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A Christmas gift from 1914

15 December 2014 by Jen

Offer of WIlliam Galvin's framed tin (2) - blog size

Framed Princes Mary gift received in 1914 by Royal Navy Stoker, William Galvin. In the bottom right of the frame you can see a piece of shrapnel that fell on the deck of his ship the HMS Lion.

Once again, (and, as usual, far sooner than those of us who haven’t finished the shopping yet had expected), we are fast approaching Christmas. A season as much associated with ideas of peace and goodwill as with gift giving and good food. Christmas presents have become an inescapable part of the season, one which many people (or at least those who are very well organised) start to think about a couple of months in advance.

In October 1914 one young girl seems to have been doing exactly that and her Christmas list was certainly more ambitious than most! Princess Mary, the 17 year old daughter of King George V, decided she wanted to send a gift to:

“every sailor afloat and every soldier at the Front”

Read more…

Rescue Ships addition to Battle of the Atlantic gallery

4 December 2014 by Jen

Brenda Shackleton on gallery with new Rescue Ships panel

Brenda Shackleton on gallery with new Rescue Ships panel

Many people are familiar with the important role the shipping convoys played during the Second World War and the dangers they faced to keep Britain supplied. Shipping provided all the oil, half of all the food, and most raw materials required by Britain. By 1939 this was 55 million tons of food and raw materials per year. The convoys were famously escorted by the Royal Navy, who worked hard to offer protection to the vital shipping, but there was another group supporting them whose role is less well known. Read more…

Family connection to Empress of Ireland inspires art student

25 November 2014 by Jen

Artwork by Jessica Cain inspired by the Empress of Ireland sinking

Artwork by Jessica Cain inspired by the Empress of Ireland sinking

One the most interesting aspects of working in museums is getting to hear people’s stories and explore the personal side of historic events, including the impact they often still have today.

The sinking of the Empress of Ireland on 29 May 1914 was one of the worst maritime disasters of the twentieth century. Though overshadowed now by the loss of Titanic and Lusitania this sinking resulted in more passenger deaths than either of those more famous tragedies, with a loss of 840 passengers and 172 members of crew. Many of the crew were from the Liverpool area so, like Titanic before it and Lusitania in the following year, the tragedy had strong local connections and was keenly felt in the city. Read more…

Watches of a couple separated by the Titanic

19 November 2014 by Jen

Gold pocket watches belonging to Thomas and Ada Hewitt

These gold watches belonged to Thomas and Ada Hewitt; they were given to each other as gifts on their wedding day in 1902

A pocket watch belonging to a Liverpool man who died in the Titanic tragedy and his wife’s fob watch have been added to the award winning Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story exhibition. Displayed next to each other, the two gold watches of Thomas Hewitt and his wife Ada were exchanged by the couple as gifts on their wedding day in September 1902. Read more…

Raise the Titanic! …to the second floor

14 November 2014 by Jen

Titanic Model Case Being Dismantled

Dismantling the case

One of National Museums Liverpool’s most iconic objects – the Titanic builder’s model, has been on the move.  It has been on display for the last 8 years in the Titanic, Lusitania and the Forgotten Empress gallery. This gallery is now closed and will open again in March 2015 as a new gallery Lusitania: Life, Loss, Legacy.  The Titanic model has been moved up to the second floor to our award winning exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story.

But hang on a minute, just imagine the preparation and planning that goes into moving a very large (6 metres long, 1 metre wide, 1 metre tall), heavy (over half a ton), old (built in 1910), fragile (some parts are made from paper and card), and valuable object like this! For the last few months, colleagues from across divisions (Registration, Curatorial, Estates Management, Ship and Historic Models Conservation, Ship Keeping and Engineering, Exhibitions, Visitor Services) have been working hard on putting in place the logistics to ensure that the model was moved in the best and safest way possible: Read more…

Red Ensign flying for Merchant Navy Day

3 September 2014 by Jen

Red Ensign flag flying above the Pilotage building.

The Red Ensign flying above the Pilotage building.

Anyone visiting us down at the Liverpool waterfront this week might have noticed a distinctive red flag flying above the old Liverpool Pilotage building next door to the Museum of Liverpool. Bright red, with the Union flag in the top left corner, it’s known as a Red Ensign. Yesterday myself and a couple of colleagues had the slightly hair-raising task (it looks a lot higher up once you get up there!) of climbing up to the roof and raising the flag in time to mark Merchant Navy Day on  3 September. Read more…

Sir John Moores family travelling trunk on display at the Maritime

7 August 2014 by Jen

group photo pf people wearing fancy dress costumes

Fancy Dress party on board Franconia l-r: Edna, John, John Jr, Betty & Ruby
(courtesy of Clare and Barney Moores)

Next month sees the exciting announcement of the John Moores Painting Prize winner for 2014. The shortlist has been drawn up and we’re all excited to see who the next winner of this prestigious competition will be.

Here at the Maritime Museum though we’ve been focusing on the man who founded the Painting Prize. Sir John Moores was a local businessman and founder of the Littlewoods Pools; by the mid 1930s he had made his fortune and could easily afford one of the great luxuries of the age, seeing the world on the magnificent passenger liners. Read more…

New display on Brunel’s SS Great Eastern

18 June 2014 by Jen

Photograph of the SS Great Eastern with large Lewis' Department Store advert on the side.

This image is copyright unknown/ expired. Please contact us if you are the copyright holder of this image.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Eastern was, in her day, the largest ship ever built. A truly ambitious project from one of the most famous names in engineering history, the Great Eastern was built to provide a ship that could travel all the way to Australia or the Far East without the need to stop and take on more coal. Despite this she was only used on the transatlantic routes, travelling to Canada and North America as a passenger liner, often departing from Liverpool and playing a part in the emigrant trade.

Read more…

Pilot memorials unveiled at New Brighton

9 June 2014 by Jen

memorial being unveiled at New Brighton waterfront

© John MacLeod Photography

Two new memorials were unveiled in New Brighton on 19 May to commemorate the losses suffered by the Liverpool Pilot Boat Service in the First and Second World Wars.

For hundreds of years the Pilot boats have been invaluable to ships entering the docks at Liverpool and on the Wirral.  They supply a local Pilot who boards the visiting ship and guides it safely through the difficult channel and into the docks.  The Pilots continued this work throughout the two World Wars, providing an essential service to the wartime convoys.

The wars made the Pilots more valuable than ever but also added massively to the difficulty and danger of their job. Read more…

Queen Victoria in Liverpool

30 May 2014 by Jen

Queen Victoria cruise liner moored in Liverpool

The magnificent Cunard liner MS Queen Victoria arrived this morning at the Liverpool landing stage to spend the night in the city, making her the first Cunard liner to do so since the Franconia in 1968. She is a spectacular sight down here at the waterfront and people have been flocking to see her, bowled over by her size and grandeur! Read more…

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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.