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A sign of great hospitality

9 November 2012 by Kay

plaque with tourism symbols on a Union Jack flag

This year’s Biennial theme – Hospitality and the Unexpected Guest – made me think of this great object in the Museum of Liverpool’s collection. It is a plaque awarded to the City of Liverpool by Dutch reality TV programme ‘Nu we er toch zijn’.

A film crew from the show travelled around the country to determine how hospitable certain cities were. They would knock on stranger’s doors and ask if they could stay the night! Liverpool, of course, was one of the few cities to receive the gold award. The programme showed some great Liverpool characters and proved what a friendly and hospitable city we are.

The Wheel of Fortune

6 November 2012 by Kay

painting of men at a circular urinal

As it’s Homotopia time again I thought I would highlight this painting from the Museum of Liverpool’s collection.

It was painted by Liverpool born artist, and well-known local character, Yankel Feather (1920-2009).

The painting, which is not currently on display, shows the interior of a men’s public convenience in Williamson Square, which was known locally as ‘The Wheel of Fortune’. It reflects the time, prior to 1967, when homosexuality was illegal. Read more…

Liverpool Sailors’ Home

19 August 2011 by Kay

section of metal railing with a mermaid figure

After 60 years absence, the beautiful gates from Liverpool Sailors’ Home have been returned to the city where they now act as a gateway to Liverpool ONE and the World Heritage Site.

The large gates feature the same mermaid design as this railing which you can see on display in The People’s Republic gallery, Museum of Liverpool. 

These railings from the interior balconies were made specially for the Home, which opened in Canning Place in 1850. The Home was a safe place for seafarers to stay while in port. Other items from the Sailors’ Home on display in the Museum of Liverpool include an original enamel sign and a Seaman’s Register 1966–68. Read more…

1911 Liverpool General Transport Strike

12 August 2011 by Kay

Engraved silver bowl

Silver porringer. Accession number MMM.2003.280

This silver porringer was presented to Percy R Agnew for services rendered as a special constable at the Liverpool branch of the Bank of England, Castle Street during the 1911 Liverpool General Transport Strike.

Despite the massive police presence in the city, they were under such pressure that many men acted as special constables, 40 of whom were from the Bank’s Liverpool branch. Due to the mass rallies of Liverpool people who came out in support of the strike, reinforcements had to be sent from other parts of the country. Read more…

Flying the flag against homophobia

3 November 2009 by Kay

two women holding up a large flag with broad stripes in rainbow colours

Head of objects conservation,Vivien Chapman, (left) inspecting the flag in the textile conservation studio

This special Rainbow Flag was recently donated to the Museum of Liverpool’s permanent collections and will be displayed pride of place in the People’s City gallery in the new Museum of Liverpool when it opens in 2011.

This flag represents a very important first in Liverpool. It was flown above Liverpool Town Hall for the first time for the International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May 2009. It is just one of the many objects with amazing stories which curators seek out to ensure contemporary issues and events in the city are represented for the future. International Day Against Homophobia marks the day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation took homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses. It is hard to believe that until relatively recently this was still the case but with recent homophobic attacks in Liverpool it is all too apparent that there is a long way to go in challenging prejudice and intolerance. Read more…

Evacuation labels, blow torches and French comics

19 November 2007 by Kay

Jeannie opening an envelope

Jeannie documenting the colection

Volunteers do extremely valuable work across National Museums Liverpool. Jeannie has been volunteering for the Museum of Liverpool since September, and is getting hands-on collections experience documenting a diverse range of items kindly bequeathed by the late John Hamilton.

Jeannie became a volunteer to gain experience and an understanding of the museum environment after completing her University degree.

She says ‘The wide ranging items keep the work interesting as you never know what you may uncover next; from evacuation labels and blow torches to French comics! Every week there is something different that develops my knowledge and understanding, not only of John Hamilton’s personal history but also that of Liverpool’. Read more…

Painting on the Move

10 August 2007 by Kay

Museum staff clean the glass of the newly installed painting

Roy Irlam, Frames Conservator and Steve Casey clean the glass of the newly installed painting

As part of the Museum of Liverpool on the Road project the painting, ‘Unemployment on Merseyside – Campaigning for the Right to Work’ by Mike Jones has recently gone on loan to the People’s Centre, Mount Pleasant.

The impressive painting, previously on display at the Museum of Liverpool Life depicts the effects of unemployment and the ways in which Liverpool people have actively campaigned for the right to work. The painting will be on display until 2009. Read more…

Magical History Tour Comes to Life

18 July 2007 by Kay

Olivia adds some finishing touches to her Medieval Liverpool market scene

Preparation work for Magical History Tour Exhibition, which opens 28 July at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, is well underway.

Illustrator and artist Olivia Du Monceau can be seen here hard at work on a recreated Medieval market scene. The weekly market was held in Castle Street, Liverpool.

She has even managed to feature a few familiar faces in the scenes – see if you can spot them when the exhibition opens!

Blackie the Rocking Horse

19 June 2007 by Kay

young boy riding rocking horse in Blacklers department store

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Hawkins

In December 2005 you may remember that Blackie, the much loved rocking horse from Blackler’s Department Store and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, went on display at the Museum of Liverpool Life for the first time after being kindly donated by the hospital.

This image of Blackie been ridden in the children’s clothing department shows how much pleasure he brought to generations of Liverpool children.

The following is just one of the happy memories in the comments book from the display. “Blackie was a childhood friend to us kids – to us he was real!” L.F., Old Swan. Read more…

1960s Liverpool

5 June 2007 by Kay

policeman directing traffic on Lime Street


Whilst searching the Museum of Liverpool social history collections for images of Liverpool in the 1960s for the forthcoming exhibition – The Beat Goes On, which explores Liverpool’s popular music from 1945 to the present day (opening at World Museum Liverpool summer 2008), I came across these images taken by Harold Morton, who as a keen amateur photographer took many photographs of the city.

The image of the policeman directing traffic on Lime Street near St Georges Hall shows just how much the city has changed, and what could be more 1960s than the mini? – this image of one being loaded onto the Aer Lingus aeroplane at Speke Airport is great! Read more…

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