Ian Friel is a historian, writer and consultant with an international reputation in the field of maritime history
With a lifetime’s enthusiasm for history and archaeology, Ian is committed to helping people appreciate how important it is to understand the past as a way of understanding the world. He has many years of research and writing experience, and a specialist knowledge of maritime history that ranges from the Middle Ages to modern times.
Ian also has experience at all levels of the museum profession, from national to local museums, and from researcher to curator and manager. He has worked successfully as a museum consultant since 2007, playing an important role as an interpretation specialist and researcher for projects in London, Southampton, Portsmouth, West Sussex, the Lake District and Poole. He has been involved in successful HLF project bids for over £13.5 million of museum development funding.
Ian works in a range of areas
as a museum and heritage interpretation consultant
as an historical consultant in medieval, Tudor and maritime history
as a speaker or guided tour lecturer for a wide range of historical topics
as a house historian, researching and writing house, property and building histories
as a general historical consultant for print, radio, TV and film projects
At the end of August 2020, Pen & Sword published the first of two new books written by Ian, Britain and the Ocean Road – Shipwrecks and People 1297-1825. Based on firsthand research, the books use the stories of various shipwrecks as waypoints in an exploration of Britain’s complex maritime history, and how it impacted the world. The second book, Breaking Seas, Broken Ships – People, Shipwrecks and Britain 1854-2007, is due out in 2021.
In early 2020 Ian undertook a research project for the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, looking into the long and fascinating history of the oyster fishery in Chichester Harbour. His report, entitled ‘Real Natives’, can be downloaded at: https://secure.toolkitfiles.co.uk/clients/34087/sitedata/files/Research/Oyster-History-Ian-Friel.pdf
Hoakes Island – A Fiendish Puzzle Adventure: in 2018 Ian created the story for this children’s puzzle and adventure book, devised and illustrated by his daughter, the illustrator Helen Friel (https://www.helenfriel.com), for Laurence King Publishing. Find out more at: https://www.laurenceking.com/product/hoakes-island. Helen and Ian are currently at work on another children’s book project for LKP, due for publication in 2021.
Ian’s research identified the 17th-century Swash Channel Wreck as the Fame of Hoorn in the Netherlands, lost off Poole in February 1631. See: https://ianfrielhistorian.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/lost-property-identifying-the-seventeenth-century-swash-channel-wreck/ and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-39353551
Agent representation: Ian’s writing is now represented by Donald Winchester of Watson, Little Ltd (http://www.watsonlittle.com/agent/donald-winchester/).