Connecting the Oceans: the Impact of Global Steam in the Nineteenth Century

Date / time: 6 September - 7 September, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Connecting the Oceans: the Impact of Global Steam in the Nineteenth Century

A conference under the joint auspices of the SS Great Britain and the Society for Nautical Research, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the SNR co-ordinating her salvage in 1969.

Booking is open at

The nineteenth century was a period of astonishing change in the maritime world. The advent of steam technology ended the age-old dependence on wind and tide, shortened voyages, ended some trades and enabled others, destroyed or made entire professions, caused the demise of many ports and contributed to the rise of others, and brought prosperity to individuals, cities, and entire regions. The SS Great Britain, and the variety of roles she played in her long life – ocean liner, troopship, emigrant ship, collier – epitomises these remarkable developments, and will provide an iconic venue for a major conference to discuss these themes. The involvement of the Society for Nautical Research marks and remembers the major contribution of the society, and individual members of it, to the campaign to save and bring home this unique ship.

The conference will focus on the following themes:

1. Trade, communication and migration.

2. Politics, diplomacy and war (and other conflicts).

3. Economic & Social aspects – e.g. the experiences of crew and passengers; the impact on maritime and other communities; ship-building, engineering, ports and regions.

International speakers from a variety of backgrounds will present a varied and diverse range of papers. Keynote speakers will be Dr Helen Doe, Dr Graeme Milne and Captain Peter King.