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Title: The 'shrine of manly virtues' : gender, empire, anti-socialism, and the restoration of H.M.S. Victory, 1922-1930
Author: Westbury, Sarah Frances
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 9123
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2019
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In 1922, the Society for Nautical Research launched an appeal for funds to restore H.M.S. Victory. Their ‘Save the Victory’ publicity appeal was concerned with celebrating the ship as a ‘shrine of manly virtues’: a monument to Nelson, the Royal Navy, and to the latter’s role in expanding, and defending the British Empire. It was a monument, as well, to the white ‘Anglo-Saxon’ race. This thesis explores the fundamental roles which political, racial, and gender ideologies played in the ship’s 1920s preservation. The men co-ordinating the Victory’s restoration were generally political conservatives, anxious about the future of Britain’s navy following the Great War. In this thesis, I show that their fears were also greatly exacerbated by the steady rise of popular socialism, internationalism and the Labour party. I argue, as well, that the logic by which these men believed the Victory could further their anti-socialist cause was centred on ideologies of race, and of masculinity: that Admiral Nelson was an exemplar of white ‘Anglo-Saxon’ virtues, and that encouraging Britons to cultivate these virtues within themselves would lead them to reject ‘alien’ left wing principles. It explores how these racialised gender ideologies spread into the wider interactions these men had with supporters, as well as in the decisions they made around curating the ship, the visitor experience, and the ship’s preservation itself. And in so doing it shines light on the impact which imperialist masculinities had on both heritage preservation and popular anti-socialism within interwar Britain. This thesis also suggests that we need to build a more nuanced picture of heritage preservation in interwar Britain. Existing scholarship has almost always focussed on Britain’s anti-restoration campaigners, and has also paid limited attention to maritime heritage. But when we begin to study historic ships like the Victory in this wider context, we begin to see a very different picture.
Supervisor: Petley, Christer ; Adams, Jonathan ; Hudson, Dominic ; Downes, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available