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



2022 Programme

Our speakers are listed below. Please note: the order of the programme may change to accommodate the speakers’ personal requirements.

Head and shoulders photograph of Patrick Van Hoeserlande

The Development of Buoyancy Aids in diving (Title to be confirmed)
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

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 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 only: £35
Dinner only: £60

Tickets for the Conference and Evening Dinner should be purchased separately.

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. 

Tickets for the Conference include morning and afternoon refreshments as well as lunch which will be held at the Subsea7 Offices in Sutton.

The dinner will be held at the Holiday Inn, in Sutton.
Dress code: Smart casual.
Please do not forget to provide your menu choice when purchasing tickets. (Click ‘Buy dinner tickets’ to view the menu).


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.