Annual Conference

Saturday, 19th November 2022

Each year since 1990, the Society has held an annual conference – with the exception of 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. Leading pioneers and researchers give presentations and the Society’s various awards are given.

The Conference is open to all – it is not restricted to members only. Non-members are most welcome.



A night time photograph of the exterior of Subsea7's offices in Sutton, south London
A view of the interior of the building

The 2022 Conference will be held at the headquarters of Subsea7 in Sutton, south London.

40 Brighton Road

Getting there
Trains from Victoria Station to Sutton Station; journey time approximately 35 minutes.
Subsea7 is a 10 minute walk from Sutton station.

Tripadvisor’s 10 best hotels in Sutton 2022




We are also mindful of escalating costs for everyone and so we have endeavoured to make this year’s Conference affordable and enjoyable. Our formal evening dinner will be replaced by an informal get-together in a local hotel after the Conference and our AGM will be held at a later date (27th November) by Zoom.

• The Conference will be held at the offices of Subsea7.
• Accommodation  There are several hotels and B&Bs available in the Sutton area. The organisers and speakers will be staying at The Premier Inn which has very favourable rates IF BOOKED EARLY,  The hotel is about 20 minutes walk away from Subsea7.
• There will be no formal dinner but everyone is invited to gather in the bar/dining area of the Premier Inn to socialise enjoy and evening meal. Their menu can be viewed here.


(Clicking on the image of Subsea7 will take you to the company’s website)

Address: 40 Brighton Road, Sutton SM2 5BN

BY RAIL:  Trains from Victoria Station, London to Sutton Station; journey time approximately 35 minutes.
Turn left on exiting Sutton Station. Subsea7’s offices are a 7 minute walk away on the opposite side of the road.
Parking at Subsea7:
Delegates wishing to park at Subsea7 offices at 40 Brighton Road, Sutton, London, SM2 5BN must send the following details (by Saturday 15th October) to
Driver’s name
Make and model of vehicle
Registration number
Drivers must not exceed 5mph on the ramp and in the underground car park.
Vehicles must be reversed parked.
Access to the car park is via the narrow road immediately to the left of the building.

(Clicking on the image of the Premier Inn will take you to the hotel’s website)

Premier Inn, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, London, SM1 1AT

By Rail: Trains from Victoria Station, London to Sutton Station; journey time approximately 35 minutes.
Turn right on exiting Sutton Station. Cross over the main road and continue north along the pedestrianised High Street. Continue along the High Street until you reach St. Nicholas Road on your left. Turn left into St Nicholas Road and right at the T-junction at the end of the road. The Premier Inn is a 5 minute walk to your right.

By Car:
Parking near the Premier Inn:

There is no parking at the Premier Inn. Parking is available at Just Park, St Nicholas Centre, St Nicholas Way which is a 3-minute walk away. Discounted overnight parking (£7.50) is available for guests staying at the Premier Inn hotel. (Tickets must be validated at reception). Note: the car park is closed between midnight and 6am (or 8.30am on Sundays)

2022 Programme

0830–0900  Registration
0915–0930 Chairman’s welcome and announcements


0930–0935  Introduction of Liz James
0935–1020  The History of Subsea7, Liz James
1020–1030 Questions from the  floor


1030–1100  Refreshment break


1100–1105  Introduction of  Patrick Van Hoeserlande,
1105–1150 The development of buoyancy aids in diving, Patrick Van Hoeserlande.
1150–1200  Questions from the floor


1200–1205 Introduction of Nigel Phillips
1205–1220  Some highlights of the Society’s collection, Nigel Phillips
1220–1230  Questions from the floor


1230–1330  Lunch


1330–1305  Introduction of Bjørn Kahrs
1305–1350  The significance of diving in the development of Norwegian society that we recognise today
1350-1400  Questions from the floor


1400–1430  Refreshment break


1430–1435  Introduction of Gavin Anthony
1435–1520  A history of the Royal Naval Physiological Laboratory, Gavin Anthony
1520–1540  Questions from the floor


1540–1550 Chairman’s closing remarks

1550–1630  Presentation of awards

Our Speakers

Head and shoulders photograph of Bjorn Kahrs wearing a diving helmet with the faceplate opened

The History of Subsea7
Liz James, Group Environmental Director, Subsea7

Liz James started her career as the first female professional offshore diver in the North Sea. Since then she has worked in a variety of corporate, management and leadership roles and has over 30 years’ experience working in the oil and gas industry including Project Manager/Director roles.
Prior to joining Subsea7 she worked as a Lead Project Engineer for Saipem in London,  and earlier for Duke Energy in Australia, Phillips Petroleum, Conoco, British Gas and Maersk. She has trained in Management of complex programmes, Executive leadership training, Kidnap incident management training and Women in business coaching.


Head and shoulders photograph of Patrick Van Hoeserlande

The Development of Buoyancy Aids in diving
Patrick Van Hoeserlande
Air Force Major Van Hoeserlande Patrick, Ir GS

Patrick Van Hoeserlande is a diving instructor, a writer-editor of the Flemish diving magazine ‘Hippocampus’ and an occasional contributor to ‘Divers for the Environment’. As an aeronautical engineer, he has a keen interest in how things work and why. He started a professional doctorate at the Cardiff Metropolitan University carrying out research in (military) concept development. He is passionate about the combination of technology and diving and enthusiastic about spreading the word about his field of interest.

Head and shoulders photograph of Bjorn Kahrs wearing a diving helmet with the faceplate opened

Some Highlights of the Historical Diving Society’s Collection
Nigel Phillips

In 1982 Nigel Phillips founded his own company dealing in rare antiquarian books about science and medicine, in all their aspects and in any language, especially early works from the fifteenth century to about 1850. He is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association and of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.
He is also the Collections Manager of the ever-increasing artefacts, documents, images and film that is in the collection of the Historical Diving Society/Diving Museum.

Head and shoulders photograph of Bjorn Kahrs wearing a diving helmet with the faceplate opened

The Significance of Diving in the Development of the Norwegian Society we Recognise Today.
Bjørn W Kahrs

Bjørn Kahrs is a highly experienced diver, author and founder member of the Norwegian HDS. He started sports diving in 1967 and was soon instructing before moving into commercial diving. In 1973 he joined Seaway (Norway) and ran their first closed bell diving course diving on mixed gas down to 100 metres, and later diving offshore with Comex. In 1976 he became an instructor at Comex Aberdeen, then Safety Officer and Training Co-ordinator. Two years later he moved to the Norwegian Underwater Institute where he supervised dry and wet diving down to 500 metres. In 1984 he transferred to the Norwegian state diving school as head of closed bell training. He retired in 2005 and became the first secretary of the HDS Norway; and later, the chairman.

Head and shoulders photograph of Bjorn Kahrs wearing a diving helmet with the faceplate opened

The History of the Royal Naval Physiological Laboratory
Gavin Anthony

For over 35 years Gavin was involved in research, development and assessment of diving systems and procedures for the Royal Navy. This included the development and assessment of re-breathers, creating active thermal protection systems and producing mix gas Decompression Tables. He is involved in the development of standards for diving equipment and helicopter ditching systems. A diver since 1970, he has qualified as an HSE pt III commercial diver and is a recreational instructor. He is a Trustee of DDRC Healthcare, Secretary of the BSAC Jubilee Trust and provides technical support and advice to the BSAC. He is currently a Director of GAVINS ltd and is an independent Consultant for Diving and Life Support.

Conference tickets: £35

Please note: we do not issue actual tickets. By purchasing tickets your name will be added to our guest list. All you need to do is introduce yourself at the reception desk on the day and we will know to expect you. 


Every year the Society presents awards to the individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution to the furtherance of diving history knowledge.



The Society publishes the presentations given by the speakers at the Annual Conferences each year.