On-Line Maritime History Courses

Friday 8th May 2020

Here are some maritime history courses to enjoy. I am the tutor on two distance courses. The Lost World of the Sailing Ships: a look at the era of wooden sail in 19th century Britain, and Steaming Ahead : How steam ships developed during the 19th century and connected the world.

You can find them at    Learnforpleasure.com

The courses do not require any examinations or essays so you can relax and enjoy finding out about the maritime past. They cover the ships, the trades, the masters and men, shipbuilders and engineers and a host of related occupations that were part of the shipping industry. We look at ports, both small and large, and the surprising number of maritime businesswomen. Shipowners, small investors, sailmakers, merchants, insurers and marine store dealers all appear.     

SS Great Britain

Saturday 6th July 2019

SS Great Britain: Brunel's Ship, Her Voyages, Passengers and Crew by Helen DoeMy latest book is about Brunel's masterpiece, the ss Great Britain

This is the first newly researched book on her since the 1970s and uncovers many new stories of passengers and crew during her remarkable long life. 

We are fortunate that this wonderful vessel is still here in Bristol today.

Indian Journey

Friday 15th February 2019

I am travelling to India this weekend to celebrate the 75th anniversary of 10 Squadron of the Indian Air Force. My father, Bob Doe, was their first commanding officer. I am delighted and honoured to be invited to Jodhpur .

When writing his biography, Fighter Pilot,  I learnt so much about the WW2 campaign in India and Burma.    

Brunel's Ships and Boats now out

Wednesday 17th October 2018

My latest book is now out. It takes a look at Brunel's lifelong interest in ships and boats. He drew sketches constantly and in his notebooks there are drawings of  everything from a rowing boat to monster steamships.

So his three big ships, Great Western, Great Britain and Great Eastern are there, but also a humble steam dredger and a few others you may not have encountered. Thanks to the Brunel Institute at the SS Great Britain in Bristol, this book is very well illustrated with over 100 pictures. Several of my favourites are in there including the amazing photo of the Great Britain returning across the Atlantic on the salvage raft in 1970 with an RAF escort.   

On my travels

Saturday 24th February 2018

Heading off this week to Brisbane to join the Cunard ship, Queen Elizabeth, as an onboard lecturer. I shall be joining the passengers on our way to Osaka. I have some wonderful stories to tell connected to that part of the world. Among them will be Brunel's Great Britain which took emigrants to Australia, early passengers in P&O steam ships across the Indian Ocean and the air war in the Far East in WW2. Plus the amazing journey of Mary Bryant, a Fowey girl who was transported to Australia but made an incredible escape to East Timor.  I am almost following her route but in considerably more comfort.