5 June 2015 by Andrew
Karen O’Rourke, Curator of Urban and Military History at the Museum of Liverpool talks about the Waterloo Lives display that opened on 6 June.
“Our latest display in the Museum of Liverpool, Waterloo Lives: Liverpool and the French Connection, opens just in time to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the Napoleonic Wars, which happened on 18 June 1815.
The Museum of Liverpool, Victoria Art Gallery and the Williamson Museum and Art Gallery, are each displaying exhibits as part of the National Army Museum’s Waterloo lives project, with each venue examining different aspects of the battle.
The Battle of Waterloo was the decisive point in a long and drawn out conflict between Britain and France. The wars with France had been fought both on land and at sea. For port cities like Liverpool attacks by the French Navy and government-approved privateers, had hugely affected shipping trade. Many enemy ships had been captured and often French prisoners of war held captive locally, would number over a thousand.
Merseyside Maritime Museum has 39 miniature ship models thought to have been made by some of these French prisoners in Liverpool, it’s one of the largest museum collections of prisoner of war models. The tiny models are incredibly detailed and sometimes it is difficult to imagine how such exquisite, delicate objects could have been made in such difficult conditions as Great Howard Street Gaol. It is a privilege to be able to show four of the models as part of the display in the Museum of Liverpool and in such a way that the public can get a very close view of them. The Waterloo Lives display will be on the first floor of the Museum until 24 October 2015.”
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