Mike Rendell

Historian and Author - Social and Maritime History

Biographical details

I am a historian and author specialising in 18th Century social and maritime history. It is a period I love – not for its politics and certainly not for its wars and revolutions, but for what it meant in terms of everyday life for ‘the man in the street’. I see my job as communicating that enthusiasm to a wider audience, whether in person or in print.

I have published eight books including 'The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman' inspired by an extraordinary cache of papers inherited from my distant ancestor.

I have more recently published 'In bed with the Georgians - Sex, Scandal and Satire' (looking at royal shenanigans as well as 18th Century attitudes towards mistresses, courtesans, madams and good-time girls) and also 'Trailblazing Women of the Georgian Era' looking at early pioneers in the movement towards female equality. My next two books will be on Piracy, and on Castaways, and both will be published by Pen & Sword Books.

I speak regularly on Georgian history, both in Spain and in England, to History Societies, Summer Schools, Genealogical Groups and Colleges. I have given public lectures at the Guildhall and at the Museum of London, as well as on various cruise ships around Europe, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

Relevant experience:

In the past three years I have lectured on four cruises for Fred Olsen.

Talks:

  1. Royal shenanigans of the Georgian era. (A look at the randy prince Regent and the naughty goings-on of the Royal Family in Georgian England)

  2. Courtesans – the fashionistas of the 18th Century. (A look at some of the stars who strutted their stuff in London 250 years ago).

  3. Everyday life in Georgian England (A personal look at the life of a businessman at One London Bridge 250 years ago, based on his diaries and private papers. Everything from his schooling, his training, his washing habits – and his arguments with his children).

  4. Eat, Drink and be Merry. (From simple peasant fare to massive Regency banquets – a look at what our ancestors ate and drank in the 18th Century, tracing dining habits down to the present day).

  5. Pride and Prejudice – from printed page to the silver screen. (A look at this remarkable novel and the numerous adaptations made for the cinema and TV, and looking at some of the locations used by film-makers).

  6. Will the real Captain Bligh stand up? (An alternative view of a much maligned sea captain, who despite the loss of the Bounty, endured a remarkable journey in an open boat, and saved the lives of 17 men).

  7. William Dampier – a forgotten hero. (A pirate, botanist, explorer and scientist, who set off from Yeovil, became a pirate in the Caribbean, and later sailed round the world three times).

  8. Piracy in the Caribbean. (A look at buried treasure and the likes of Sam Bellamy, Blackbeard and Bart Roberts).

  9. Henry Morgan – the man behind the rum. (A man who was a pirate, a one-time governor of Jamaica – and a pain in the neck to the Spanish authorities).

  10. Olivier Levasseur – the richest pirate EVER. (A look at the man and the story of his buried treasure and how he ended up on the gallows on Reunion Island.

  11.  Woodes Rogers – from privateer to pirate-hunter. (The extraordinary story of a man who became Governor of the Bahamas, dedicating his life to eradicating piracy in the Caribbean – and ended up bankrupt).

  12. Murder and Mayhem on the Batavia. (The horrifying story of Australia’s first European settlers, a tale of greed, mutiny and murder).

  13. The men who raced to map Australia. The remarkable story of Flinders and Baudin - the contest between two men to map the Australian continent – and who both ended up on Mauritius.

  14. Alexander Selkirk – a real-life Robinson Crusoe, marooned on the Juan Fernandez Islands.

  15. Castaway! Charles Barnard.  (The incredible story of hardship, courage and betrayal involving an American sea captain marooned off the Falklands in 1812).

  16. Robinson Crusoe – the first novel in the English language. (To mark the 300th anniversary of this remarkable book (April 2019) - the real-life stories which inspired Defoe).

[I have at least half a dozen other talks available, covering maritime adventurers and aspects of life in the 18th Century]

Mike Rendell - 18th Century Entertainment in London