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Remembering victims of the May Blitz, 1941

4 May 2016 by Claire

tinted portrait on a mirror

Mirror featuring image of Peter Johnson, aged 15

Here at Museum of Liverpool, we receive many generous, interesting, and often poignant donations of objects to our collections. Recently, we were contacted by a lady called Janet, who wished to kindly donate items that had originally belonged to her late grandmother, Margaret Johnson. The items relate to Margaret’s children who were tragically killed in the May Blitz, the most concentrated series of air attacks on any British city area outside London during the Second World War. Read more…

Lusitania families reunited

3 May 2016 by Sam

two women

Joyce Percival and Mary Jones at the Lusitania commemoration in 2015

Every year on 7 May Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary of the tragic loss of the Lusitania with a commemoration and minute’s silence at the quayside, by one of the ship’s propellers which is now part of our collection.

For the centenary of the sinking in 2015 there was also a special service at Liverpool Parish Church Our Lady and St Nicholas. The service included an unexpected twist for Mary Jones, who attended in memory of her great grandfather Michael Cooney, a fireman in the engineering department on board the Lusitania who lost his life in the tragedy, along with his son, also called Michael. Read more…

The Kingston Brooch – a very lucky evacuee

3 May 2016 by Emma Martin

The Kingston Brooch is one of the most elaborate pieces of Anglo-Saxon jewellery ever found in England.

The Kingston Brooch is one of the most elaborate pieces of Anglo-Saxon jewellery ever found in England.

On 3 May 1941, exactly 75 years go, Liverpool endured the heaviest bombing of the May Blitz. The bombardment, which ran from 1 to 7 May, saw Liverpool (now World) Museum almost destroyed.

Our online exhibition Bombed Out! World Museum and the Blitz commemorates the event. As devastating as the raid was, thankfully, as Lolo in this blog describes, there were some very fortunate evacuees! Read more…

Bootle’s May Queen

2 May 2016 by Laura

Girl in white dress

Edna May Fairweather, 1931

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow ’ll be the happiest time of all the glad new-year,—
Of all the glad new-year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;
For I ’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I ’m to be Queen o’ the May.

Read more…

Art and the Sea gallery rehang now on display

29 April 2016 by Sam Vaux

Painting of Vittoria Docks in Birkenhead, Wirral

Vittoria Docks, Birkenhead, Wirral, 1919, John Worsley © the artist’s estate

The Art and the Sea gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum has been a hive of activity this week with a rehang of a collection of fourteen maritime paintings; some from the existing collection or only rarely displayed, and one which hasn’t been on public display before. Curator of Maritime Art, Rebecca Smith reveals the history behind some of these works.

Liverpool in its heyday caused it to be regarded as a mecca for those with maritime aspirations of any sort’, Sam Davidson, maritime art historian

Read more…

Don Pedro: the elephant that died twice

22 April 2016 by Emma Martin

Don Pedro (the elephant) standing proud at the centre of the Upper Horseshoe Gallery before 3 May 1941

Don Pedro (the elephant) standing proud at the centre of the Upper Horseshoe Gallery before 3 May 1941

University of Manchester student Lolo is working on our new online exhibition that will be launched 3 May. Here’s his latest blog on some of the objects and specimens that feature in it.

“Many of you may already know that the King of Prussia Jug was one of the Blitz survivors. But not all the stories relating to the museum’s objects and specimens had a happy ending. There were also hundreds if not thousands of casualties. I was very upset when we heard about the sad story of Don Pedro, a male Indian elephant once in the zoology collection. They say cats have nine lives, but poor Don Pedro had just two. Read more…

Hillsborough tributes join Museum of Liverpool collection

14 April 2016 by Laura

Two people and painting

Artist Christian Hook and actress Sue Johnston with the painting

Two new objects, which have recently joined the Museum of Liverpool’s collection, have gone on display to mark the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy (15 April). Read more…

Liverpool and the American Civil War

12 April 2016 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of Captain Semmes on board the ship Alabama, 1863.

One of our rare photographs taken on board the Liverpool built Confederate ship Alabama, 1863.

This week sees the anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War on 12th April 1861.  At first glance not a topic that has much to do with Liverpool.  However, because of the economic and global environment of the time, especially the importance to Great Britain of cotton, Liverpool played a major role in the conflict. Read more…

Picture Palaces of Liverpool

8 April 2016 by Anne

Black and white photo of cinema

Paramount, London Road (1934)

The Reel Stories exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool focuses on original film posters and memorabilia to celebrate Liverpool’s role in films over the past 60 years. Alongside this, the exhibition also includes a large panel which reproduces a selection of Stewart Bale images that highlight some of Liverpool’s and the surrounding area’s, more sumptuous picture palaces of the past; built in the hey-day of cinema-going, these buildings often matched the glamour of the silver screen, with many constructed in the sleek lines of modern Art Deco architecture. Read more…

What happened in the Ceramics Gallery during the Blitz?

7 April 2016 by Emma Martin

Museum staff picking up the pieces in the ceramics gallery after the Blitz

Museum staff picking up the pieces in the ceramics gallery after the Blitz

Lolo is working on the development of an on-line exhibition that explores what happened to World Museum during the Blitz. Here is his second blog, looking at the fate of the ceramics gallery.

The ceramics gallery was one of the galleries that suffered serious damage during the Blitz of May 1941. Rare pieces from the museum’s collection were still on display on the night of 3 May and as the museum crumbled many of the ceramics shattered into pieces. Read more…



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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.