Born in Gloucester in 1988, Tom Nancollas is a writer and building conservationist based in London. He has worked on church repair grants for English Heritage and various historic building projects in the City of London. Of Cornish ancestry, Tom maintained a love of seascapes during his work in the capital and became fascinated with offshore rock lighthouses, which were the subject of his critically acclaimed first book, Seashaken Houses. For his second book, The Ship Asunder, Tom brings a conservationist's eye to the relics of Britain's historic ships, voyaging on foot across the country to seek out eleven fragments which, together, tell the monumental story of Britain's seafaring past.
Elegantly combining a tour of Britain's ports, coasts and islands
with a tour of an imaginary ship that contains fragments acquired
across the centuries, Tom Nancollas has written an enchanting and
thoughtful account of Britain's rich maritime heritage.
*David Abulafia, author of The Great Sea and The Boundless Sea*
Tom Nancollas takes us aboard eleven historic vessels, covering three and a half millennia of British Maritime history, from the Middle Bronze Age to the early 20th century. Each ship has its own story to tell, which Tom brings to life with astonishing clarity. This book is written with passion and sympathy. It will live with me for a very long time.
*Francis Pryor, author of The Fens*
A fascinating voyage of discovery
Vivid... Poignant... Nancollas tells fine tales, rich with that sherrycask fragrance of a world so immediate, yet so very long ago
The Ship Asunder is a first-class book. It is superbly readable and entirely serious, questioning not just how Britain thinks of its maritime past, and indeed itself, but how history is written, understood and enacted. It is a work of experiential historiography, if you like - and a delight
*Times Literary Supplement*
Fizzing with enthusiasm, Nancollas travels the country, exploring the stories of prows, masts, figureheads and propellers and visiting the sites of dockyards and ropehouses ... Sailors and landlubbers alike should love it
*The Sunday Times Books of the Year*
A gem of a book
There are few physical remains of Britain's maritime past. Nancollas pieces together what he can find of the fragments of this lost world, often in unlikely places ... Remarkable and poignant ... A gem of a book