SWASHBUCKLING tales of life on the high seas are being brought to Worcester through the unlikely medium of the city’s Battle of Worcester Society. 

Throughout the summer the society holds regular talks by guest speakers on the English Civil War, but during the winter months it broadens its horizons worldwide and the next event on January 15 will cover the global role of the Royal Navy, which ruled the waves in the days of piracy and the slave trade.

The talk will be given by Guy Little, a BOWS executive committee member and honorary secretary of the trustees. 

Mr Little is an amateur historian with a keen interest in the Royal Navy and he completed a master’s degree in Naval History through the University of Portsmouth in 2019 with particular emphasis on the 19th century.

Richard Shaw, BOWS chairman, said: “The years after the ascendancy of Free Trade – from 1846 to 1871 - represented the high point of a laissez-faire, non-interventionist approach to Britain’s empire of commerce. 

Guy will examine what function the navy was obliged to perform in relation to home security, commercial protection and imperial defence. 

“Despite enormous change to how trade was overseen and managed in both peace and wartime, the navy was never absent or far away as an instrument of soft or hard power in securing and protecting Britain’s interests.

This was only possible if trade continued, flourished and was supported by an imperial web of bases protected by the navy.

“As the pre-eminent military power on earth with enormous industrial might, England was confident Free Trade would secure and cement her dominance, dissociate her from colonial responsibilities and reduce international conflict. The Royal Navy’s role was placed within a broad maritime strategy, covering  elements of commerce, diplomacy, politics and imperial foreign policy.

“Naval action against coastal defences and harbours or divided and economically backward peoples was decisive. While against emerging international rivals and old adversaries England recognised the limitations of naval coercion and was obliged to seek compromise. I am sure Guy will give a fascinating and colourful account of the Royal Navy all those years ago.”

The talk is being given in The Studio at The Hive in Worcester on Wednesday, January 15 at 7.15 p.m.  Tickets are available from the Tourist Information Centre, High Street, Worcester, from 01905 358640, from the BOWS website (click events)  or on the door on the night.