Skip to main content


Photo of Dr Elin Jones

Dr Elin Jones

Lecturer in Maritime History

I am a social historian of labour and knowledge in Britain c. 1750 - 1850, focusing on maritime space and the specific forms of identity and epistemology which working lives on vessels, coasts and waterways during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries produced. My doctoral research examined British naval shipboard society between the 1750s and 1810s. Using the records of courts martial, I reconstructed the quotidian experiences and expectations of shipboard residents and came to conclusions about understandings of work, labour, knowledge, fraternity and domesticitiy, with far reaching implications for the history of masculinity on shore as well as on ship. I am currently preparing a monograph based on my doctoral work. 

One of the strands of my doctoral research focused on how maritime knowledge was formed and communicated on board British naval ships at the turn of the nineteenth century. Since joining Exeter, I have expanded on this initial focus to investigate the shifting meanings ascribed to seamanship in Britain during this period more widely. The results of this research were recently published in the British Journal for the History of Science.

Between 2021 and 2023, I worked with History & Policy and Lloyd's Register, developing a series of reports which reflect on past, present and future techological change at sea. The first of these was published as 'Local Knowledge, Global Change: A Study of Lloyd's Register Surveyors, 1834 - 1860' in March 2023, and was launched at a public event which brought together shipping industry experts and historians.

My new project continues to uncover the multivalent meanings of maritime knowledge, but seeks to understand what men and women engaged in diverse forms of maritime and riverine work knew about ecological change along Britain's waterways during the long ninteenth century. This project defines local ecological knowledge as produced through sensory experience and repeated observation as well as the active monitoring of local advocacy groups, and investigates how knowledge was shaped by a range of social categories.

I am a member of the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies and the Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities at Exeter, and contribute to the development of seminar programmes and research activities which cross disciplinary boundaries.

As of 2021 I am the Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes and PGR Pastoral Tutor.



Research interests

My research interests lie within the fields of social, environmental and maritime history, as well as the histories of labour, technology and technological change. I am interested in how studying maritime history can elucidate connections as well as divisions, and in how modern identities were formed through imagined and physical relationships with the sea. 



 Edit profile