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Disaster averted

29 August 2013 by Sam

archive photo of a ship and a tug

‘Kirriemoor’ ship in the Mersey

Curator of Photographic Archives Anne Gleave has found a photograph amongst the Maritime Archives and Library collections which depicts an incident  that occurred on this day 63 years ago: Read more…

Romance in 1934

14 February 2013 by Anne

old photo of smartly dressed couples dancing in a large hall

Dance Party at Reece’s, Parker Street, Liverpool, February 1934 (detail). Commissioned by S Reece & Sons Ltd, Liverpool

The commercial photographic firm of Stewart Bale Ltd were commissioned to take this photograph by Reece & Sons Ltd, from their principal offices in Hawke Street, off Brownlow Hill, Liverpool. Stewart Bale was an important firm of Liverpool based photographers who could command significant commissions, which says something about the status of Reece’s. Read more…

A Liverpool Ship

24 November 2011 by Rebecca

Ship plan from The shipbuilder brochure

Ship plan from The Shipbuilder brochure. Copyright IMarEst

This week I am working on the content for the Titanic and Liverpool:the untold story exhibition which opens March 2012. I am mainly focusing on an interactive touch screen which will allow visitors to explore the layout of Titanic. In the Merseyside Maritime Museum archives and library collection is The White Star- Olympic and Titanic summer brochure of 1911, which was published by The Shipbuilder. This edition features many illustrations for both vessels including a very detailed plan of the ships. I am always taken back by the variety of cabins designed and fitted out. The technical detail of the plans is very impressive. The leisure facilities available such as a library, gym, sauna and swimming pool, which were only available for first class passengers. Read more…

Catalan visit

22 November 2010 by Sarah

people looking at document

Last week the Maritime Archives & Library had a visit from staff from a number of maritime museums in Catalonia.  The Barcelona Maritime Museum, which, it pains me to say, is in an historic building even more impressive than ours, is thinking of setting up an archive facility with public access and so came to look at our stores and public searchroom.  Needless to say they arrived on a classic Albert Dock day of driving rain and grey skies, but we wouldn’t want the British obsession with the weather to be undermined with a nice sunny day.

Pitt Street remembered at Waterfront event

5 November 2010 by Lucy

Thirty two members of the St Michael in the City Church Group attended an event at the Maritime Museum this week to mark the close of six months of fact-finding in partnership with the Museum of Liverpool Global City gallery team.

Attending the event were those who grew up around Pitt Street and Cleveland Square, whole streets that were flattened in the May Blitz of World War Two. This area was once a hub of activity for Seamen from all over the world, their families part of a vibrant community that would form the foundations of Liverpool’s Chinatown as its known today. Read more…

History of World Museum Liverpool

6 May 2010 by Kay C

Thursday 6 May is the day people have been talking about all across Liverpool: it’s the day our public lecture series features the history of World Museum Liverpool.

Liverpool’s Museum – The First 150 Years is the first of three great talks lined up for this afternoon’s session. Presented by our Executive Director of Collections, John Millard, the event starts at 2pm in the Treasure House Theatre, World Museum, and is part of our celebrations in the museum’s 150th anniversary year. Read more…

Laying the foundations

15 April 2010 by Lisa

I think you’ll agree that there’s nothing like a gentleman in a top hat and tails – it’s truly a stylish and dapper fashion statement. The guys below are all dressed up for a special occasion, so let’s look at the archives – for our celebration of the World Museum’s 150th anniversary – and see what they were up to on this day in 1857…


Old photo of men moving a large foundation stone

Laying the foundations for a great museum!

On 15 April 1857, William Brown laid the foundation stone of the new museum and library – the beginnings of the building in which World Museum is now housed. The records show that:

‘…a select party breakfasted in the Town Hall, with Samuel Holmes Esq, Deputy Mayor.  At half past ten, a numerous company assembled in the large ball-room…

At the close of the Presentation of Addresses, a Procession was formed, which moved through the principal streets to the site of the intended building…’

Those listed in the procession were;

‘Police of the Fire Brigade, Band of the Bluecoat Hospital, Members of the Arrangement Committee, the Bishop, Alderman Home,  W M Brown Esq, M.P. (Deputy Mayor.) Invited Guests, Magistrates of the Borough, Aldermen and Town Councillors. Gentlemen who presented the Addresses, Deputations, Other Gentlemen Present.’

‘They marched three abreast, through Castle Street, Lord Street, Church Street, Parker Street, and Lime Street, to Shaw’s Brow.  Thousands of spectators lined both sides of the streets; and both private houses and public buildings were profusely decorated with flags.  The bells of the Parish Church rang out merry peals. As Mr. Brown emerged from the Town Hall the Band struck up ‘See the Conquering Hero Come’.’

The American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was there and described the laying of the museum’s foundation stone;

‘Mr. Browne himself, the hero of the day, was the plainest and simplest man of all. An exceedingly unpretending gentleman in black; small, white-haired, pale, quiet, and respectable. I rather wondered why he chose to be the centre of all this ceremony; for he did not seem either particularly to enjoy it, or to be at all incommoded by it, as a more nervous and susceptible man might have been.

The site of the projected edifice is on one of the streets bordering on St. George’s Hall and when we came within the enclosure, the corner-stone, a large square of red freestone, was already suspended over its destined place. It has a brass plate let into it, with an inscription…’

They certainly laid the foundations for a great museum and it sounds like it was a ceremony worthy of putting on your Sunday Best! Read more…

Statues and sea-life

19 March 2010 by Lisa

It’s time to peer back into the mists of time again in our series of blogs celebrating World Museum’s 150th anniversary…

On 16 March 2004, during building work on a new entrance and atrium, a traffic warden threatened to give a parking ticket to the crane moving exhibits at the front of the museum in William Brown Street!

Two, two-metre black stone statues of the Egyptian Goddesses Sekhmet were taken from display in the museum’s current entrance and craned down the street to the new entrance. The operation was followed by a photographer from the Liverpool Echo, and he photographed parking attendants as they threatened to fine the crane driver. On 17 March the story appeared in the Echo under the headline ‘Warden tries to book crane as it moves museum statues’. On the next day the story was picked up by the Scotsman, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and several regional papers. The Sun ran a picture story and the news went round the world to the Sydney Morning Herald. Read more…

March’s caption competition

19 March 2010 by Sam

archive photo of crowds on the Liverpool landing stage

Liverpool landing stage, 1937 from the Stewart Bale collection

I’m not sure if it’s something in the air, the exciting news of the great liners due to visit Liverpool next year, or just all the time we’ve been spending on the ferry lately, but we’ve  gone for a seafaring theme for this month’s caption competition.

If you can think of an amusing (and clean, don’t forget) caption for this photo from the fantastic Stewart Bale collection then post it as a comment by the end of the day on Wednesday 31 March 2010. The funniest and most original caption will win a copy of the fantastic hardback book ‘The Liner: retrospective and renaissance’ (2005) by Philip Dawson.

Why not take a closer look at the photo using zoomify.

A museum stuffed with specimens

8 March 2010 by Lisa

It’s time to peer back into the mists of time again in our series of blogs celebrating World Museum’s 150th anniversary. Today is one of the most significant dates in the museum’s history, as we revisit the day the museum first opened. Our archives tell us about the challenges that had to be overcome in order to fit the massive natural history collection into the museum…


The corner of a brown brick building

Slater Street, the location where the museum first openend.

On 8 March 1853, the museum first opened in a building on Slater Street in Liverpool, and it was called the ‘Derby Museum of the Borough of Liverpool’.  The Mayor and council marched in a procession from the Town Hall, arriving at the museum just after 2pm.  The Mayor spoke from a temporary dais about the collection of natural history in the museum which had been bequeathed to the town of Liverpool by the Earl of Derby. He said; Read more…

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