Naval Dockyards Society

Exploring the civil branches of navies & their material culture


TWENTY-SECOND ANNUAL CONFERENCE National Maritime Museum Greenwich 24 March 2018

The role of naval bases in maritime operations in the Mediterranean during the 18th century

This conference will examine the role of littoral and off-shore naval facilities (dockyards, anchorages, naval hospitals, hospital ships, guardships, etc) of the Royal Navy and other naval powers whose ships operated in the Mediterranean during the long 18th century (1688–1815). It will explore the nature of these facilities in the heavily contested Mediterranean. How significant were Royal Navy facilities to British defeat or victory? How did they compare with facilities constructed by other naval powers operating within the Mediterranean?

Jane Bowden-Dan: Victualling ‘Nelson’s Navy’ from anchorages in the Mediterranean during the French Wars, especially the Napoleonic period, 1803–1815
Gareth Cole: The role and establishments of British Ordnance Yards in the Mediterranean during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Jim Humberstone: Momentous Moves: Nelson’s Traverse of the Middle Sea, 4 May to 1/2 August 1798.
Philip MacDougall: The Naval Dockyard of Istanbul and its role in the failed attempt to thwart Greek Independence, 1770–1827
Ian Stafford: Strategy and the Forward Base: Lissa 1808 to 1814
Catherine Scheybeler: Spain’s eighteenth-century naval base at Cartagena: Exploring the relationship between naval strategy and modernising naval infrastructure.

Click here for Conference Booking Form

24 January 2018

Remedial action for Portsmouth Dockyard Buildings at Risk

After noting for too long that there had been no progress in conserving many buildings at risk in Portsmouth Dockyard, the NDS Committee decided to send a letter the Ministry of Defence to begin a dialogue about conserving and re-using its most vulnerable buildings.

Evidence shows that the MoD is falling short of government legislation and guidance to maintain its historic dockyard buildings to a ‘good’ standard.

The committee hopes that a cultural collaboration of stakeholders can help set up a MoD Conservation Group or a Heritage Partnership Agreement to resolve reported inconsistencies, deliver sustainable solutions creatively and accomplish what has not been achieved by the MoD in Portsmouth Dockyard in the last ten years.

Click here for Press Release and Letter to MoD.

We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions.

Dr Ann Coats, FRHistS, Hon. Chair, Naval Dockyards Society

20 February 2017

20th Century Naval Dockyards: Devonport and Portsmouth Characterisation Report

Coats, A., Davies, J. D., Evans, D., and Riley, R. (2015)
Portsmouth: Naval Dockyards Society
ISBN 978-0-9929292-0-6
ebook ISBN 978-0-9929292-2-0

After three years’ work by the NDS research team this report was published in 2015, launched on 13 November at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth.

This extensive report is the product of three years of sustained archival and field research into the C20 built environment of these dockyards by members of the Naval Dockyards Society, completed to Historic England standards. It contains 650 maps, plans, models and photographs, many in colour, and is enriched by discussions with many institutions, societies and individuals.

It places C20 dockyards within historical, military, industrial, material, personnel, engineering and architectural contexts. Developing the local, national and international profiles of Devonport and Portsmouth dockyards, it adds to our knowledge and understanding of why and how they changed during the C20 and initiates future research by asking questions.

An important baseline reference book for the future interpretation and management of the two remaining operational English dockyards, it distinguishes which buildings are typical of the C20 naval dockyards and of unique interest, combining data, narrative and analysis.

See C20 Naval Dockyards for downloadable copy of the Report

The digital archive of 20th Century Naval Dockyards Devonport and Portsmouth has been made available by the Archaeology Data Service, University of York, funded by Historic England,

16 February 2016