Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.
The Navy: Britain, a small Atlantic archipelago, advanced to maritime ascendancy across the 18th century, eventually defeating all-comers. The first day will consider this progress, the development of the Navy that Nelson entered in 1771, and that of its opponents’ fleets, as well as examining the central role the Navy played in the social and industrial evolution of the period.
Early Life: not only a flair for leadership but also consummate seafaring skill characterised Nelson’s early career. Yet patronage and good fortune also played their part, and his assertive years in the West Indies stalled his career. His rise to independent command in the Mediterranean will be studied as well as injury at Tenerife and brilliant success at the Battle of St Vincent.
Advancement, Victories and Discredit: Nelson achieved flag rank in 1797 and was publicly honoured as his fame grew. His triumph at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 is considered, plus the emerging controversy over his private life as he became involved with the Hamiltons and the Naples court. This is contrasted with his brilliance at Copenhagen in 1801.
Outing to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: as well as visiting other historic ships including Henry VIII’s wonderfully preserved Mary Rose and the 1860 HMS Warrior, which bridged the eras of sail and steam, this day will focus on the Trafalgar tableau at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and an extensive tour of HMS Victory, Nelson’s Trafalgar flagship and the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel.
Triumph, Death, and a Lasting Legacy: Trafalgar’s planning, progress and outcome will be considered as will the genius of Horatio Nelson and his ability to command such loyalty and devotion among his ‘band of brothers’ and the sailors of the fleet. Finally the course will review the ways in which Trafalgar influenced the naval philosophy of many nations and became the holy grail of big fleets well beyond the age of sail.
Destination: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Excursion Rating: Moderate
Up to two hours' walk on even ground or up to an hour's walk on rough and/or steep ground or up lots of stairs and steps.