Virtual Presentation

with Cliff Periera

The VMM archives house about 2700 ship plans. These charts tell us about more than just the layout and design of the vessels. Sometimes they reveal details about life in periods the ships were built. On Wednesday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m., history researcher Clifford Pereira will talk about the stories told in the Empress of Japan ship plans at a virtual presentation.

Pereira has been investigating the Empress line of ships in the First World War for decades. Several years ago he visited the VMM archives to study the plans in our collection. Through his research, he discovered the story of the Empress of Japan from 1900 to 1920 mirrors world events of the period.

The Empress of Japan was part of Canada’s contribution to the First World War.  The Empress of Japan ensured British, Australian, Indian and New Zealander troops arrived at Gallipoli and defended Aden. Most of the crew during this period was Asian though some were French. This presentation will focus on how the allocation of spaces of work and rest reveals a great deal about the treatment of passengers and crew in the early 20th century.

Clifford (Cliff) Pereira is a history researcher, curator and heritage consultant with a portfolio of global projects. He has contributed to numerous publications, TV, radio and documentary programs. He is best known for his work on Africans in the Indian Ocean World, especially the “Bombay African” narrative. His recent MRes thesis focused on Africans in Southeast Asia from 1900 to 1960. Pereira first encountered the connections between in the Empress vessels in 2002 while researching the Chinese Labour Corps for an exhibition in London. He was the featured consultant on steamship stokers in the 2006 series The Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson. Pereira will be speaking from his home in Hong Kong.


When: Wednesday April 20, 2022 | 7:00 p.m. PST
Where: Virtual – via Zoom.
Tickets: $7.50 / free for VMM members.

To get your promo code for free members’ tickets, email

Headshot of Cliff Periera

Once you have bought your tickets,  you will receive an email with the Zoom login details. If you have any difficulty booking, please email