Cathryn Pearce

Cathryn Pearce BA, MA, PhD

Cathryn Pearce

Cathryn Pearce
BA, MA, PhD

Visiting Lecturer

Department of History, Politics and Social Sciences

Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities

Dr Cathryn Pearce grew up on the Alaskan coast, which gave her an appreciation for the sea and for maritime history. She received her PhD from the Greenwich Maritime Institute (GMI), where she investigated the actual practices of Cornish wrecking, as opposed to the folkloric narratives. Her previous history qualifications include a BA in History from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and an MA in British and Maritime History from the University of Victoria in Canada. She taught at the University of Alaska Anchorage-Kenai Peninsula College for fifteen years before relocating to England.

Dr Pearce's research interests include local and regional maritime and coastal history, focusing on shipwrecks and coastal communities.  This work comprises:

  • Wrecking - the plundering of shipwrecks - with focus on the development and use of wrecking narratives, and an extension of her geographical focus beyond Cornwall so she may further develop her studies from a comparative perspective.
  • Lifesaving - particularly those individuals and organisations involved after survivors are brought ashore.  Her current research focuses on the role of the Shipwrecked Fisherman and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society, founded in 1839.

Dr Pearce has also held a lifelong interest in European exploration of the Northwest Coast of North America; she teaches a course on the history of Global Exploration.

Selected publications

Books

Cornish Wrecking, 1700-1860: Reality and Popular Myth, London: Boydell and Brewer, 2010.  Received the Holyer An Gof 2011 Highy Commended Award for Non-Fiction.

Journal articles

'The Unlucky Wrecker: William Pearse of St Gennys, Cornwall', Troze: The Online Journal of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Vol. 5, No. 2 (September 2014).

Query: 'East India Company's "Lacks"', The Mariner's Mirror, Vol.99, No.3 (August 2013), p.350

'Neglectful or Worse: A Lurid Tale of a Lighthouse Keeper and Wrecking,' Troze: The Online Journal of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Vol.1, No.1 (Sept 2008). 

Book Chapters

'…melancholy disasters amongst the hardy sons of the sea':  Launching the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society in Scotland, 1839-48', in David Worthington (ed.), The New Coastal History: Cultural and Environmental Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2017.

            'Extreme Weather and the Growth of Charity: Insights from the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society, 1839-60' in Georgina Endfield and Lucy Veale (eds.), Curating Weather: Recording and Recalling Weather Events in Historical Perspective, London: Routledge forthcoming, 2017.

            'The Cornish Arundells and their Right of Wreck' , The New Maritime History of Cornwall, in Philip Payton, Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter, and Helen Doe, Centre for Maritime Historical Studies (eds.), University of Exeter, 2014.

            Mentoring Undergraduate Research Students in History," in Kenrick Mock and Eric S. Murphy, eds. Mentoring Undergraduates in Research and Scholarship. Anchorage: University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008.

Keynote/invited papers

            Jibber the Kibber, Pirate Wreckers and False Lights: Cornish Wrecking in Folklore, Keynote Address, University of Helsinki, 22 Nov 2013.

            '"...the grim hell-hounds prowling round the shore...": Cornwall and the communal practice of wrecking in the long eighteenth century'.  By invitation, Shipwreck in the Long Eighteenth-Century Conference, University of Nottingham-Trent and the National Maritime Museum, London, England, 20 May 2006.

'"Greedy Cormorants waiting for their prey:" Cornish Wreckers and Wrecking, ca. 1700-1860'. (revised). By invitation from the University of Greenwich History Seminar Series, November 2004.

International/Overseas

            '"Here she went down!": The Place of Shipwrecks within Heritage, Tourism, and Coastal Communities. Society and the Sea International Conference, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Maritime Centre, 15 September 2016.

            Charity, Philanthropy, and Scottish Coastal Communities: The Role of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society, 1839-1914. Firths and Fjords: A Coastal History Conference, University of the Highlands and Islands Centre for History, 31 March-2 April 2016.

            Extreme Weather and the Growth of Charity: The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society, 1839-1914. Annual Royal Geographic Society-IBG International Conference, University of Exeter, 2-4 September 2015.

            Jibber the Kibber, Pirate Wreckers and False Lights: Cornish Wrecking in Folklore, Keynote Address, University of Helsinki, 22 Nov 2013.

            "Lured by False Lights: Cornish Wrecking and Victorian Myth," for the 5th International Maritime Economic Historical Association (IMEHA) International Congress of Maritime History, University of Greenwich, UK, 23-27 June 2008."Willing and Unwilling: Women Travellers on the Pacific Northwest Coast, 1787-1870

"Willing and Unwilling': Women Travellers on the Pacific Northwest Coast, 1787-1870.' Society for the History of Discoveries/Hakluyt Society Annual Meeting and Conference, St. John's Newfoundland, August 1997.


National

            '…to assist the Unfortunate:' The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society and the Royal Navy, 1839-1914. National Maritime Museum Staff Research Seminars, 22 June 2016.

            Lured by False Lights: Cornish Wrecking and Victorian Myth," (revised), for the 'Myths, Legends and Folklore' Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Cardiff, 17-18 May 2011.

            "'...to prevent the cargo becoming prey to the populace:' Reaction of the Governing Authorities to Wrecking in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries'. By invitation for the Crossmead International Conference, University of Exeter, UK, October 2004.

            "'Neglectful or Worse:' A Lurid Tale of a Lighthouse Keeper and Wrecking'. By invitation for the First Cornwall Maritime History Conference, National Maritime Museum, Falmouth, Cornwall, September 2004.

Editorial Board Membership

            Editorial Board, The Mariner's Mirror journal (INT1), 2014 to Present

            Editor, Troze, the peer reviewed online journal for the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Dec 2012 to present

Membership of research networks/research associations

            Chair, British Commission for Maritime History, 2017 to the Present; Trustee, 2015 to the Present

            Fellow, Royal Historical Society, 2014 to the Present

            Member, Society of Authors, 2013 to the Present

            Secretary, Publications Committee, Society for Nautical Research, 2009 to Present

            Member of Council, Society for Nautical Research, 2009 to the Present

            Member, Navy Records Society, 2016 to the Present

Consultancies

            Historical Consultant for BBC2's 'The Pubs that Built Britain' series on wrecking and smuggling, January 2014

            Historical Consultant for BBC1's 'Coast' series 10, 15 April 2014.

            Historical Consultant for BBC1 Southwest's 'Inside Out' on the wreck of the Good Samaritan, 10 April 2014

            Historical Consultant for Channel 4's 'Walking Through History: Smuggling' with Tony Robinson, September 2013.

 

Impact activities: Public Presentations

            'Those sons of Plunder:' Daniel Defoe and the Wreckers of Kent, for the Maritime Themes public lectures, held at Cutty Sark Tavern, Greenwich, 25 November 2015.

            'Jibber the Kibber, Pirate Wreckers and False Lights: Wrecking in British Folklore, by invitation, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, in conjunction with their 'The Power of the Sea' exhibit, 4 June 2014.

             'Those sons of Plunder': Daniel Defoe and the Wreckers of Kent', for Dartford University of the 3rd Age, 4 February 2014.

             'Jibber the Kibber, Pirate Wreckers and False Lights: Cornish Wrecking in Folklore', by invitation, Fowey Harbour Heritage Association, 1 November 2013.

             'The World of Jack Lookout and Tom Plunder: Wrecking in East Sussex', for Greyfriar's Residential Home, Lewes, Sussex, 30 October 2013.

             '"The Savage Inhabitants are ready to Plunder": The Albemarle and other Polperro Shipwrecks', special invitation by the Polperro Family History Society for their AGM, 28 April, 2012. Polperro, Cornwall

Media Outputs

Historical Consultant and Interviewee for BBC2's "Timeshift: Shipwrecks" 3 part series, 18 July 2013.  Aired November 2013.

Historical Consultant and Interviewee for BBC Radio 4's "Making History" programme, September 2008. Aired December 2008.

Historical Consultant and Interviewee for BBC's flagship documentary "Timewatch" series for episode "In Search of the Wreckers." Aired January 2008.

In progress: Funding bid for Lifesaving, Shipwreck, and British Coastal Communities, 1700-1914. 

Awarded: 'To afford every assistance': The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society, REIP Internal Research Grant, University of Greenwich, 2014-5.

Awarded: University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor's Fund for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity - FY 07, September 2006.

Awarded: The Admiral Sir John Chambers White Bursary, Greenwich Maritime Institute, University of Greenwich, May 2006.