Justin Reay is a naval historian and a private tutor in the History of Art and Architecture and in History. A senior manager at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, for whom he also advises on marine art and maritime history collections and external enquiries, he is a frequent tutor in naval history for the University of Oxford’s International Programmes.
He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Historical Society, a member of Council and online Forum Editor of the Society for Nautical Research, Executive Committee member of the Samuel Pepys Club, and a member of the Navy Records Society.
He is also Honorary Secretary of the Alan Villiers Memorial Lecture series and an organiser of the Naval Leadership in the Atlantic World conference series, for which he is joint editor of transactions. He was the Admiralty liaison officer for the New Trafalgar Despatch organising a significant ceremony at the Old Admiralty Office during the Trafalgar Bicentenary events in 2005, and in 2007 was the lead organiser of the tercentenary commemorations at Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament of the death of Sir Cloudesley Shovell.
Justin’s detailed analysis of the strategic importance of a port in Catalonia to the Royal Navy during the Peninsular War was published in the Mariner’s Mirror in November 2009, and his study of Royal Navy actions on the coast of Catalonia 1808-1809 was published in English and Catalan in a collection of commemorative essays in 2008. Many other articles from Justin’s original research in naval history have been published in The Trafalgar Chronicle, the Nelson Dispatch, the BNRA Journal and elsewhere.
His edition of the Bodleian Library’s extensive collections of Samuel Pepys’ manuscript Navy Board and Admiralty papers, from research undertaken with the support of grants from the Society for Nautical Research, is due to be published by the Bodleian and the SNR in 2014. His history of the people and buildings of the Admiralty in London, The Great Ship Ashore, will be published late in 2013.
He is an advisor on naval history and marine art to English Heritage, the BBC, the Bodleian Library, and museums and history foundations in Spain, France, the USA and Australia.
Although scholarly in the focus and depth of his original research, Justin is a dynamic and popular speaker. He recently gave a paper to The Nation and the Navy conference, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and other naval conferences to which he has presented include:
War of 1812 conference, University of London 2012; Naval Leadership in the Age of Sail inaugural conference, Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth 2011; Naval Dockyards Society annual conference, Greenwich 2011; Naval and Maritime Librarians and Archivists Group inaugural conference, Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth 2010; Flinders’ Return, SNR Centenary Event conference, Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth 2010; Cultures of War and Conflict Resolution Research Network conference: The Sea, King’s College London 2009; Collingwood Years conference, HMS Collingwood, Gosport 2008; Siege of Rosas 1808 commemoration events and conference, Rosas, Catalonia 2008.
Amongst the many individual lectures he has given are:
The Institute of Naval Medicine Trafalgar lecture 2011; Naval History Seminar, King’s College, London 2011; Friends of the Bodleian lecture, Oxford 2010; Isaacson Memorial Lecture, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich 2008; Trafalgar Bicentenary Lecture, Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, London 2005.
Following officer training in the Royal Navy Justin had a long career in business. After retiring early from business in 2001 he studied the History of Renaissance, Baroque and Modern Art and Architecture at the University of Oxford, and was awarded the University’s Diploma with Distinction in 2005. He is completing a doctoral thesis on medieval naval weapon systems.
Follow Justin on Twitter : @JustinReay1