Well, I’ve submitted my Masters thesis and am waiting on my markers’ verdict. I was pleased with how the thesis came together in the end, as was my supervisor, so my fingers are crossed for a good outcome. The final title was ‘Celebrating the Battle of the Saintes: Imperial News in England and Ireland, 1782.’ I took the newspaper reporting of Britain’s victory over the French in April 1782 in les Saintes (in the Caribbean) as a case study to examine the impact of imperial news in London, and a second site of empire: Ireland. The case study also allowed me to look at the network which passed information from an outpost of empire to England and Ireland. I thoroughly enjoyed the primary research for this project. Most of my sources were digitised newspapers, although I did need to go to the National Library in Canberra to read the Dublin Evening Post on microfiche, which felt like a blast from the past, technologically speaking. During our family holiday in England I even managed to get to the British Library Manuscripts room—with my precious reader’s ticket in hand—to read a journal from one of the British ships at the Saintes, as well as the journal of John Mair, who watched the battle and its aftermath from his plantation on Dominica. I also visited the National Archives at Kew, and read some of the personal correspondence of Admiral Rodney, who commanded the British fleet at the Saintes—including a letter from Edmund Burke. A highlight for me was the moment I realised that the pencil markings I thought had been made by a selfish scholar on the original letters, were actually Rodney’s own markings! The experience of reading original documents in manuscript is one of the reasons I am determined to continue with historical research – whether as a PhD student or an independent researcher.
I’m very pleased to hear this Jen! You certainly got around with your research! I hope the coming months bring you much success and great opportunities for your future.
Thank you Gillian! If all goes to plan, I hope to get around even more over the next few years with further research. Good luck to you too for the end of semester rush.
My 3x g grandfather was on board the Valiant I never thought my family history would one day result in a holiday (cruise) to St Lucia to Gros Islet Rodney Bay such a beautiful place. What an interesting thesis
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Hi Jane, thank you for your comment. I’m envious you’ve been able to visit – I just checked Rodney Bay on google maps – very nice! Yes, our ancestors leave traces in the most surprising places.