Dr Ann Coats
Ann is an historian of the British maritime, world, encompassing its social, cultural and global reach. Her focus on naval administration and Portsmouth Dockyard 1650–1800 extends into the personal, professional, local and international networks functioning throughout British naval and dockyard administration from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.
She peer-reviews regularly for academic journals and publishers, including Historical Research, The Historical Journal, The International Review of Social History, Engineering History and Heritage, The Mariner’s Mirror; Liverpool University Press, Boydell & Brewer.
Ann is chair of the Naval Dockyards Society which explores the civil branches of navies and their material culture and stimulates the exchange of information and research into naval dockyards and associated organisations https://navaldockyards.org/. Its first research project, the Navy Board Project at The National Archives, begun in 1999, was completed in 2019. The Oral History Project: UK Naval Dockyards Work Experience Recollections 1946–1984, was begun in 2017. In 2015 she co-authored 20th Century Naval Dockyards: Devonport and Portsmouth Characterisation Report for Historic England: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/twentieth-century-naval-dockyards-devonport-portsmouth-characterisation-report/.
In September 2021 it was announced that ‘”Unpath'd Waters”: Marine and Maritime Collections in the UK’, had wone one of five AHRC Discovery Project Awards, totalling £14.5 million, to transform online exploration of UK’s culture and heritage collections National.Collection@AHRC.ukri.org.
Ann is Co-I of the University of Portsmouth’s workpackage ‘People and the Sea’, testing: How can we enhance the significance of submerged and displayed wrecks? Using local submerged Protected Wrecks and unprotected wrecks in the English Channel (The Needles, Mary Rose and Holland 5) and displayed wrecks (Mary Rose and Holland 1), the Museum of London/CITIZAN, the Maritime Archaeology Trust, the Mary Rose Trust, the Nautical Archaeology Society and Wessex Archaeology will widen stakeholder engagement practices so that audiences will co-create the meaning of underwater wrecks for new audiences and widen community access.
Research activities will test how collections connect with each other and with people - wreck site surveys, recovered artefacts, documentary records and scientific samples - and co-create new audience narratives and new ways of engaging with wrecks.
For the University of Portsmouth, this is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of the significance of Portsmouth’s maritime history and culture and widen engagement and access to more potential users.
Ann’s research interests focus on dockyard history, heritage and re-use. Examples of publications: ‘From “Floating tombs” to foundations. The contribution of convicts to naval dockyards and ordnance sites’, Age of Sail, 2 (London: Conway, 2003), 28-42, ‘Bermuda Naval Base: Management, Artisans and their Enslaved Workers, 1795–1797 - the Heritage of the 1950 Bermudian Apprentices’, Mariner’s Mirror, 95(2) (May 2009), 149-178, and ‘Dockyard City Heritage: a threatened global cultural legacy’, Institution of Civil Engineers, 164, Municipal Engineer, 3 (September 2011), 175-184.
Lecturing in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in heritage, Ann currently teaches the heritage of the built environment, its regeneration, management and conservation, and the tangible/intangible heritage of dockyards and their communities, particularly that of Portsea, Portsmouth dockyard’s workforce neighbourhood. She is an experienced PhD supervisor who has also examined external PhDs.
Ann is interested in supervising masters’ and PhD projects on how Portsmouth’s built environment reflects national defence imperatives, why and how naval dockyards have adapted, adaptive re-use of historic buildings, and how civil engineers have shaped Portsmouth. She is also interested in community engagement projects and Portsmouth’s continuing evolution as a maritime city.