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Posts by Sarah Starkey

Start of a long journey

12 August 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of ship called City of Chicago

City of Chicago, Inman Line, built 1873 (reference McR/39/312)

A lycra-clad cyclist came into the Maritime Archives & Library last week wanting to know where someone arriving in Liverpool from New York in 1885 would have landed.  We pointed him in the direction of the Princes Landing Stage and the Pier Head. The reason for his interest was that he was about to start cycling around the world, attempting to follow the route of Thomas Stevens’ 1884-1887 journey that made him the first man to cycle around the world.  Read more…

Cold Stores & Ice Factory

13 July 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Image of Albert Dock Warehouse and tugboat

Merseyside Maritime Museum building from Canning Half Tide basin, c.1911, reference PR.588.

If you come down to the Merseyside Maritime Museum today, well, to be honest, we’re not looking that great.  As part of ongoing conservation work on our lovely 1846 built warehouse, the front of the museum is being covered in scaffolding. When the scaffolding construction is complete our Estates Department will be putting up some signage to explain what is going on (which I’ll need to read).  In the meantime here is a rather interesting photograph from our collections at the Maritime Archives & Library. Taken around 1911 is shows the building when it was a cold storage warehouse.  It may not look like it, but it is the front of the building, taken from Canning Half Tide basin, so the shed in front, the building on the roof and the built in section in the middle are all long gone. Read more…

Wimbledon, but not tennis

1 July 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Confederate solders reunion at Wimbledon Common 1869

B/FT 1/215:Detail of photograph; Group of Confederate States’ war veterans at Wimbledon Common, 1869.

It’s a big weekend for North America this week.  Today is Canada Day and on Monday it’s Independence Day in the USA.  At the Merseyside Maritime Museum we’re currently marking a not so happy time in North America with an exhibition on the important part played by Liverpool in the American Civil War.  There is a gallery trail throughout the museum and a display of documents outside the Maritime Archives & Library on the second floor.  This image is part of a photograph of ex-Confederate soldiers taken at Wimbledon, London in 1869, presumably during the annual National Rifle Association meeting held on the Common. Read more…

Dublin streetview

16 May 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of street scene in Dublin, 1895

Westmoreland Street (?), Dublin, 1895 BICC/VII/2/11/5 (crop)

The Queen is making an historic state visit to Ireland this week.  This image of Westmoreland Street (we think) in Dublin dates from 1895 and is from our collection of records relating to BICC (British Insulated Callenders Cables) the company formed by the 1945 merger of the Prescot based British Insulated Wire Company and the Erith based Callenders.  The collection contains a large number of photographs from many different places recording work carried out by the company, Callenders in this case.  I have to say that for me the main interest is not in the cable laying work, although I like the half hearted safety barriers, but all the general city life caught in the photograph.  The horse drawn carriages and the city gents.  We don’t know what the cables are being laid for, but Dublin’s newly electrified tram service started running on this day in 1896. Read more…

From Liverpool to Chile

21 April 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Image of launch of vessel in 1911

Launch of the tug Poderoso, Grayson Shipyard, Liverpool (reference PR585)

Launched the same year as the Titanic, but with a considerably longer working life, this photograph is of the launch of the tug Poderoso built by Grayson & Company in Liverpool in 1911.  The tug left Liverpool that year for Chile and worked there until 1988.  John Winrow, Assistant Curator at the Maritime Archives & Library, who found the image while listing a box of photographs, discovered that the vessel is moored in Talcahuano, Chile.  In recognition of its long service the Poderoso is now a National Monument with an organisation dedicated to preserving it.  However, while looking at their website we discovered that unfortunately, not long after its restoration was finished, the Poderoso was heavily damaged, turned on its side no less, by a tsunami following an earthquake last year.  We sent a digital copy of the photograph to the Poderoso preservation society, who have used it in their most recent newsletter, and we wish them well in their continuing efforts to preserve this lovely hard working vessel. Read more…

Titanic sinking, 99th anniversary

11 April 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Postcard of Titanic being held in front of model of Titanic

Postcard of Titanic showing Lady Duff Gordon’s lifeboat(PR.548)

Thursday is the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, not an anniversary that is usually celebrated, but a good day to get a bit of press attention for the new temporary exhibition at the Maritime Museum scheduled for the 100th anniversary in 2012.  So this morning I was carefully posing with some of the Titanic related items held by the Maritime Archives & Library, beside the builders’ model of the ship in the Disasters At Sea gallery.  This postcard of the Titanic is marked where Lady Duff Gordon, her husband, and her maid, Linda Francatelli, boarded the lifeboat that saved them. Linda Francatelli’s apron, worn on that night, is already on display.  The new exhibition will highlight the connections between Liverpool and Titanic.  From the fact that the vessel was registered here (we hold the registration certificate), to the stories of the many Merseyside based people involved in the design, commissioning and staffing of the Titanic and the tragedy of the sinking.  It will also give us an opportunity to display some of our more fragile material that we couldn’t put into a permanent gallery. Read more…

American Civil War

31 March 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Image of a seafarers discharge certificate from ship Alabama

Certificate of Discharge from the CSS Alabama, Confederate States Navy for George Freemantle, DX/1841.

The Merseyside Maritime Museum is commemorating Liverpool’s involvement in the American Civil War, which took place 150 years ago, 1861-1865.  There are various text panels and a trail leaflet that allows you to find related exhibits throughout the building, including in the International Slavery Museum.  My task has been to put together a display of items from the archive collections for our showcases outside the Maritime Archives & Library on the second floor.  We’ve got a lot of relevant stuff, so we’re going to have changing displays until 2015.  Read more…

Fur coats

23 March 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Newspaper advert of woman in fur coat and stuffed bear

Illustrated London News advert, reference DX/287.

For this blog post I am going to have to confess to being unable to come up with any maritime or current affairs link, I just found an image that was too good (or bad) not to share.  Archivists are not keen on accepting newspapers within collections because they are usually available in a well managed and coherent way in newspaper libraries.  I especially hate bundles of undated clippings from unidentified newspapers – ‘if you’re going to cut them out and keep them, at least include the date and source’, I mutter to long dead depositors.  Anyway, when a newspaper does pass our ruthless selection criteria the adverts and other stories are often more interesting than the reason the depositor carefully saved it.  This is especially true of our editions of the Illustrated London News. While I find maritime disasters as interesting as the next person (and in the Maritime Archives & Library, that means very interesting indeed), I couldn’t take my eyes off this fantastically awful advert for a furriers.  I’m not sure who looks more uncomfortable, but the woman, while being incredibly constricted by corsets, has the advantage of not being stuffed and mounted. Read more…

Disasters at sea and elsewhere

25 February 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Bound volume of newspaper reports September 1934

Lloyd’s Weekly Casuality Reports, September 1934

Lorna, Assistant Librarian at the Maritime Archives & Library, has been cataloguing our collection of Lloyd’s Weekly Casualty Reports, which are useful sources of information for shipwrecks and other maritime mishaps.  We can tell something is up because she keeps laughing and reading bits out.  While the early Casualty Reports, ours start in 1890, are a fairly straightforward list of ships that have been wrecked, burnt or otherwise damaged, in later years they become more widespread in their tales of woe including, in September 1977, entries regarding a fire in a glove factory in Aberdeen and the kidnapping of a stamp collectors’ daughter in Italy.  The editors appears to have become rather ghoulish.  However, the thing to remember when using Lloyd’s records, which include many of the great sources for maritime research, is that it’s all about insurance, not about collecting information for ship enthusiasts or family historians. If you had just been asked to underwrite a glove makers you would need to know that there had been a serious fire in no less than the ‘largest manufacturers of knitted gloves in the western hemisphere’ and if you’re setting rates for life insurance, kidnappings are important. All that being said, I do have a suspicion that their correspondents were having a competition to see which is the daftest thing they can get published – for example a reported ‘near riot’ on 4th September 1977 at a music festival in West Germany caused by the ‘absence of some well-known groups’.  1970s German rock music, I think I’d have rioted. Read more…

A new life overseas

17 February 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Drawing of people outside emigration office 1850

Emigration Office, Illustrated London News, 6th July 1850 (DX/287/62/5)

There has been a recent change to the regulations regarding the number of non-EU immigrants that can work in the UK.  In 1850 emigration from the UK was seen as a good way for the unemployed to seek new opportunities.  Government supported emigration required more regulation.  This image from the Illustrated London News shows the Medical Inspectors Office.  Destination countries obviously wanted healthy new arrivals and the spread of disease on a crowded emigrant ship could cause many deaths.  I hope that dog isn’t being left behind. 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.