28th October 11am: Captain Kidd: hanged at Wapping - Done!

  • The pirate, the politician and the profiteer – The real significance of the Captain Kidd episode.


    Captain William Kidd was England’s most infamous pirate and more books have been written about him than any other sea rover.  The story of his expedition into the Indian Ocean has inspired novels and films, from Stevenson’s The Treasure Island to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, and even today treasure hunters invest considerable time and money searching for his ‘hidden’ plunder.


    Kidd’s brief maritime rampage caused a sensation at the time and his execution at Wapping in May, 1701, was attended by thousands of spectators.  But the significance and potential impact of Kidd’s activities were much more far-reaching than is generally appreciated, involving hugely powerful and wealthy London merchants, the mighty East India Company, high-level members of the government, and even the king himself.


    Yet despite the great attention given to the Kidd episode, despite the wealth of documentary evidence, historians still find little agreement over his guilt or innocence.  Was he a pirate or an honest man duped by more powerful forces? Many questions remain unanswered. In this talk, Dr Tom Wareham, who curated the Captain Kidd exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in 2011, will trace the events of the Kidd episode and offer answers to some of these questions.


  • Dr Tom Wareham was Curator of Maritime & Community History at the Museum of London Docklands until 2014.  He is now a part-time lecturer at the University of Westminster, and also lectures on a freelance basis.  He has appeared on numerous television documentaries and is the author of a number of books, including 'The Star Captains' (2001); 'Frigate Commander' (2004); 'Reading the London, Sugar & Slavery Gallery at the Museum of London Docklands'  - Co-written with Dr Caroline Bressey (2008); 'Frigate Commander - The Supplement' (2014). He is currently working on a book on the Captain Kidd episode, and has published his first novel  'The Wapping Conspiracy' under the pen-name Richard Thomas.



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

4-6 Ballast Quay
SE10 9PD



£10 for the lecture plus the cost of the light lunch / finger buffet afterwards

Numbers are strictly limited so please book early