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News archive 2001

Unique Naval History Unit

19 Jul 2001

The UK's only university Naval History Unit has been established at KIng's College London, thanks to a generous private donation.

The Laughton Naval History Unit, which will enhance and upgrade the provision of all aspects of naval history teaching and research, is to be established within the Department of War Studies to complement the existing tradition of military and defence education provided by King's for over 100 years.

The new Unit will teach naval history within the broader context of War Studies to undergraduate, postgraduate and research students. To enable the best research students to come to King’s a number of scholarships will be available. They will benefit from the existing depth and strength of naval history expertise and the established research and academic seminar programmes of the Department.

In addition the Unit will support a broad range of academic activity in naval history, from individual staff research projects, through collaborative ventures and lectures to international conferences. Naval history is an international subject, one that connects with many other discipline areas. It is the aim of this Unit to develop and enhance those connections.

The new Unit has been named in honour of the founding father of naval history, Professor Sir John Knox Laughton (1830-1915), who taught at the College between 1885 and 1914 and before that at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. This initiative builds on a tradition of excellence in the subject going back over a century, and demonstrates King's leadership in the field.

The Director of the Unit and Laughton Professor of Naval History will be Professor Andrew Lambert – the only full-time professor of naval history in the UK. A new lecturer in naval history will be appointed to widen access to this subject and complement the expertise of the Director.

Professor Lambert said, ‘King’s College is the home of naval history so it is particularly appropriate that the Laughton Naval History Unit should be established here. The Unit will build on the well established and successful naval history provision in the Department of War Studies, and will be the focus for international teaching and research in this critical subject.’

Professor David Cannadine, Director of the Institute of Historical Research, the University of London’s centre for the postgraduate study of History, greeted the new Unit with acclaim: ‘This is marvellous news for the study of naval history, and should be of the greatest interest to anyone who cares about the maritime and naval dimensions of Britain’s past. I salute this development and wish it well.'

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