Lusitania: Queen of the Seas!

16 February 2015 by Lucy Johnson

Front cover of music showing and illustration of LusitainaLusitania: life, loss, legacy opens at the Merseyside Maritime Museum on 27 March. This new exhibition will tell the story of the Liverpool passenger liner RMS Lusitania and her tragic sinking during the First World War.

The sheet music for a piano waltz titled ‘Lusitania: Queens of the Seas’ is in the Museum’s archive collection. The front cover of the sheet music is signed and dated by the composer George Manners Herd on 1 January 1908, just four months after the passenger liner’s maiden voyage.

Ian Buckle sat at a piano playing the music

Ian Buckle performing the piano waltz

Last week we brought the music to life. The piece was performed by pianist Ian Buckle, who plays with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and it was recorded at Whitewood Studios. We had not been able to find an existing recording of the piece, so it felt particularly special to hear it being played for the first time.

The recording will feature in the first section of the exhibition, which explores the ship’s early years and her dominance of travel across the Atlantic. There was a great feeling of pride and affection for the ship in Liverpool as so many of the crew were from the city. The music helps to capture how the Lusitania was a symbol of success and optimism during this period.

  1. John Ackroyd says:

    Please give closing date of Lusitania exhibition as I should like to visit as my maternal grandfather Andrew Cockburn was senior second engineer and survived.

    • Sam says:

      Hi John. We don’t have a closing date yet but it will definitely be open for at least 12 months, so you have plenty of time to organise a visit. Our curator may get in touch with you as they are interested to meet relatives of Lusitania survivors.

      • Alan Gibson says:

        Dear Sam.
        I am interested in visiting the Lusitania Exhibition, not sure when, but have noted your comment to John Ackroyd about contacting relatives of survivors. Are you wanting to contact relatives of victims, as I had a great uncle who was lost and have some photos of him standing next to my grandfather.
        Alan Gibson

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