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Remembering the Empress of Ireland

15 May 2014 by Sam

museum display

New material has been added to the Empress of Ireland display to mark the centenary of the sinking.

Lots of people have heard about the sinking of the Titanic and Lusitania. However did you know that more passengers were lost in another major shipping disaster around that time, which had a big impact on Liverpool?

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has more information about the ‘forgotten Empress’:

“Today is 15 May, and 100 years to the day that the Canadian Pacific Liner Empress of Ireland last set sail from Liverpool bound for Canada.

The Empress was en route back to Liverpool from Quebec on 29 May 1914 when she was struck in heavy fog by the Norwegian collier Storstad on the St Lawrence River. The ship sank in just 15 minutes with the loss of 840 passengers and 172 crew. Many of the crew were from the Liverpool area.

You can find out more about the Empress of Ireland tragedy in the Titanic, Lusitania and Forgotten Empress gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum, as well as in this special feature on our website, which includes some of the items from the display as well as a letter from the Maritime Archives collection.

To mark the centenary of this tragedy there will be a special memorial service in Liverpool at 2.30pm on Thursday 29 May, at the Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas. I will be representing the museum at the service and will be taking along a Canadian Pacific flag. For more information about the service or for contact details please see the Parish Church website.

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