Blaydes Maritime Centre
We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Culture and Education, University of Hull.
About Blaydes House
and Our People
Blaydes House in its present form was built in the mid-eighteenth century as their family home and as a place to entertain clients and conduct business.
This is reflected in the grandeur of the hallway, the sweeping carved staircase and the fine panelling and plasterwork in many of the rooms. Blaydes House was designed to impress and to demonstrate wealth and status, but it was also a place of work, and the land behind it accommodated warehouses and a quay where the Blaydes’ ships unloaded. The family’s shipyards on the River Hull, at Paull and at Hessle Cliff built many vessels for local shipowners, and also for the Royal Navy.
The most famous was the Bethia, built as a merchant ship in 1784 but bought by the Navy five years later and converted into HMAV Bounty. Others included HMS Boreas, once commanded by Nelson and HMS Rose. The Blaydes family left Hull during the early nineteenth century, and the house passed through a variety of owners before being bought by the University of Hull in 1999. The University subsequently restored the house, with period colour schemes and sympathetic modifications to fit it for its new role as the home of the Blaydes Maritime Centre. In addition to office space, the beautifully carved drawing room now serves as a lecture theatre, and the servants’ quarters house one of the finest maritime history libraries in the country.
Blaydes House has benefited from significant restoration work since the 1970s. Watch: ‘Blaydes House: Then and Now’
Dr Martin Wilcox
Lecturer in History
I’m a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Hull, and operations manager of Blaydes House.
My main research areas are eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British naval history and the history of fishing. [readmore]
However, I’ve also written on aspects of maritime labour and the history of ports.
I oversee and coordinate many of the centre’s public engagement activities, including the Maritime History Seminar Series.
Professor David Starkey
Emeritus Professor of Maritime History.
Back in 1998, I was the Founding Director of the Maritime Historical Studies Centre (now Blaydes Maritime Centre) at the University of Hull.
Now Emeritus Professor of Maritime History, my research interests [readmore] embrace many aspects of humankind’s relationship with the sea, particularly shipping, seafaring, piracy, privateering and the fisheries in the North Atlantic region since the late seventeenth century.
Among my published works are British Privateering Enterprise in the 18th Century (Exeter UP, 1990), Global Markets: The Internationalization of the Sea Transport Industries since 1850 (IMEHA, 1998), Shipping Movements in the UK, 1871-1913 (Exeter UP, 1999), England’s Sea Fisheries (Chatham, 2000), Oceans Past (Earthscan, 2007) and A History of the North Atlantic Fisheries (Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum, 2 volumes, 2009 and 2012).
I serve as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Maritime History, and am a Fellow of the British Commission for Maritime History.
Dr Jo Stanley
Honorary Research Fellow
Dr Jo Stanley, FRHistS, FRSA, is Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at Blaydes Maritime Centre, University of Hull. [readmore]
Acclaimed as one of the world’s leading experts of diversity at sea, she has produced numerous books, articles, plays, blog items, TV and radio programmes, and reviews, especially on women and LGBTQI at sea.
Her current path-breaking work is on early BAME women worker-passengers: ayahs and amahs sailing to and from the Raj.
Though a historian, Jo connects with the modern maritime industry, for example, through the Maritime UK diversity networks and as an AssocRINA.
Living in a Pennine mill village she is a part-time textile artist and mental health phone-line volunteer.
Dr Colin Heywood
Honorary Research Fellow
My research interests cover much of the Early Modern period, from Ottoman history proper and the history of Ottoman documents, to the history of English seafarers and seafaring in the Mediterranean.
For some years now I have been working on a major project, an edition of a hitherto unpublished sea-journal kept by an English ship’s surgeon, John Looker, of the second Mediterranean voyage of a London merchantman, the Blackham Galley (1696-98), which should be published in 2022 by the Hakluyt Society.
I have also recently completed a number of articles, including one of people-taking across the Mediterranean frontier in the years 1675-1714; a study of a commercial/diplomatic dispute involving criminality amongst English merchants trading at Aleppo in the 1660s and the Ottoman response to it, and an essay on the communication problems faced by English diplomats at the Ottoman Porte in transmitting their despatches to London during a period of general European war. Other works are in the pipeline for completion in the near future.
Dr Robb Robinson
Honorary Research Fellow
Robb Robinson’s current research interests include national and international fisheries history, whaling, the littoral maritime history of the Yorkshire Coast and indeed the British Isles and the role of coastal communities in the Great War at sea, as well as the impact of [readmore] various British individuals in the creation our modern global maritime society.
He has authored five books and contributed to a range of academic and popular journals, as well as TV programmes and various community projects.
He is a Trustee of the British Commission for Maritime History and of the Steam Trawler Viola Trust.
Professor Ingo Heidbrink
Honorary Research Fellow BMC, Professor of History, Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA
Ingo Heidbrink is Professor of History at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA (USA). He was founding head of the Department of Fisheries History at the German National Maritime Museum,[readmore] before joining Old . Dominion University in 2007.
His main areas of research are fisheries history, traditional watercraft and the economic history of the polar regions. He is secretary general of the International Maritime History Association (IMHA), an expert member of the International Polar Heritage Committee (IPHC), has hold numerous fellowships and guest professorships and has taught two terms at the Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland. He is also co-PI on the project ‘The Last Ice Age.’
Alongside his academic career he is a professional mariner holding a master’s and an engineer’s license for professional inland waterway navigation.
Maritime History Trust
The University of Hull Maritime History Trust was established in 1999 is the owner of Blaydes House, a Georgian heritage site on the High Street in the old town of Hull. It provides a workplace for Maritime History staff and visiting scholars to advance knowledge of all aspects of maritime history via teaching, research and public engagement.
Blaydes House is a repository for maritime collections of books, archives and artifacts as well as research datasets. The Trust, whose members are drawn from the academic and maritime business community, supports both financially and practically the work of staff and students, and events hosted at Blaydes House.
Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City
This five year multi-million pound project will revitalise the maritime heritage of the city, presenting and interpreting the fascinating history of Hull’s long relationship with the sea. In particular, the project will deliver the refurbishment and preservation of four historic maritime sites and two historic ships. Blaydes Maritime Centre is committed to supporting this exciting initiative, contributing academic insight and research expertise.
Department of History, University of Hull
Members of the department have played a pivotal role since its inception. Many of our postgraduates have pursued research into maritime themes. Our undergraduates benefit from participation in internships and knowledge exchange activities located at Blaydes House.
Faculty of Arts, Culture and Education,
University of Hull
Blaydes Maritime Centre is a venue in the heart of the city for knowledge exchange and research activity for staff and students across our Faculty.
Friends of Blaydes Maritime Centre
The aim of the Friends of Blaydes Maritime Centre is to grow an active network of supporters and allies amongst the wide community of people who share our passion for maritime studies. This includes past and present students, staff, volunteers, academic and amateur researchers, as well as attendees at our popular seminar series and maritime events. Members of Friends of Blaydes Maritime Centre will receive newsletters with updates of events, projects and research. There will also be opportunities to learn about and feed into our work through attendance at Friends meetings (which will be held online, to ensure the widest possible participation).
Our Research Students
The Humber Outport: Connections between Lloyd’s Register and the port of Hull, c.1880-1980
Pioneering management of quality and risk: the contribution of Lloyd’s Register to improvements in the safety of merchant shipping, 1834-1881
Islands in the Imagination: St Kilda in Children’s Literature
British Imports of Norwegian Natural Ice, 1800-1920
Role of Intelligence-gathering in the Expansion of British Empire
Navalism in Britain
Criminal Law Amendment Act and Music Hall, 1850-1914
Our Completed PhD Theses
Effie Dorovitsa, 2022
Norwegian Ice Exports into France, 1850-1914
Joe Varley, 2021
The Port of Cork 1793-1815
Helen Bergin, 2017
‘Captain William Colbeck’s Antarctic experience: Being Human in the Heroic Age’ (University Studentship)
Emma Taaffe, 2014
“We suffered in silence”: An analysis of the Cause and Management of Occupational Hazards at Chatham Dockyard, 1945 to 1984’
Stephen Friend, 2010
‘A Sense of Belonging: Religion and Identity in Yorkshire and Humber Fishing Communities, c.1815-1914’
Adrian Osler, 2006
‘Responding to Change: Shipping Deployments in the Baltic Trade of the Tyne, 1860-1880’
Hanna Hagmark, 2003
‘Women in the Åland Maritime Community’ (funded by Åland Shipowners Association, Finland)
Claire Day, 2021
The sartorial extremes of the distant-water trawlermen of Hull
Alex Ombler, 2016
‘The Port of Hull, 1945-2000: Change, Adaptation and Memory’ (University Studentship)
Robert Gear, 2012
‘The development of Shetland’s pelagic Fishing Industry, since 1945’ (Shetland Harbour Trust)
John Dacam, 2009
‘Wanton and Torturing Punishments: Patterns of Discipline and Punishment in the Royal Navy, 1783-1815’ (AHRC Studentship)
Michael Smale, 2006
‘Patterns and Processes of Migration to the Port of Hull, 1850-1900’
Mark Hunter, 2003
‘Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Naval relations’
(funded by Social Science Research Council, Canada)
Meredith Greiling, 2020
Maritime Sculpture in Context: Ship Models in Scottish Churches
Joanne Byrne, 2015
“After the Tide”:Memory and Afterlife in the Wake of Hull’s Distant-Water trawl fishery after 1976’ (AHRC CDA Studentship)
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, Boydell & Brewer Prize, 2011)
John Golding, 2009
‘The English Coastal Motor Barge Trade since 1918’
Nicholas Evans, 2006
‘Aliens en route: Transmigration through Britain, 1836-1914’
Michael Haines, 1998
‘Technological in the Fisheries, 1850-1914’ (funded by National Fishing Heritage Centre, Grimsby)
Erica McCarthy, 2017
‘Ships’ Figureheads in Britain: An evaluation of their changing purpose and interpretation’
(AHRC CDA Studentship with National Maritime Museum)
Brian Lavery, 2015
“Headscarf Revolutionaries”: Lil Bilocca and the Triple Trawler Tragedy’ (University Studentship)
Tegwyn Roberts, 2011
‘Topographies of memory and everyday space in Hull’ (AHRC Studentship)‘Topographies of memory and everyday space in Hull’ (AHRC Studentship)
Martin Wilcox, 2006
Apprenticed Labour in the English Fishing Industry, 1850-1914’ (ESRC Studentship)
‘Aspects of Portuguese Rule in the Arabian Gulf, 1521-1622’ in the 17th Century’