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Volunteer spotlight: Andrew Richardson

28 March 2019 by Rachel O'Malley

Volunteer Andrew Richardson with a regional archaeological find.

Volunteers are an integral part of National Museums Liverpool, and without them, important work would not be able to take place. As part of the Volunteer Spotlight series we will be meeting up with volunteers who have been making outstanding contributions to the organisation and finding out more about the work that they do.

For this month’s spotlight, I was able to make my way to the waterfront in the beautiful February sunshine (hopefully not too much of a distant memory by the time you read this) to meet Andrew Richardson, a Regional Archaeology volunteer who volunteers with Vanessa Oakden, Curator of Regional and Community Archaeology in National Museums Liverpool’s Archaeology departmentRead more…

Tramcar 245 wins again!

27 February 2019 by Sharon

Liverpool tramcar 245

Liverpool Tramcar 245, restored by a partnership between National Museums Liverpool, Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society (MTPS) and Wirral Borough Council over a six year period, was launched back into service on 12 September 2015.

Following on from winning Tram of the Year for 2015 it has now been voted the Heritage Railway Association ‘Carriage and Wagon Award for self propelled vehicles.’

The award was presented by railway enthusiast and record producer Pete Waterman at a ceremony in Birmingham on 9 February. Rob Jones from MTPS proudly collected the award on behalf of the partners in the restoration project.  Read more…

Welcoming the Chinese new year of the pig

5 February 2019 by Ann

Happy Chinese New Year!

As we say farewell to the year of the dog and welcome the year of the pig we are looking forward to our annual celebrations at the gallery.  Did you know we have two galleries dedicated to Lord Lever’s Chinese ceramics which highlight his collection of 17th and 18th century porcelain which dates back to the 2nd century BCE ? Read more…

Documenting a deck apprentice’s journey

4 February 2019 by Vicki Caren

bundles of letters in air mail envelopes

The Jim Fitt collection, before

Today’s guest blog post is by Brenda McCafferty, who completed a placement with us in January as part of her Masters in Archives and Records Management (MARM) degree:

“Recently I was fortunate to receive a placement in the Maritime Archives and Library in partial fulfilment and completion of my Masters of Archives degree program at the University of Liverpool.

My work placement involved arranging and describing a recent acquisition of letters and photographs received from Jim Fitt, detailing his early experiences at sea as an 18-19 year old deck apprentice with Shell Tankers Ltd, 1962-1963.  Read more…

A tale about a toboggan from the Archives!

29 January 2019 by Vicki Caren

document next to computer screen showing info on George Ashworth Cobham Jr

This guest blog comes to you from Helen Ritchie, a University of Liverpool student currently undertaking a Masters in Archives and Records Management (MARM). Helen has reflected upon her recent placement here at the Maritime Archive and Library, which included the discovery of an unexpected tale:

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to complete a two-week volunteer placement at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

During my time at the Maritime, I have witnessed what it takes to be an archivist within a museum setting and the constraints that the sector often endures such as funding and space management.

The collection I was asked to catalogue belongs to the Bryson-Cobham family collection which includes a large number of personal and business correspondence relating to the Cobhams Read more…

Liverpool is Burning! House of Suarez

18 January 2019 by Kay

Vogue Ball 2017. Image  courtesy of Fotocad

Vogue Ball 2017. Image courtesy of Fotocad

“It’s always been my dream to create a Vogue Ball since I was first introduced to the vogue dance style in the ‘80s. To see the growth and passion of the Ball reach so many people is truly amazing and beyond my expectations!”
Darren Suarez, 2019

Read more…

Digging Up ‘Little Hell’!

20 December 2018 by Liz

Looking back on 2018, this has been a fascinating and fun year at the Museum of Liverpool. One of my professional highlights of the year has been the excavation we undertook in July at Oakes Street (between London Road and Pembroke Place). As part of the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project the Museum of Liverpool archaeology team worked with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to see what was hidden under their car park.  With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) we’d been able to undertake extensive map and desk-based research, which had told us that this was the site of some courtyard housing, but you never know what you’ll actually find when you start digging! Read more…

University Women banner – revealing histories and mysteries

19 December 2018 by Kay

Women carrying banners

Women’s suffrage procession outside of Liverpool Central Library in 1910. Photograph courtesy of Lancashire Archives DDX 1137/5/24

The British Federation of University Women, (today known as the British Federation of Women Graduates), was founded in 1907 to bring University women together. The following year, a Liverpool Association was formed by Eleanor Rathbone and other local ladies.

Members worked for women in the city.  Mrs Nan Mackean, former Honorary Secretary of the Association explained –

“They raised money for beds in the new Women’s Hospital, campaigned for women to serve in the Police Force, and battled bravely against the introduction of the marriage bar for university women staff, which meant that if women married, they were automatically dismissed from their posts and were unable to continue with their careers. During the 1930s, and in wartime, members welcomed European women who were refugees fleeing from the Nazis, giving them hospitality while they waited for a passage to the USA, and providing them with clothes and money for the journey”.

Read more…

Building Britannia: behind the scenes at the Museum of Liverpool

31 October 2018 by Vanessa

man examining archaeological finds in a large room full of boxes on shelves

Luke selecting objects for display from the stores

Today we have a guest blog by Luke Daly-Groves. Luke is currently studying a PhD on Anglo-American intelligence relations in occupied Germany at the University of Leeds:

“For five weeks I have been working with the team of archaeologists at the Museum of Liverpool as part of a placement, in order to create a display about the Romans in Merseyside. My interest in Roman history was sparked by tales of Emperors and Empire, travels around ancient sites throughout Europe, and the works of Professor Dame Mary Beard. But studying the Romans is not all about those at the top but also about revealing something of the lives of ordinary people. This is why archaeology is so important.

Here in Liverpool, the smallest fragment of Roman tile is bagged and recorded because it may provide vital evidence. Context, in archaeology, as in history, is key. The North West was in the past considered to be an area devoid of Roman archaeology. I certainly had no idea of any Roman presence here prior to my work at the museum!  Read more…

Celebrating Angus Wood

11 October 2018 by Kay

group photo of men in suits

Angus Wood (with coat over his arms)

This Black History Month we celebrate diverse voices from Liverpool’s Black community. This second blog in the series celebrates the life of Angus Wood and his contribution to the war effort during the Second World War.

“Because I am from Jamaica, an engineer didn’t think I was capable of sharpening a drill, although after that you know we got on smashing. I was treated quite well, especially when they suddenly realised that everything in Kingston was the same as in England”

Angus Wood, speaking in 2002. Liverpool Voices, Liverpool Lives archive, Museum of Liverpool.

Angus was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to Liverpool when he responded to the call for engineers to come and work in munitions factories here in Britain.  He left Kingston on 13 January 1940 with a large group of other skilled men.

After a long journey they docked in Scotland and travelled by train to Liverpool. Initially they lived at the YMCA in Birkenhead.

Angus was employed at ROF Fazakerley, a newly opened rifle manufacturing factory. Initially he was treated a little differently but once he proved that he knew his job he was treated the same as the other workers. His job, a protected occupation, was to set up machines that the women workers used to cut and grind components for rifles.

Angus also joined the factory’s own Home Guard, performing night fire watches and guard duty before and after a full days work.

The women workers in the factory helped them to find lodgings with local families. Angus lived for two years with the Roberts family, in Crescent Road, Fazakerley, before meeting his wife at the factory and setting up their own home.

Angus and his friends often went to the Grafton Ballroom in their free time. Here they experienced some racism from American GIs. Angus tells us more –

“The Americans didn’t want any coloured chaps in there, and we were British so they couldn’t stop us, and when they objected there was a fight.  I always keep clear of any fights. I was never personally involved in any of them”.

After the war the men were offered the opportunity to return to Jamaica, or stay in Britain. Angus, who was by then married with young children, chose to stay. He lived and worked in Liverpool, staying on at the factory until it closed in 1962.

Don’t forget to download our trail exploring how Liverpool’s Black community is represented in our displays and check out the Black History Month events across National Museums Liverpool’s venues throughout October.



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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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.