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Follow the Liverpool Remembers poppy trail

9 November 2015 by Karen O'Rourke

Liverpool Remembers poppy trail logo

I was pleased to be asked to work with Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool on a trail, to accompany their Poppies: Weeping Window installation at St George’s Hall. Like many people, I was really excited when I heard that the artwork would be in the city during the Remembrance commemorations. I also thought it was very apt that it should be situated at St George’s Hall, where thousands of men had enlisted for the First World War, and where we now gather every year, to commemorate those who have lost their lives in conflict.

I hope that visitors to the Weeping Window will also explore the Liverpool Remembers trail panels that lead down to the Pier Head. Culture Liverpool initially approached National Museums Liverpool to see if we had some interesting images to illustrate the trail, as part of the UK wide 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. I suggested some possible stories and ended up providing stories for all 21 of the panels. Given enough time, I could have written the same number again because Merseyside has such a rich history. It feels like I have been submerged in a world full of poppies!

man looking at a large sign with a poppy logo and trail information

Look out for the Liverpool Remembers trail panels across the city.

The Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum have commemorated the First World War through exhibitions, including From waterfront to Western Front, Poppies: Women and War and Lusitania. On some of the trail panels we touch on the stories we tell in those exhibitions – you can visit our museums nearby to find out more. The trail also takes you past many buildings of interest, including World Museum and the Walker Art Gallery.

Through the connection to the Weeping Window installation, the trail is focused on Remembrance and commemoration. However, we provided a variety of subjects. It was quite difficult to get a balance so that it is not all about loss, but it is also definitely not ‘celebrating’ war. The stories are a real mix of the experiences of men, women and children. All the stories are from the First World War and have a local connection. The nature of the subject means that each panel on the trail will have an emotional connection for some visitors. I may be a bit biased when I say all of the stories, without exception, have something in them that I think is interesting and I hope the visitors to the trail will feel the same. We have tried to bring the city and its people to life. I hope we have succeeded.

Exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool

The trail leads you from St George’s Hall to the Museum of Liverpool, where you can see the ‘Poppies: Women and War’ exhibition.

I am proud to have been involved in this project and, I am very grateful to Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool for asking me include so many stories that I thought were important. If you get the chance, come down and have a look, you don’t have to follow the trail in any particular order, and you don’t have to do it all in one go, the panels will be there until 17 January 2016. You can’t miss them, you can tell by our picture that they are huge!

  1. Michael Edwards says:

    If something similar is being done for 2016 rememberance I have details and a photograph of my Great Grandfather Walter John Edwards Petty officer Royal Navy from Toxteth Park killed in action at the battle of Jutland 31 May 1916 ((centenary) . Sadly his wife Jane Edwards also in the same photograph died some 7 months later leaving their children orphaned . I also have a copy of his full navel record and have his medals. Please get in touch if it of any interest to you.

    • Karen says:

      Dear Michael,
      Thank you for your comment. What a sad story of Walter and his family!

      I think that my colleagues at the Merseyside Maritime Museum are giving some thought to how the Battle is commemorated, but at the moment have no firm plans. Within our organisation we don’t generally hold the service details of individuals as these are held by archives such as The National Archive at Kew and it would be an immense task for us to try to hold copies of the records of all Merseyside service personnel who took part in the War . The exception at the Museum of Liverpool is that we collect the details of King’s Regiment Soldiers on behalf of the compiler of our database.

      Can I suggest that you contact Liverpool John Moores University – they have a wonderful project called ‘Merseyside at War 1914-1918’ which is collecting the sort of information you have and creating an on-line archive so that people can view all of the stories – the address for their website is as follows: http://www.merseyside-at-war.org/ – if our Maritime History team then decide that they want to focus on local men at Jutland, they would be able to contact you through LJMU.

      Thank you for sharing your story with us – Karen

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