The Early Scottish Maritime Exchange



ESME evolved from an informal circle of like-minded historical researchers - many well-respected authors - who are, by choice or circumstance, on the periphery of academia. From the outset it was conceived as an information ‘exchange’ - not a ‘society’ with meetings, publications and annual fees.


ESME was formed to provide a forum and platform for researchers from all walks of life, many with in-depth local knowledge of a locality or specialism, who are linked by a love of the – People, Vessels, Places & Events – that constitute Scottish seafaring.  Its three guiding principles are -Trust, Acknowledgement & Reciprocation.  It follows that our membership is solely by introduction leading to invitation.  Thereafter, communication lines and the current research activities of existing members become available.  The exchange of information is wholly at the discretion of the individual members in communication but are bound to observe the guiding TAR principles.  No member can assume ‘ownership’ of a topic or study area.       


ESME aims to:

  • To promote the exchange of information between members.
  • To bring ‘to market’ the work of ESME members; by assisting in publication, advising on intellectual property issues, approaching funding agencies and generally ‘knocking on doors’.
  • To act as central depository for visuals (JPEG) relating to - People, Vessels, Places & Events
  • To collate the wealth of information relating to Scottish maritime activity prior to 1850 that abounds at home and abroad (diagram) under the umbrella Early Scottish Maritime History Project.  (The first product of which is a Guide and detailed Catalogue of the thousands of cases heard before the High Court of Admiralty of Scotland 1640-1750)
  • To identify and package all data and visuals by chronological ‘benchmark studies’ and  ‘special topics’ suitable for cascading down to universities, colleges and schools. 

Local history data is packaged by the thirty-two customs precincts that made up the coastline of Scotland prior to 1865 and supported by a local ESME member.


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