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Maritime Plymouth – Shaping the world we know (Plymouth Branch)
Wed. 13 March 2019 at 7:30 pm
A talk by Paul Wright.
Whilst Plymouth is known as a home of the Royal Navy, its maritime commercial activities tend to be overlooked. In this presentation Paul will provide a historical narrative about Plymouth as ‘Britain’s Ocean City’ and focus on the development of maritime activities which have been of critical importance to the growth of Great Britain as a world power and the development of scientific method. It will also include Plymouth’s role as a hub port for emigration, an exporter of minerals, a fishing community, a centre of maritime training, a call port for ocean liners and a terminal for oil distribution throughout the West Country.
Plymouth’s maritime commercial heritage is rich and the recent opening of the Marine Business Technology Centre at Oceansgate (South Yard, Devonport) indicates the continuing importance of the marine and maritime interests of the City.
The talk is appropriately timed as on 3rd September 2019, on Plymouth Hoe, a new Merchant Navy monument will be unveiled comprising a statue, the ‘Watchkeeper’, mounted on a granite plinth. It will be dedicated ‘to those men and women of all nations who serve in or have served in the British Merchant Navy or Fishing Fleet in times of both peace and war’. Panels on the plinth provide a brief narrative of the importance of those ‘that go down to the sea in ships and do business in great waters’.
Biographical note on Paul G Wright, MNM, MSc, Master Mariner, FNI:
Paul is involved with various maritime activities in Plymouth including the ‘Tectona Trust’, MLA College, South West Company of Mariners, Plymouth Merchant Navy Fund, Nautical Institute and the South West Maritime Historical Society.
In 1962 at the age of 13 Paul attended HMS Conway a Merchant Navy Training School at Plas Newydd, Menai Strait, Anglesey. Following three years of pre-sea training he became an apprentice to Alfred Holt and Company (The Blue Funnel Line) of Liverpool. After serving in the fleet and experiencing the changes created by the ‘container revolution’ he came ashore to teach maritime subjects at the Plymouth School of Maritime studies. During his time at the school it developed to become part of the University of Plymouth. He retired as Associate Director of the University of Plymouth Marine Institute in 2014.