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Together is better

19 August 2019 by Laura Pye

Laura Pye at Liverpool's waterfront

Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool. Picture by Gareth Jones

The International Slavery Museum welcomes the discussion around a London museum on slavery. The work we do here every day promotes education about this critical part of our UK and global history – which is by no means consigned to the past. Our very purpose is for more people to know, and confront, this history, so the more discussion about it, the better.

We opened in 2007 in recognition of the need for a major, national museum that addressed the UK’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies. Since opening, we have welcomed more than 4.5 million visitors. We hold the world’s first permanent modern slavery collection and have hosted over 250,000 visits by schoolchildren. The support for us in response to Sadiq Khan’s call for a London slavery museum has been quite overwhelming.

If the London museum proceeds, it should build on the work already done here at the existing International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, and the good work already established by many museums across the UK, including the Museum of London. Because the power of museums working together is immense. Together, we can do more, in areas that really matter during this critical time in our history, when many are deeply –and rightly – worried about the future of human rights.

For our own part at the International Slavery Museum, we have achieved a lot – but there is still so much more we want and need to do, to serve our community and our visitors. We need more funding to support our ambitions and increase our reach. We are seeking to expand the Museum to create a prominent entrance on Liverpool’s historic waterfront. And to reinforce the Museum’s, and the UK’s, position nationally and internationally as a world leader in the fight against modern slavery.

We wish to continue working with the many museums across the UK who are already doing great work to explore this part of our history. Together we can offer a fantastic country-wide resource, exploring shared and different regional histories and aspects of slavery, of which there are many: from chattel slavery to human trafficking and modern slavery and exploring today’s legacies of the transatlantic slave trade: racism and hate crime. And I’m pleased to confirm we are in contact with Sadiq Khan’s office.

So, yes – let’s discuss how London recognises the history of slavery. But don’t forget about the regions and the knowledge here. Not all our National Museums, national collections or nation’s stories are, or should be, solely in the capital.

Find out more about us. Everyone is invited to our events on 22 and 23 August as we mark Slavery Remembrance Day for the 20th year in Liverpool. 

The land of the orang-utan

16 August 2019 by John Wilson

150 years ago Alfred Russel Wallace wrote about “the land of the orang-utan” and sent specimens to Liverpool

2019 is the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Alfred Russel Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago: The land of the orang-utan, and the bird of paradise. A narrative of travel, with studies of man and nature.

Although best known as the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection alongside Charles Darwin, The Malay Archipelago firmly established Wallace as one of the greatest natural history explorers.

Read more…

Thinking of keeping ‘Dory’ in a home aquarium?

6 August 2019 by Matt Smith

Regal Tang

The release of the film ‘Finding Nemo’ saw a rise in the popularity of ‘Dory’, the forgetful but lovable Blue Regal Tang. Here, Robert Woods from Fishkeeping World advises that keeping such a beautiful fish in a home aquarium can be challenging, noting the key considerations to their successful care.

About the Blue Regal Tang
Also known as the Blue Hippo Tang, the Royal Blue Tang, the Regal Tang and the Palette Surgeonfish, the Blue Tang is a very popular fish in the aquarium industry, rising to fame after  the release of the films Finding Nemo and its sequel Finding Dory. It is a brilliant blue colour with black markings stretching from its tail to its eyes and sunshine yellow pectoral and caudal fins. You can expect one of these fish to cost in between 15 to 70 pounds, depending on whether you buy a juvenile or an adult specimen.  They reach up to 12 inches and as open swimmers like to swim around freely. To ensure they start feeding properly and don’t become stressed they need to be acclimatized to tank life very slowly. Blue Tangs are also susceptible to parasites so you’ll need to quarantine them before adding them to your main tank.

Blue Regal Tang Tank Conditions
These fish need a tank which is at least 100 gallons, or ideally 200, meaning that they are only suited to more experienced aquarists. This fish loves open water and hiding spots, so some live rock scattered around the sides and back of the tank is also required.

The required water conditions are:
• pH : 8.1 – 8.4
• Temperature : 75°F – 82°F (25°C – 28°C)
• Specific Gravity : 1.020 – 1.025
• Carbonate Hardness (dKH) : 8 – 12°

Blue Regal Tang Tank Mates
Whilst not overly aggressive, the Blue Regal Tang will be hostile towards other blue tangs so you should either only keep one, or keep a group in a large tank and introduce them all at the same time. They might fight each other to establish territories, so if you’re keeping a group of them together you’ll need a large enough tank for them to establish their own territories. Blue Tangs will get on with most other species of fish; one of the most popular fish to keep this species with is no other than Nemo himself – the clownfish.

Feeding Your Blue Regal Tang
Acclimating the Blue Regal Tang can be tricky as they are more used to grazing than the regular feeds which most aquarists provide for their fish. As grazers they will eat a variety of food once used to tank conditions.  They fare much better in well-established reef tanks with a range of plankton and algae for them to feed on. They eat a lot of algae in the wild, so providing them with algae wafers is a good idea. You can also feed them a mixture of live, frozen and flake foods.

Bear in mind that even though it might be tempting to keep your very own Dory in a home aquarium, you need to give this some serious consideration: these fish are very difficult to care for, and should only be looked after by the experienced or expert aquarist. If you want to show your appreciation to their natural beauty without the commitment of keeping one, take a trip to World Museum to see their group of vibrant and beautiful Tangs.


Crew lists

5 August 2019 by Sarah Starkey

example of crew list from 1903

Part of a crew list of Rhynland, for a voyage from Liverpool to Antwerp. Showing crew born in Norway, Liverpool, Madras, New York, Russia and Bristol (Maritime Archives and Library reference P/SL/41)

A lot of our role at the Maritime Archives and Library is pointing people in the right direction. We spend just as much time talking about sources we don’t hold as those we do.  Sometimes the explanation of where the records are held is so complex and convoluted that people think we are making it up as we go along. A good example of this is crew lists. So, deep breath, Read more…

Liverpool Police Strike 1919 centenary

1 August 2019 by Kay

100 years ago a number of police officers across the country went out on strike. The heart of this national Police Strike was in Liverpool, Birkenhead and Bootle.

We have a number of items in the collections of the Museum of Liverpool which relate to this significant event. The most striking is this wonderful painting of Bob Tissyman who played a major organising role in the city. It was painted by renowned local artist David Jacques.

Police Sergeant Robert (Bob) Tissyman was the Liverpool leader of the ‘unrecognised’ NUPPO (National Union of Police & Prison Officers), and organiser of the union’s eight branches in the city. He was born in 1869, joined Liverpool City Police in October 1894 and lived in Edge Hill.

955 Liverpool union members went on strike for improved pay, conditions and for the right to belong to a union. Smaller strikes also occurred in London and Birmingham. Read more…

That’s the way to do it! Codman family member rekindles Punch and Judy memories

26 July 2019 by Kay

The name Codman’s Punch and Judy immediately conjures up memories for generations of Liverpool people. Many have laughed, cheered and booed at the show.

Codman’s Punch and Judy booth, previously on display in Wondrous Place gallery

Professor Codman first brought Punch and Judy to Liverpool in the 1860s. Codman’s theatre was originally located in Lime Street, then later at Williamson Square.

A member of the Codman dynasty, Paul Codman recently came to view items in the Museum of Liverpool’s collections related to the family business.

We have the original booth with proscenium arch,  Mr Punch, Judy, The Judge and Mr Crocodile puppets (previously on display in the Wondrous Place gallery and in The Museum of Liverpool Life), along with pamphlets and tickets. Seeing the objects brought back some strong memories for Paul.  As a 12 year old schoolboy in the early 1970s he helped his grandad Richard Codman and Uncle Ronnie to do the shows. They performed in schools, fetes and parks across the city in the summer holidays, including Newsham, Sefton and Walton Hall Parks. They also played at The Liverpool Show. He was paid a grand total of five bob a day. Read more…

1970s football fan culture in the picture

16 July 2019 by Kay

“Art College was a far more attractive idea than prison”

These fantastic artworks were recently kindly donated to the Museum of Liverpool. They were painted by Andrew Kenrick in the 1970s and evocatively capture football fan culture at the time. Andrew grew up in Hoylake and is a big Liverpool fan. He mostly painted these particular pieces whilst at Art College in London and when he worked as a teacher. He would travel back up to Liverpool for home games and attended away matches whenever he could.

Andrew tells us more about combining his love of football and painting –

“I always loved art and decided that Art College was a far more attractive idea than prison. I wasn’t evil or “off the rails” but had left a top academic school at 14 to live an alternative life. A couple of years travelling, hitch-hiking and sleeping rough enabled me to see the disadvantages of low paid jobs and the potential benefits of further education. I undertook a Foundation Couse at the (then) London College of Printing and then went to Hornsey College of Art to study Fine Art and History of Art. I painted and sculpted and became interested in the excitement of crowds and fights at football matches. Read more…

Etching the City

12 July 2019 by Megan

Last week we installed Whistler & Pennell: Etching the City at Sudley House. Alex Patterson, Exhibition Curator tells us more about the exhibition and what to look out for.

The exhibition was first displayed at Lady Lever Art Gallery in 2018. It was a great success and was seen by over 65,000 people. This amazing response encouraged us to share the exhibition with our Sudley visitors too. It is also a fantastic opportunity to see these works in a different context. Read more…

Painting by John Moores 2018 artist Pete Clarke added to the Walker’s collection

8 July 2019 by Andrew

Artist Pete Clarke in his studio

Artist Pete Clarke blogs about his painting doubt and distance… of lost content, which was exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery as part of John Moores 2018. It is one of two works from the show purchased by the Walker for its permanent collection. The other is David Lock‘s El Muniria.

Read more…

Family’s Blitz memories shared and displayed

5 July 2019 by Kay

Formal portrait photo of a smartly dressed young girl

Elizabeth as a child. Courtesy of Jean Phillips

As part of our exhibition Blitzed: Liverpool Lives we are gathering responses to the images and first-hand experiences featured in the exhibition.

Jean Phillips kindly contacted us via our Facebook page with information about her family in response to the photograph of Louisa Street, Everton. I have added this poignant information to the exhibition alongside the Museum label. Read more…

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.