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New advent calendar for 2014

27 November 2014 by Sam

advent calendar illustration of a winter scene with Liverpool landmarks

It’s almost time to open the first door in our popular advent calendar. Our Christmas elves (or curators, as they prefer to be called) have been working hard to find some new surprises from our collections and displays to hide behind the doors for you.

As we have been marking the centenary of the First World War with a number of exhibitions and events throughout 2014, we decided to make this the theme for the content of this year’s advent calendar.

I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but there are some really fascinating objects hidden behind the doors, which give a glimpse of how the war affected everyday people. Read more…

New Brighton – mecca for photographers

17 November 2014 by Sam

old photograph of families taking donkey rides on New Brighton beach

Keith Medley Archive Liverpool John Moores University

In many ways New Brighton is no different from many other seaside towns. In its heyday it was a bustling resort with people outnumbering pebbles on the beach. This glorious time is captured in fantastic photographs from the Keith Medley archive at Liverpool John Moores University, which are now on display in the Our day out exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. The photographs are accompanied by reminiscences by Liverpool people of visiting the resort, getting sand in your sandwiches, wearing knotted hankies on your head to avoid getting burnt and dashing for the last ferry home.

These fond memories are perhaps even more poignant when you consider the changes of fortune that have affected New Brighton since those golden days. Read more…

Penny Lane and the legacies of slavery

7 October 2014 by Sam

Penny Lane street sign in Liverpool

Kayleigh, a third year history student at Liverpool University who has a keen interest in slavery studies and African history, has written this guest blog post for Black History Month.

There is currently a series of free seminars at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool, including several for Black History Month. You can also get involved in a number of free Black History Month talks and events at the International Slavery Museum and Museum of Liverpool throughout October.

“Though the mentioning of Penny Lane usually brings up thoughts of The Beatles, the famous street in suburban Liverpool has a lesser known history. It is believed to have been named after James Penny, an eighteenth century slave ship owner, merchant, and prominent anti-abolitionist. Read more…

150th anniversary of the training ship Indefatigable

19 September 2014 by Sam

painting of a ship with 3 masts

Maritime Archives and Library reference DX 2363

150 years ago on 19 September 1864 John Clint, a Liverpool seaman and ship-owner, and Mayor Charles Mozley called a public meeting at Liverpool Town Hall, ‘for the establishment in the River Mersey of a training ship for the children and orphans of seafaring persons and other poor and destitute boys’. By mid November the Admiralty had agreed to their request to provide a suitable ship. They granted the loan of the 50 gun frigate ‘Indefatigable’. On 9 February 1864 the ship left Plymouth for the Mersey to be fitted out at Coburg dock.

The Maritime Archives and Library hold many of the archives of the training ship Indefatigable including minute books, cadet register books, visitor report books and photographs, which give insights into the lives of the cadets there. Read more…

Knitted swimwear – not as daft as you’d think!

18 August 2014 by Sam

old fashioned swimming costume

Wool serge bathing costume, 1910, frm the Tinne collection at the Walker Art Gallery

It’s that time of year again when many of us have been digging our cossies out from the back of the wardrobe ready for trips to the beach and holidays abroad. I bet that not many people will have a swimming costume quite as unusual as this one though. I have always been fascinated by it, ever since I first saw it in the Walker Art Gallery’s 2006 exhibition A Passion for Fashion: a Liverpool lady’s wardrobe.

This particular bathing costume, which dates from 1910, is made of wool serge. It was a great curiosity when it went on display at the Walker and many of us were doubtful about how practical it would be to wear in the water. We’re all so used to modern fabrics that the idea of a woolen cossie seemed completely impractical and uncomfortable. Read more…

A Hard Day’s Night – Hello Goodbye

9 July 2014 by Sam

two grey Beatles suits displayed on mannequins

Paul and George’s suits on display in the Wondrous Place gallery

This week it’s the anniversary of one of the last visits that The Beatles made to their home town – an exciting moment at the height of ‘Beatlemania’ that you can relive in our gallery, as Paul Gallagher, Acting Senior Curator of Urban History at the Museum of Liverpool, explains:

“It was 50 years ago, on 10 July 1964, that the Beatles swept into Liverpool for the northern premiere of their groundbreaking film A Hard Day’s Night.

What a homecoming it was too. John, Paul, George and Ringo flew into Speke Airport and were met by more than 3000 screaming local fans. They were then whisked off in a police motorcade to a civic reception at Liverpool Town Hall, with an estimated 200,000 people – roughly a quarter of the city’s population – lining the route.  Read more…

Flying the flag for Seafarers Awareness Week

23 June 2014 by Sam

logo with text: An island nation, Seafarers Awareness Week 21-29 June 2014

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, explains why Seafarers Awareness Week is important, and how we can all get involved:

“Are you reading this blog on a computer, smartphone or tablet? Chances are it was brought to this country in a metal box on the back of a ship, along with your TV, clothes and most of your other possessions. Read more…

Sam’s tribute to the Lusitania

3 June 2014 by Sam

young boy holding up a drawing

Sam Colley with his picture ‘The sinking of the Lusitania’

The tragic sinking of the Lusitania during the First World War had a devastating effect on the tight-knit dockland communities in north Liverpool, where most of the liner’s crew lived. 404 crew members died, including many Liverpool Irish seamen.

Every year on 7 May Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary of the sinking with a memorial service on the quayside by the Lusitania’s propeller. Unknown to us, this year a 6 year old boy many miles away in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire was also inspired to make his own tribute to the ship. His mother Joanne Colley got in touch with us when she realised the coincidence. Read more…

HMS Thetis memorial to be unveiled

27 May 2014 by Sam

black band or ribbon with faded gold lettering 'HMS Thetis'

HMS Thetis cap band donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum in 2011. The donor’s uncle was involved in the salvage of the submarine. Accession number MMM.2011.13

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has news of a new memorial to the submarine HMS Thetis:

“On Sunday 1 June 2014 at 1pm a memorial will be unveiled at the River Walkway, Birkenhead. It will mark 75 years since the worst peacetime submarine accident in the history of the Royal Navy. On 1 June 1939 HMS Thetis sank in Liverpool Bay and 99 men perished. Read more…

Remembering the Empress of Ireland

15 May 2014 by Sam

museum display

New material has been added to the Empress of Ireland display to mark the centenary of the sinking.

Lots of people have heard about the sinking of the Titanic and Lusitania. However did you know that more passengers were lost in another major shipping disaster around that time, which had a big impact on Liverpool?

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has more information about the ‘forgotten Empress':

“Today is 15 May, and 100 years to the day that the Canadian Pacific Liner Empress of Ireland last set sail from Liverpool bound for Canada. 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.