Historical Consultancy

Ian has a lifelong passion for history. For him, studying history is all about:

  • understanding past worlds
  • bringing the past to life (but not living in it!)
  • communicating his fascination with history to others

His knowledge and interests include maritime history, archaeology, Britain from the Romans to the 17thcentury, English local history, architecture, aviation and 20th century military history.

Ian is currently an Expert Advisor to Historic England on shipwrecks and maritime history. He was a member of the Advisory Committe on Historic Wreck Sites from 2009 to 2014, and from 2014 to 2016 belonged to the English Heritage (later Historic England) Historic Wrecks Panel.

Other highlights of Ian’s career to date include:

  • Medieval Historian at the National Maritime Museum (NMM), Greenwich
  • a key member of the team that staged the NMM’s 1988 blockbuster Armada exhibition (500+
    16th-century items on display, 600,000 visitors, £1 million to stage), working as an historian, editor, cartographer, contributor co-ordinator and exhibition copywriter
  • author of three major books on maritime history – see Publications
  • development of over 40 museum exhibitions – see Select List of Exhibition Work
  • elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA) in 2000
  • author of plays and other fictional works that use history as a springboard for the imagination –
    see Writer
  • public speaker and lecturer, giving hundreds of talks in this country and abroad – see Talks & Voices From History
  • leader of many guided walks – see Talks & Voices From History
  • broadcaster on radio and TV – see Media Work

If you think that Ian might be able to help with your project, please contact him.


Museum and Heritage Interpretation Consultant

Ian is a museum consultant and historian with 30 years experience and an international reputation in maritime history. His museum consultancy projects include work on Sea City Museum and Tudor House Museum in Southampton, the new Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. He has developed interpretation plans for successful HLF Stage 2 funding applications worth over £13.5 million.

Ian is avaliable for work on both in the UK and abroad. Contact Ian to discuss your project further.  Ian now also works as an associate conceptual consultant with the Oxfordshire-based museum design company Solid Art.

Museum Consultancy Projects

Windermere Steamboat Museum, Windermere (now called Windermere Jetty)

The Museum has a large collection of historic boats, including some craft of national and international significance.  Working again with Real Studios, Ian helped the Museum to develop the interpretation Plan for the redevelopment of the Museum and for its successful HLF Stage 2 funding bid for £9.4 million (announced 30 July 2013).   The rebuilt and redisplayed museum, Windermere Jetty, is due to re-open in 2017.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

In 2010-2011 Ian worked with London-based designers Real Studios on the re-display of Neptune Court at the National Maritime Museum.

Tudor House Museum, Southampton

In advance of the re-opening (July 2011) of this important historic building and Museum, Ian carried out detailed research on a significant collection of c 1570-1620 graffiti found in one of Tudor House Museum’s upper rooms.   The graffiti includes many images of ships, people and animals, and some rather mysterious symbols.   As well as researching and writing a detailed report and a catalogue of the graffiti, Ian was also heavily involved in developing the interpretation and script for the state-of-the-art AV show that now enables visitors to explore the graffiti.

New Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth

In 2011, Ian undertook a project for the Mary Rose Trust, developing the interpretation and content of the Ship’s Rig displays that will be part of the Trust’s exciting new Museum, due to open within the next year.

Sea City Museum, Southampton

From July 2009 to January 2010, Ian worked as a consultant to Urban Salon, designers of the new Sea City Museum in Southampton.   As Interpretation Specialist for the project, he advised on many aspects of the interpretation plan for the new Museum.  Also, working from Southampton City Council (SCC) documentation, he drafted key parts of the Interpretation Strategy for SCC’s Stage 2 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Sea City Museum.   In March 2010, SCC was successful in obtaining an HLF grant of £4.6 million for Stage 1 of the Sea City Museum Project.

Ian’s special interests lie in research, interpretation and display development. However, his experience covers most areas of museum work. Between September 2007 and March 2008 he undertook a significant collection management project for Arundel Museum, pending the construction of a new Museum building in 2012.

Museum Experience

Ian’s museum experience ranges over 30 years. His achievements include:

  • National Maritime Museum (1977-1988): key member of the Armada exhibition team
  • Mary Rose Trust (1988-1992): innovative education work, taking the MRT’s schools’ programme in a new and successful direction
  • Littlehampton Museum (1992-2002): played a key role in securing a £500,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the redevelopment of Littlehampton Museum; planned and led the successful redevelopment; working with local councillors, artists and other colleagues, Ian developed and managed a lively community arts programme which staged or facilitated many events
  • Chichester District Museum (2002-2007): ran the Museum for five years, managing successful public programmes and planning and implementing a major Collection storage move
  • Chichester District Museum (2002-2007)major role in the project to develop and design a new Museum, including membership of the RIBA competition panel that selected the successful architectural practise for the project
  • Exhibition Work (1991-2007): led the research, development and staging of more than 40 temporary exhibitions and other displays – see Select List of Exhibition Work


If you think that Ian might be able to help with your project, please contact him.