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Here there be witches?

30 October 2015 by Liz

Shoe discovered inside a wall during building works at the Everyman Theatre

Shoe discovered inside a wall during building works at the Everyman Theatre

At the Museum of Liverpool there’s currently a display to celebrate the Everyman Theatre’s year as RIBA Stirling Prize winner. One of the items on display is a shoe which was found inside a wall when the 1975-77 Everyman Theatre building was being demolished. The shoe appears to date from the period of construction in the 1970s, but how and why it was within the wall is shrouded in mystery.

It’s possible that this represents a modern re-invention of a historic practice of placing shoes inside walls of buildings as protection from witches.  Read more…

The Truly scary thing about bats!

30 October 2015 by Paula

Stevie the brown long eared bat

Stevie the brown long eared bat

Bats have a bad reputation and have long been associated with Vampires and Halloween but the really scary thing about bats, in our opinion, is that all bats in Britain are endangered species. This means that they are protected by law, and it’s illegal to disturb a bat or its roost, except if you find an injured bat and need to bring it in for veterinary care.

Laura Carter, an Education Demonstrator at World Museum is a volunteer bat carer with the Bat Conservation Trust and here she tells us about some of her charges: Read more…

The temple boys of ancient Cyprus

29 October 2015 by Lynn

Head of a temple boyCurator of Classical Antiquities, Chrissy Partheni tells us of her work on this fascinating sculptural collection from ancient Cyprus.

“Over the last 12 months I have been working on digital records of our antiquities collection of ancient Cyprus limestone pieces.

My first encounter with this collection was seeing lots of boxes in our store, filled with sculptural pieces, mainly heads, all made in limestone, a chalky but light material.  The collection was donated to us in 1872 by Captain Fothergill. We have 125 limestone pieces in total with 11 “Temple boy” statuettes being particularly interesting.   Read more…

The ‘Angels of Pervyse’

27 October 2015 by Sam

poppies in a field in Flanders

© Lee Karen Stow

Photographer Lee Karen Stow shares the story of two brave women who she researched as part of her preparations for the exhibition Poppies: Women and War. You can see more of her photos and read about other women’s stories in the exhibition.

“This image of poppies growing in Flanders, marks the spot where Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, the only women known to nurse on the Western Front in the First World War, saved countless lives. These heroic women, their stories largely forgotten, became two of the most famous women of the war.  Read more…

The Lamentations of Isis and Nephtys

26 October 2015 by Paula

Egyptian papyrus from our collection

Egyptian papyrus from our collection

Marion Servat-Fredericq,  Project Assistant Curator Antiquities tells us about a recent visit to World Museum:

‘Dr Andrea Kucharek, an Egyptologist at Heidelberg University in Germany, visited World Museum recently to take a closer look at an Egyptian papyrus from our collection (Papyrus Mayer M11190). Dr Kucharek is currently working on the publication of this papyrus which bears a religious text from the Ptolemaic Period (332 –30 BC) known as “The Lamentations of Isis and Nephtys”. Read more…

Exploring artistic process and practice

23 October 2015 by Alison

Caroline Walker (artist) standing in front of 'Consulting the Oracle' painting

Caroline Walker with her painting ‘Consulting the Oracle’ (detail), 2013. © Caroline Walker. Private collection

We recently spoke to artist Caroline Walker whose paintings ‘Consulting the Oracle’ (2013) and ‘Illuminations’ (2012) are currently on display as part of REALITY: Modern and Contemporary British Painting. We were interested in finding out more about the artistic practice behind Caroline’s work, which we hope will inspire other artists. Read more…

Destination Space starts with star gazing

22 October 2015 by Paula

Stargazing at World Museum

Stargazing at World Museum

Jon Marrow, our Senior Education Manager tells us all about the start of Destination Space:

“I can’t wait for our next star gazing evening at World Museum at 6pm this Friday 23 October. It’ll be special because it is the first event of our wonderful new Destination Space programme which celebrates the European Space Agency’s first British astronaut, Tim Peake, going into space. Read more…

Forgotten? : Black Soldiers in the Battle of Waterloo

21 October 2015 by Sarah

The Recruitment Officer c1815, showing a Black trumpeter rallying locals. It is exceptionally rare to find an image depicting a Black soldier at the Battle of Waterloo. Image reproduced by permission of Leslie Braine-Ikomi

The Recruitment Officer c1815, showing a Black trumpeter rallying locals. It is exceptionally rare to find an image depicting a Black soldier at the Battle of Waterloo. Image reproduced by permission of Leslie Braine-Ikomi

As we are now remembering and commemorating the Centenary of the First World War, Black British colonial troops are only now receiving attention by historians. 2015 is also the bicentenary of another great conflict, the Battle of Waterloo, and on 24th October at 1pm Dr Ray Costello will focus on another group of soldiers of African descent, Black soldiers who fought at the Battle of Waterloo a century earlier than the Great War. Here, Ray writes a blog for us ahead of his talk at the International Slavery Museum:

“If Black British colonial troops have been long neglected by historians, the existence of any narrative around Black British soldiers enlisting in the United Kingdom in the Napoleonic Wars is even less known. Black soldiers based in the United Kingdom would seem to have been a component of the British army for a very long time and there is some evidence to suggest that the British Army actively sought black soldiers during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

“Individual Black soldiers are known to have taken part in many of the Napoleonic war campaigns, including the Battle of Toulouse, the Peninsular War, Quatre Bra, and the final battle to defeat the French Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo in June 1815.

“Who were these Black soldiers and where were they from? Whilst the majority of Black soldiers found can be identified as coming from the West Indies, reflecting the slave trade, others came in roughly equal measure from Africa, continental North America, (i.e. the United States and Canada), the East Indies and Britain and Ireland. The 88th Foot had a number of Black soldiers serving with it in the Peninsular Campaign, and even after the Napoleonic Wars continued to recruit Black soldiers. One or two were even British-born, as Black people were being born in such ports at Liverpool at that time.

“Both before and after the Battle of Waterloo, amongst other regiments, black individuals were to be found in the 13th light dragoons, the 10th Hussars and the 88th Foot. After the Napoleonic Wars, we also look at what happened to those who had taken part. Did some receive medals? Who looked after them in their declining years and did they receive pensions?

“Although the numbers of Black soldiers may have been relatively small compared with the thousands who fought and died in this epic battle, the aim is to give these soldiers of African descent a deserved face and draw attention to the interest and importance of a previously under-researched history. I am inviting you to come along to the International Slavery Museum to listen to these forgotten accounts, and to perhaps rethink your perceptions of this phase of military history.”

Hear more from Dr Ray Costello this weekend, at his Black Soldiers at Waterloo talk at the International Slavery Museum – Saturday 24 October at 1pm. Part of our Black History Month 2015 event series. 

First World War ‘munitionettes’

21 October 2015 by Sam

traditional woman's cap and explosive shell in museum display

© Lee Karen Stow

Photographer Lee Karen Stow reflects on the dangerous work carried out by women during the First World War:

“Thank you to all those who came to the Poppies: Women and War guided tour of the exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool earlier this month. One woman in the audience later spoke to me about her mother who had been a munitions worker. After seeing the stories of women and war on the walls, she felt keen to go home and learn more about the nature of the work her mother had undertaken.  Read more…

The City of Benares legacy 75 years on

20 October 2015 by Jen

John Baker holding a page from a newspaper

City of Benares survivor John Baker holding a copy of his local paper in which he was interviewed. Picture taken on his recent visit to the maritime Museum.

One of the great things about working on projects around events within living memory is that often they prompt people to come forward and talk about their own experiences or family story. At a 75 year remove, with most of the children not from the local area, I wasn’t sure how much impact our City of Benares feature would have in this respect but I was pleasantly surprised. Some people got in touch to say they’d known or knew people who had been on board, a representative of the Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade (SVLB) made contact to say they were marking the 75th anniversary with a service and small display, and one of the child survivors even turned up at the Maritime Museum for a chat.  Read more…

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