Tag Archives | Simon Smith


British Sailors and Prohibition: the experience of going “dry” in the USA during the Empire Cruise

Despite the cleansing of the sailor image during the late Victorian era, many contemporaries viewed sailors’ predilection for drink as a worrying problem.[1] In particular, Agnes Weston used the image of a drunken sailor riding a barrel to make her case for the temperance movement, although this portrayal was condemned by sailors.[2] Yet, the image […]

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sailors ashore

Sailors and Knocking Shops: an important part of Jack’s requirements ashore?

Despite a concerted effort by the establishment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to create an image of professional, respectable men, Jack’s licentious proclivities ashore have continued to form a key part of his popular image.[1] Yet what did sailors themselves record on the subject of sex? Christopher McKee has argued that ‘most […]

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North American Conference on British Studies

In his blog for North American Conference on British Studies, Port Towns & Urban Culture’s Simon Smith, explores the experiences of British Sailors during the First World War. “As we mark the centenary of the Great War this August it reveals just how much this episode of our history continues to interest and influence our […]

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Firing a Broadside_Cig Card

“The Sure Shield of Britain and of her Empire in the Hour of Trial”: sailors in the First World War

Given the upcoming centenary of the Great War this year it is understandable that we find ourselves saturated with discussions of the tragedy that befell the European empires in 1914. Yet, despite this wide and encouraging engagement with the topic, the key focus of popular debate is centred on the many millions who died fighting […]

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