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The Gloucester Project

The Gloucester Project is a significant historical research project exploring the life and times of the Gloucester frigate. It is funded by a major research grant from The Leverhulme Trust (2021-24).

The Gloucester was an English warship launched in 1654 and participated in several global conflicts before it was lost on 6 May 1682 when it struck a sandbank off North Norfolk. It was transporting James, Duke of York and Albany, heir presumptive to Edinburgh from London when it was lost.

The Gloucester Project Wins Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Innovation and Impact (2023)

Professor Claire Jowitt and Dr Benjamin Redding were delighted to win this award for ‘Launching the Gloucester: A Norfolk Heritage Project with National and International Reach and Significance’. This prestigious award is given annually to the most outstanding entry to the university’s Innovation and Impact Awards competition, as judged by a distinguished panel chaired by Professor Brian Reid, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the UEA. The award recognizes the achievements and partnership working of UEA academic and professional services colleagues with the Barnwell brothers of Norfolk Historic Shipwrecks and Norfolk Museums Service in bringing the finding of the wreck of the ship to worldwide attention in June 2022 as well as creating the blockbuster exhibition ‘The Last Voyage of the Gloucester, 1682: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck’ in Norwich. Find out more in the video below.






The inaugural exhibition ‘The Last Voyage of the Gloucester: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck, 1682’ was held at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery from 25 February 2023 to 10 September 2023, the result of a partnership between Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, Norfolk Museums Service, and academic partner UEA.

The exhibition was curated by Professor Claire Jowitt and Dr Benjamin Redding (UEA and the Gloucester Project), and Ruth Battersby-Tooke and Dr Francesca Vanke (Norfolk Museums Service). We highlighted two stories separated by over 300 years in the exhibition. One concerned the ship itself: its loss in 1682 off Norfolk while carrying the future King James II and VII, and the tales of its passengers and crew. The other focused on the discovery of the wreck, and the immense joys and challenges that come with such a find.

In the exhibition we also included a mini-drama written by UEA Creative Writing Professor Steve Waters and voiced by past and present students. Professor Claire Jowitt and Dr Benjamin Redding were historical advisors for the production. Below, hear them talking about the stories behind events on the Gloucester and watch the drama.

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