The development of the British Navy

Podcast by Professor Bruce Collins, Sheffield Hallam University

In this podcast, Professor Bruce Collins explores the development of the British navy during the French Wars and the nineteenth century. 

Specification overlap:

  • Edexcel ‘The British Experience of Warfare’
  • OCR ‘The Changing Nature of Warfare’

Professor Collins outlines the place of the navy in Britain’s psyche at the beginning of the French Wars and the importance of coastal transport, as well as the impact of the Navy on the increasingly important sphere of trade. He discusses the challenges faced at home and internationally as well as the reasons for British naval supremacy over the French, including the relative importance of Nelson in Napoleon’s defeat. He then traces the development of the Royal Navy until the end of the nineteenth century. 

Students will find it useful to compare this podcast to the interview with Professor Andrew Lambert, also in this series.  

1. The significance of the Navy to Britain; the French Wars
2. Why was the British Navy so superior?
3. Impressment and tactical innovation
4. How crucial was Nelson’s role?
5. The blockade on France
6. The development of the Navy after the Battle of Trafalgar
7. The Navy after Waterloo

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