Category Archives: Events

Events such as historical events, races, exhibitions, processions, regattas and so on.

Arthur Beale talk: The Sea Chart with chart expert John Blake

The Sea Chart John Blake

Historic West End, London chandlers Arthur Beale  Ltd are putting on a talk by navigator and historian John Blake on The Sea Chart.

The event is to be held on Wednesday the 4th May at St Giles in Fields Church just over the road from Arthur Beale and proprieter and sailor Alasdair Flint tells me it is a free event!

Alasdair suggests arriving early to browse the selection of nautical goods in the shop and notes that there’s a tendency to end up in a pub or going for a curry afterwards.

Please email talks@arthurbeale.co.uk to reserve your place.

Bloomsbury has just published the second edition of John’s book The Sea Chart with a foreword by Sir Ben Ainslie CBE, an additional 55 pages and 44 more illustrations of early sea charts and maps which will be available to purchase after the talk at a special price of £22.50.

Here’s Arthur Beale’s promotional blurb:

 

‘John Blake served in the Royal Navy and in the Reserve for nearly 16 years as an executive and navigating officer, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

‘During his naval time he served extensively in sea-going ships and qualified as a navy underwater diver and a naval air defence specialist. On leaving the service he gained a business diploma and moved into retailing, opening three retail stores in Covent Garden, London; Boston, Massachusetts and later in Osaka, Japan, featuring exclusively British gift products.

‘He is a keen maritime historian and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and writes regularly on maritime history for yachting and maritime magazines. He is a member of the Society of Authors.

‘John Blake’s talk will look at how the sea chart was pre-eminent in exploring and discovering the world since the earliest known chart of c.1275 with illustration from seventeen major archives and museums across the world, including those from Europe, China, India and Arabia, America and of course the foremost explorers of the 19th century Britain.

‘John has given highly acclaimed talks at the National Maritime Museum, Royal Ocean Racing Club, The Darwin Centre, Pembrokeshire, Royal Thames Yacht Club, United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, Royal Southern Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Royal Lymington Yacht Club, Little Ship Club, London, Marlborough College Summer School, Bath Sailing Club, Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, Wessex Cruising Association and the Indian High Commission (Nehru Centre), London.

‘In 1991 John Blake and his wife started an Intellectual Property Licensing Agency, Classics Licensing Company, and in 1996 helped initiate and run the licensing of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office archives, producers of the Admiralty sea charts, as their Licensing Agent for six years under the brand name The Admiralty Collection.’

 

On the 9th June Alasdiar and colleagues will show the 1950s film Ha’Penny Breeze. Set in Pin Mill on the River Orwell, he says it is a little gem. Calling all East Coast Sailors!

Ha'penny Breeze

Viking ship sets sail to America

Viking ship sails for America via Iceland and Greenland

Reproduction Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre has set sail for North America via Iceland and Greenland, and we can follow its progress here and on this Facebook page.

Great good luck to them. This will be an amazing and challenging trip, of course, and the crew will experience conditions few of us could face and will be far from any sort of quick rescue.

We live in very different times and it’s striking that this voyage will in some ways be different those experienced by the Vikings, and for good safety reasons. The skipper and crew have waited for a suitable weather window – in an open boat, you would. Modern weather forecasting must be a huge blessing.

Also I gather the ship is only permitted to carry 30 crew, not the 100 it would have had in the Viking era – which means she cannot be rowed in the way the Viking forefathers did, and so is motorised.

Still, I can’t imagine there’s a red-blooded sailor alive that wouldn’t love to spend some time sailing a craft like that – particularly if (like me) they have good reason to believe the Vikings were among their ancestors…

Do you want to see the sailing? See below!

For St George’s Day – a poem found hanging on the wall of the Naval and Military Club, Southend on Sea

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The Little Boats of England

The little boats of England, the little motor boats,
The little penny steamers, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats
Thre Brighton Belle, the Margate Queen, the Vigilant, the Lark,
The Saucy Jane, the Gracie Fields, even a Noah’s Ark,
Picked up their country’s message, that our backs were to the wall,
There is danger, there is danger, will you answer to the call?
Francis Drake, Collingwood and Nelson of the Nile,
Were on their quarter decks again, you should have seen them smile,
When all the little boats pulled out, from Dover to Dunkirk
To bring the British Army home, that was the job of work;
For how they performed their fearful task, the epic of those days
The history books will tell our sons, but let us sing their praise
And as they lie at anchor, from Newcastle to Poldhu,
With their battle scars upon them and with pennants red and blue
We say to them with grateful hearts, and voice that’s like to break
Lord Nelson would be proud of you; so would Sir Francis Drake.

By Ivor Back, 1940