Wednesday 5th April 11.30 am. '"‘The Want of Sufficient Men" Apprenticed Labour and the Making of the Modern Fishing Industry' Dr Martin Wilcox

  • In 1882 Osmond Brand, the owner and skipper of the trawler Rising Sun, was hanged for the murder of fourteen-year-old apprentice William Papper.  The trial and execution of Brand exposed the fishing industry to public scrutiny as never before, and drew attention to the employment of thousands of teenage boys aboard the sailing trawlers that plied the bleak North Sea fishing grounds.  Drawing on his doctoral research, Martin Wilcox will explore the origins and development of the apprenticeship system in fishing, look at apprentices’ lives at sea and ashore, and set out how, without the contribution of these often unwilling and sometimes appallingly mistreated youngsters, the fishing industry could not have developed as far or as fast it did.


  • Martin Wilcox gained a BA in History from the University of Durham, and MA and PhD in Maritime History from the University of Hull.  He joined Greenwich Maritime Institute as postdoctoral fellow in 2006, and co-authored Sustaining the Fleet 1793-1815: War, the British Navy and the Contractor State' (Boydell & Brewer, 2010) with Roger Knight.  He returned to the University of Hull in 2014, where he is Lecturer in History.   His research takes in many aspects of modern British maritime history, with particular interests in the fishing industry, maritime labour and the Royal Navy.


11.30 am The Cutty Sark Pub just five minutes east of the Naval College,

4-6 Ballast Quay
SE10 9PD



£12 for the lecture or £10 for London Historians and past attendees plus the cost of the light lunch / bar snacks afterwards

Numbers are strictly limited so please book early.