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.


Helen Doe

Helen is a Fellow of the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies at the University of Exeter, where she gained her PhD. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a trustee of the ss Great Britain. She has published extensively on 19th century sail, women in the maritime world, and in 2015, in a departure from her usual maritime theme, published a well received biography of a WW2 fighter ace. She is currently working on a series of books on Isambard Brunel's shipping ventures. Her lecturing experience is wide and she is a speaker onboard all three Cunard ships. She has appeared on radio and television.