University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Richard Blakemore

Staff profile placeholder

Department Director of Teaching and Learning

Areas of interest

My research focuses on the social history of seafarers, particularly British sailors during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As British sailors travelled ever further and more frequently during the early modern period, building and maintaining commercial networks and contacts across cultures, they brought home new wealth, objects and ideas. They also contributed to the emergence of new political and legal situations in Britain, Europe, and around the globe.

These centuries witnessed the separate kingdoms of the British Isles and Ireland become united under first a single sovereign and then a single government, at the same time as British traders and colonists established themselves across the Americas, Africa, and Asia. These were messy, uncertain, and very often bloody events; but they had a profound and cumulative impact, forging the first stage of globalisation, and in my work I seek to understand them from the perspective of the workers who made them possible.

Postgraduate supervision

I would be glad to supervise any research students with an interest in the early modern Atlantic world, and more specifically those pursuing studies of cultural encounters, empire, trade, piracy, or social history.


I teach on our part 1 courses 'Journeys Through History 1: People and Power', 'Journeys Through History 2: Culture and Concepts', and 'Research Skills and Opportunities', as well as my own part 1 option module 'Exploring the Atlantic World, 1450-1800'.

At part 2 I contribute to 'Historical Approaches and My Dissertation, teach my own option module on 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Empire, Slavery, and Society, 1550-1750', and supervise group projects;

At part 3 I teach a Special Subject called ‘Sea Changes: Britain and the Maritime World, 1500-1800’ and supervise individual dissertation projects.


I have appeared on historical programmes on BBC Radio 4 and on Channel 5, and I am a trustee of the British Commission for Maritime History and a consultant for various projects at the National Maritime Museum, Plymouth History Centre, the Golden Hinde, the Deutsche Schifffahrts Museum, and Adam Matthew Digital.