John Blake's first book "The Sea Chart", with a foreword by HRH the Duke of York, was published in 2004 and was short listed for the British Book Awards in three categories and for the Mountbatten History prize; it has been reprinted in the UK, and translated, published and reprinted in Germany by Theiss. In 2009 it was reprinted as a softback in the UK by Conway Maritime and in the US by the Naval Institute Press, taken into the RNLI catalogue and reprinted again in 2010. In 2013 it was selected by Nauticalia for their mail order catalogue and translated into Chinese, to be published in China in 2014.
His second book, "Sea Charts of the British Isles", with a foreword by Admiral the Lord Boyce (Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle), was published in November 2005, reprinted in March 2008, and was selected by the RNLI for their autumn 2007, Spring 2008 and Autumn 2008 mail order catalogues.
His third book "Charts of War", published in the UK by Conway Maritime and in the US by Knickerbocker Press in 2007, looks at the role of navigational charts in maritime battle and sea warfare throughout the ages. It was selected in 2009 by Nauticalia for their mail order catalogue.
John contributed the official entry on Cartography for the "Oxford Encyclopaedia of Maritime History", published in January 2008, and is one of the contributors for "Ship", edited by Andrew Lambert and published Conway Maritime in 2010.
In 2006 John, in recognition of his authorship and contribution in the field of navigation, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.
His fourth book is entitled "The Titanic Passenger's Guide" and was published in October 2011 for the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking by Conway Maritime in the UK; the Naval Institute Press in the US; Flammarion in France and Heron Book Distributors in Australia. However this book is different. It is what you might have been given were you a passenger on her maiden voyage and, with totally contemporary material including colour images from some seventeen archives, fully describes all aspects of her design, construction, launch, operation and passenger facilities.
He is now working on a handbook on the history and development of sea surveying and navigation.
John Blake served in the Royal Navy and in the Reserve for nearly 16 years as an executive and navigating officer, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During his naval time he served extensively in sea-going ships and qualified as a navy underwater diver and a naval air defence specialist. On leaving the service he gained a business diploma and moved into retailing, opening three retail stores in Covent Garden, London; Boston, Massachusetts and later in Osaka, Japan, featuring exclusively British gift products.
In 1991 John Blake and his wife started an Intellectual Property Licensing Agency, Classics Licensing Company, and in 1996 initiated and ran the licensing of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office archives, producers of the Admiralty sea charts, as their Licensing Agent for six years under the brand name "The Admiralty Collection®".
He is a keen maritime historian and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation. He lectures on maritime history and writes regularly for yachting and maritime magazines.