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UK Disability History Month – Caroline’s story

2 December 2013 by Kay

Caroline (on the right) with her friend, Heather.

Caroline (on the right) with her friend, Heather.

We are highlighting people’s stories and objects featured in the Museum of Liverpool to celebrate UK Disability History Month. Caroline’s story is our second instalment.

Caroline France (or Carol, as she liked to be known), was born in 1905 in Edge Hill; the eldest of 13 children. From the age of 13 she attended the School for the Blind Children’s Branch in Wavertree.

Aged 16, she went to the Hardman Street School, where she taught machine knitting, basket making and chair caning until 1957.

Carol dressed stylishly, enjoyed holidays and outings with her many friends, sang with church choirs and choral societies, and most of all loved her dogs. Read more…

UK Disability History Month – Highlighting people’s stories in the Museum of Liverpool

25 November 2013 by Kay

UK Disability History Month

UK Disability History Month is celebrated every year 22nd November-22nd December.

The theme for this year is ‘Celebrating our Struggle for Independent Living: No Return to Institutions or Isolation’.

Objects and people’s stories on display in the Museum of Liverpool will be featured on this blog throughout the month to celebrate.

The first is Mary’s story, which is featured in the Growing Up and Growing Older section of The People’s Republic gallery.

Mary discusses her life as a blind person and the limited expectations other people have of disabled people. (This is a shortened version of what is on display).

“I was born at the Women’s Hospital in August 1950, three months premature. I grew up in Aigburth. It was considered advisable that disabled children should go to school, mostly residential schools early as it was felt that parents couldn’t properly meet their needs, and they would be better socialised. I started school aged three at St Vincent’s. Most of the children lived in. Very few went home each weekend, like me, as it was frowned upon. I was taught Braille. The education was pretty abysmal. Most paritally-sighted children leaving school went into factory or shop work. It was expected they would have children. Those of us without sight weren’t expected to have children or relationships. Read more…

Transgender Day of Remembrance

21 November 2013 by Kay

The wreath in the April Ashley: portrait of a lady exhibition

The wreath in the April Ashley: portrait of a lady exhibition

Yesterday, Wednesday 20th November, was Transgender Day of Remembrance. We laid a wreath in the ‘April Ashley: portrait of a lady‘ exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool to commemorate all those who have been murdered or taken their own lives because of transphobia.

Representatives from Armistead, Merseyside Police, Transforum, Homotopia and Trans-Chester joined visitors and staff in a minutes silence.
April herself suffered transphobia throughout her life, from family members, the media and also strangers in the street.
You can find out more about hate crime from members of the trans community and Merseyside Police in the exhibition.

Black History Month, James Clarke 1886-1946

21 October 2013 by Kay

October is Black History Month – which is a great opportunity to highlight local heroes like James Clarke.

James Clarke

James Clarke

James was born in British Guiana (now Guyana). When he was 14, he stowed away on a ship bound for Liverpool and was adopted by an Irish family living in the Scotland Road area.

James worked on the docks and joined Wavertree Swimming Club. He started teaching children to swim after rescuing many of them from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

James saved many locals from drowning in the Mersey and the docks, and taught countless others to swim. He was the first Black man to have a street named after him. Read more…

First wedding

15 July 2013 by Kay

 Phil & Ann's Wedding July 1960

Have you ever wondered who the first couple to be married in the crypt, the only part of Sir Edwin Lutyen’s design for Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral that was ever built, were?

It was Phil and Ann Fanning in 1960, a fact of which they were both very proud.

One of their bridesmaids, Liz (Phil’s sister, aged 11), remembers that the dresses were made of white nylon, patterned with blue flowers. In the 1970′s Ann and Phil moved to Hong Kong with their two sons where they spent 12 years. Read more…

Happy Birthday Billy

17 April 2013 by Kay

acoustic guitar

Today, 17 April, is Billy Fury’s birthday. Many of his fans, some from across the world, will be in the city to celebrate and remember him. This year is especially poignant as it is the 30th anniversary of his death.

During the 1950s Billy was one of the biggest hit makers in the country. Billy Fury was born Ron Wycherley in 1940. He left school at 15 and, inspired by country music, began writing songs. Billy was the first musician from Liverpool to release a whole album of original material; The Sound of Fury. He is Liverpool’s first rock and roll star and is considered Britain’s greatest.

Visitors can see items on display in the Wondrous Place gallery including his first guitar (pictured). Read more…

Aintree racing

4 April 2013 by Kay

cover of an Aintree programme with racing cars on the front

Accession number MOL.2008.36.6-12602

Lots of people will be coming to Liverpool for the Grand National this weekend but did you know that Aintree racecourse also had a motor racing track?

Motor racing became increasingly popular by the early 1950s. Mirabel Topham, owner of Aintree racecourse, took advantage of this appeal and built a motor racing track. Aintree hosted five Grand Prix races, including the 1957 race won by top British driver, Stirling Moss.

This programme from 1960 is on display in the Wondrous Place gallery along with many items relating to the world’s oldest steeplechase. Read more…

Our amazing Liverpool women

7 March 2013 by Kay

sash will applique lettering 'For a woman's right to jobs'

Banner made for the 1981 People’s March for Jobs, on display in The People’s Republic gallery

It is International Women’s Day tomorrow and we are celebrating all week with various talks and events at the Museum of Liverpool.

Today’s talk, ‘Our Amazing Liverpool Women’ at 3pm will include many inspirational women featured across the museum. Just one example is Catherine Harvey, who aged 24 was one of 25 women to join the 1981 People’s March for Jobs to protest against injustice and to demand the right to work. You can see the sash, which Catherine made and wore on the march on display in The People’s Republic gallery. Read more…

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month

21 February 2013 by Kay

April Ashley at the Museum of Liverpool

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month takes place every year this month. It celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community. A Liverpool Trans pioneer and inspiration, Miss April Ashley MBE, will be the focus of a groundbreaking exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool opening in September.

In partnership with Homotopia, the exhibition will tell the story of April’s life and will explore the significant role she has played in making social and political history in Britain. In detailing April’s life, the project will tell the wider story of social, political and legislative change affecting Trans, LGB and many other people in Britain over the past 70 years, and of the impact April’s story has had on family law and legal definitions of gender and identity. Read more…

Love boat

13 February 2013 by Kay

wooden rowing boat

Love blossomed for Marjorie and John Wilson in a rowing boat just like this one on Sefton Park’s boating lake during the 1940s.

John was a young medical student at Liverpool University and would revise whilst Marjorie rowed.

They got married when Marjorie was 21. John went on to have a successful medical career, becoming a consultant at Wirral Hospital.

This rowing boat is on display in The People’s Republic gallery at the Museum of Liverpool. It was used on Sefton Park Lake until the late 1970s. Who knows what other romances it may have witnessed? Read more…