‘No more parades? Navy Weeks, naval theatre, and navalism, 1927–38’

Rowan Thompson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite calls for ‘no more parades’ following the First World War, and while the period was supposedly inhospitable to militaristic and martial ceremony, ‘naval theatre’, navalism and cultural displays of militarism all enjoyed significant resonance in the popular civic ritual of interwar Britain. One of the most prominent forms of naval theatre in this period was the annual celebration of Navy Weeks. First staged at Portsmouth, then extended to Plymouth and Chatham the following year, Navy Weeks were held between 1927 and 1938 and allowed members of the public to be brought into direct touch with the work, life and routine of the Royal Navy. Instituted to aid naval charities, the event also provided a public platform for the admiralty to promote the navy for the preservation of nation and empire, as well as encouraging naval education among the British public. Navy Weeks represented a site of modernity, technological innovation and military prestige. However, the event equally promoted naval heritage, tradition and the long-standing significance of the Royal Navy to Britain’s status as a maritime nation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-242
Number of pages21
JournalHistorical Research
Issue number272
Early online date23 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Cite this