones (INCOFISH)


We were responsible for co-ordinating the research efforts of colleagues in eight partner institutions – three in the UK (Aberdeen, CEFAS and Hull), two in Europe (Estonia, Denmark), and three in South America (Galapagos, Peru and Columbia). INCOFISH was identified as one of the top 40 projects - of over 10,000 - funded under the auspices of the EU’s Framework 6.

England’s Sea Fisheries


We initiated, co-ordinated and raised funds for a project that culminated in the publication of Starkey et al (eds), England’s Sea Fisheries. The Commercial Sea Fisheries of England and Wales since 1300 (2000). This substantial volume comprises 25 chapters written by 24 scholars, and remains the most complete analysis of the nation’s fisheries history.

Shipping Movements


We raised funding for, and organised the work of, two research assistants and an IT specialist to assist in the production of a book providing a welter of refined, validated statistical data for students of the history of British trade, shipping and ports. This initiative yielded Starkey (ed), Shipping Movements in the Ports of the United Kingdom, 1871-1913: A Statistical Profile (1999).

Working Women in Eighteenth-Century Maritime London

How did Britain’s maritime ambitions impact on those women who were not married to seamen? This talk takes a fresh look at female roles during the second half of the eighteenth century.

Blaydes Maritime History Seminar: Margarette Lincoln (Goldsmiths, London)

Monday 4 March 2019, 5.30pm
Blayde's House

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The battle of the Atlantic over Two World Wars

This lecture will compare the Royal Navy’s performance in trade protection against submarines in the Atlantic theatre over the two World Wars to test the common view the Navy had a bad First World War and a good Second.

Blaydes Maritime History Seminar: Michael Duffy (University of Exeter)

Monday 1 April 2019, 5.30pm
Blaydes House

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History books and volumes at Blaydes House
Outputs and publications

David J Starkey, David Atkinson, Briony McDonagh, Sarah McKeon and Elisabeth Salter (eds), Hull: Culture, History, Place, including David J Starkey, ‘Distant-water Trawlerman: William Oliver, 1884-1959’, pp 207-37, Liverpool University Press, 326pp, ISBN 978-1-78138-419-0 (2017)

Gelina Harlaftis, Dimitris Dimitropoulos and David J Starkey (eds), Corsairs and Pirates in the Eastern Mediterranean, Fifteenth-Nineteenth Centuries, including David J Starkey, ‘Epilogue: Parasites, Predators and the Historical Process’, pp 161-7, Sylvia Ioannou Foundation, 173pp, ISBN 978-960-87792-5-9 (2016)

David J Starkey, ‘Private Enterprise, Public Policy and the Development of Britain’s Seafaring Workforce, 1650-1815’, in Cheryl Fury (ed), The Social History of English Seamen, 1650-1815, pp 147-81, ISBN 978-1-84383-953-8, Boydell Press (2017)

David J Starkey, 'Fish and Fisheries in the Atlantic World’, in D’Maris Coffman, Adrian Leonard and William O’Reilly (eds), The Atlantic World. Routledge (2014)

David J Starkey and Matthew McCarthy, ‘A Persistent Phenomenon: Private Prize-Taking in the British Atlantic World, c.1540-1856’, in Stefan Eklöf Amirell and Leos Müller (eds), Persistent Piracy: Maritime Violence and State-Formation in Global Historical Perspective, Palgrave Macmillan, pp 131-51, ISBN 978-1-137-35285-9 (2014)

Chapter in book, externally refereed, co-authored (80%) with Matthew McCarthy, 2014. ‘A Persistent Phenomenon: Private Prize-Taking in the British Atlantic World, c.1540-1856’ in Stefan Eklöf Amirell & Leos Müller, (eds.), Persistent Piracy: Maritime Violence and State Formation in Global Historical Perspective. London, Palgrave, pp.162-88.

Edited book (second of 2 volumes), designed, co-ordinated, arranged and co-edited (90%) with Jón Thór & Ingo Heidbrink, 2012. A History of the North Atlantic FisheriesBremen, Hauschild:

Volume 2: From the 1850s to the Early Twenty-First Century. 2012. 336pp. ISBN 978-3-89757-512-7, including two sole-authored chapters:

‘The North Atlantic Fisheries: Bearings, Currents and Grounds’, pp.13-26.

‘Fish: A Removable Feast’, pp.327-35.

Chapter in book, externally refereed, co-authored (30%) with Michaela Barnard, 2012. ‘Private Companies, Culture and Place in the Development of Hull’s Maritime Business Sector, c. 1860-1914’ in Gelina Harlaftis, Stig Tenold & Jesus Valdaliso (eds.), The World’s Key Industry: History and Economics of International Shipping. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.200-19. ISBN 978-0-230-36914-6.

Chapter in book, externally refereed, 2012. ‘‘To Excite the Whole Company to Courage and Bravery’: The Incentivization of British Privateering Crews, 1689-1815’ in R. Harding & H. Doe (eds.) Leadership and Management in Naval History. Woodbridge, Boydell & Brewer, pp.123-42. ISBN 978-1-84383-695-7.

Journal article, 2011. ‘“Nache der Pfeife des handles tanzen”: Die Britische Seetransportindustrie von 1850 bis 1990’ Zeitschrift fűr Weltgeschichte, 12(2): 45-76. ISBN 978-3-89975-262-5.

Research Students

Meredith Greiling

Claire Day

Joe Varley

Talya Baldwin

Ben Jennings

Effie Dorovitsa

Peter Phillipson

Sam Wright

Mike Reeve

Matt Pooley

Completed PhDs
  • Erica McCarthy, 2017. ‘Ships’ Figureheads in Britain: An evaluation of their changing purpose and interpretation’ (AHRC CDA Studentship, on time, with National Maritime Museum)
  • Helen Bergin, 2017. ‘Captain William Colbeck’s Antarctic experience: Being Human in the Heroic Age’ (University Studentship, on time, David Atkinson, main supervisor)
  • Alex Ombler, 2016. ‘The Port of Hull, 1945-2000: Change, Adaptation and Memory’ [University Studentship, on time; David Atkinson, main supervisor]
  • Joanne Byrne, 2015. ‘“After the Tide”:Memory and Afterlife in the Wake of Hull’s Distant-Water trawl fishery after 1976’ [AHRC CDA Studentship, on time; with Hull Maritime Museum]
  • Brian Lavery, 2015. ‘“Headscarf Revolutionaries”: Lil Bilocca and the Triple Trawler Tragedy’ [University Studentship, on time; Martin Goodman, main supervisor]
  • Emma Taaffe, 2014. ‘“We suffered in silence”: An analysis of the Cause and Management of Occupational Hazards at Chatham Dockyard, 1945 to 1984’ [self funded]
  • Robert Gear, 2012. ‘The development of Shetland’s pelagic Fishing Industry, since 1945’ [Shetland Harbour Trust; on time]
  • Matthew McCarthy, 2011. ‘A Sure Defence against the Foe?’ Maritime Predation & British Commercial Policy during the Spanish American Wars of Independence, 1810-1830 [AHRC Studentship, on time. Boydell & Brewer Prize, 2011]
  • Tegwyn Roberts, 2011. ‘Topographies of memory and everyday space in Hull’ [AHRC Studentship, on time; David Atkinson, main supervisor]
  • Stephen Friend, 2010. ‘A Sense of Belonging: Religion and Identity in Yorkshire and Humber Fishing Communities, c.1815-1914’ [self funded]
  • John Dacam, 2009. ‘Wanton and Torturing Punishments: Patterns of Discipline and Punishment in the Royal Navy, 1783-1815’ [AHRC Studentship, on time; R Gorski, main supervisor]
  • John Golding, 2009. ‘The English Coastal Motor Barge Trade since 1918’ [self funded]
  • Martin Wilcox, 2006. ‘Apprenticed Labour in the English Fishing Industry, 1850-1914’ [ESRC Studentship, on time]
  • Adrian Osler, 2006. ‘Responding to Change: Shipping Deployments in the Baltic Trade of the Tyne, 1860-1880’ [self funded]
  • Michael Smale, 2006.’Patterns and Processes of Migration to the Port of Hull, 1850-1900’ [self funded]
  • Nicholas Evans, 2006. ‘Aliens en route: Transmigration through Britain, 1836-1914’ [self funded]
  • Mohammed Salman, 2005. ‘Aspects of Portuguese Rule in the Arabian Gulf, 1521-1622’ in the 17th Century’ [self funded; R Gorski, main supervisor]
  • Hanna Hagmark, 2003. ‘Women in the Åland Maritime Community’ [funded by Åland Shipowners Association, Finland, on time]
  • Mark Hunter, 2003 ‘Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Naval Relations’[funded by Social Science Research Council, Canada, on time]
  • Michael Haines, 1998. ‘Technological in the Fisheries, 1850-1914’ [funded by National Fishing Heritage Centre, Grimsby, on time]


Our research impacts the world. Come and join us.

Be part of a vibrant research community at the University of Hull.

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