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Mauretania – the glory of the Mersey

27 July 2018 by Ellie

Saturday 28 July 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the launch of  Mauretania, the second Cunard liner to bear the name – the first having enjoyed a long and successful career. She was built at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead, and was the largest transatlantic liner built on the Mersey.

Church service for Mauretania

Image courtesy Cunard

On Monday Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth was here in Liverpool, and I was fortunate enough to attend a service at St Nick’s to celebrate this anniversary, organised by Liverpool Parish Church in partnership with Cunard and Cammell Laird. Read more…

Carpathia’s role remembered

19 July 2018 by Sam

metal nameplate with embossed lettering: SS Titanic

This week it is 100 years since RMS Carpathia was lost. The ship is of course best known for the role it played in the rescue of survivors from one of a much more famous liner – RMS Titanic.  In this guest blog, student Hannah Smith from the University of Liverpool explores the story through the nameplate of Titanic’s lifeboat No. 4:

“It is 100 years since RMS Carpathia was struck by three torpedoes from a German U-55, amid the Celtic Sea on 17 July 1918. Just six years earlier, on 15 April 1912 under the captaincy of Arthur Henry Rostron, the Cunard liner undoubtedly experienced its most memorable voyage. When Carpathia’s radio received the Titanic’s distress signal at 12.25 am she turned off her course to travel the 58 mile distance to the wreckage. From 4-8am all 705 survivors were brought aboard the Carpathia. Although sadly 1,503 people were to lose their lives in the sinking, without the Carpathia’s sense of urgency, the cold would have ultimately claimed more.  Read more…

Movember 2016

24 November 2016 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of crew members of the ship Lusitania

Photograph of crew members of Lusitania, Cunard Line, taken in New York, 1910 (Maritime Archives and Library reference DX/1055).

I almost made it through November this year without mentioning Movember – the month of charity moustache growing. So many men have massive facial hair at the moment that I sometimes wonder who would notice if they grew a moustache.

But the charity’s mission is still an important one, so we are highlighting our gallery of moustache images from the collections of the Maritime Archives and Library on the Merseyside Maritime Museum website.

And then I came across this photograph Read more…

Rare photos of Cunard Building on its centenary

1 July 2016 by Sarah

Foundations of Cunard building, dated 28 July 1913. Credit: Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool (Merseyside Maritime Museum)

Foundations of Cunard building, dated 28 July 1913. Credit: Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool (Merseyside Maritime Museum)

On Saturday 2 July 2016, Cunard is celebrating the centenary of its former Liverpool headquarters – the iconic Cunard Building on the city’s world famous waterfront. Did you know that in our Maritime and Archives Library, we have some very rare images of the building under construction 100 years ago? Anne Gleave, Curator of Photographic Collections, Merseyside Maritime Museum tells us more: Read more…

A wee tale from the ‘poop’ deck

21 July 2015 by Jen

Cropped for blog resized

Box of Bromo toilet paper. Accession number 1986.210.194

Part of my job as an Assistant Curator that I’ve absolutely loved is working in the museum stores with our fantastic collections. Sometimes though, due to the vast size of these collections, we come across some rather unexpected items. Such as toilet paper…

This item dates from the late 19th or early 20th century and was a popular brand in its day. The paper inside the box is in individual sheets, rather than the rolls we’re now familiar with, and its texture is not dissimilar to that of a paperback novel… despite it’s claims to being ‘soft and strong’ I suspect most of us would be reluctant to give it a home in our bathrooms today!

So why does the Maritime Museum have this absorbing item? Had collecting standards gone down the pan? Should we be flushed with embarrassment at this seemingly non-maritime object sneaking into our collections?  Read more…

Transatlantic 175 birthday celebration

10 July 2015 by Ellie

Maura on the Liverpool Waterfront

Maura in Liverpool on 4 July 2015. Image courtesy of Kate Warner.

One lady who enjoyed the Cunard Transatlantic 175 events last weekend is Maura Doyle. Her family arranged for her to spend her 95th birthday celebrations in Liverpool so that she could mark the special anniversary, including a visit to Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Lusitania 100 years later: never forget

9 July 2015 by Sam Vaux

Propaganda poster of the Lusitania sinking liner.

Following the war, the Lusitania was used as a propaganda tool. This dramatic image shows the sinking liner, while encouraging Irishmen to join an Irish regiment and ‘avenge the Lusitania’. © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division/J Kent Layton Collection

This is the tenth and final blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum:

“The Titanic remains the most famous ocean liner disaster in history. Yet the sinking of the Lusitania is a subject that still fascinates us today. While both she and the Titanic suffered untimely demise, their lives and deaths could hardly have been more dissimilar. Read more…

Cunard 175: The ship that started it all

3 July 2015 by Jen

Model of PS Britannia

Model of PS Britannia. Accession number 33.97

If you’ve been in Liverpool over the last couple of months it will have been hard to miss the city’s excitement. Cunard, one of the world’s most famous shipping lines, is celebrating their 175th anniversary right here in their home city and, like everything Cunard does, they’re doing it in style. The Three Queens (Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2) made their magnificent entry to the city on 25 May, but Cunard’s beginnings 175 years ago were on a slightly smaller scale. Read more…

The Lusitania’s last voyage

24 June 2015 by Sarah

Captain Turner spots a film crew on the New York pier as the Lusitania departs for the last time. © J Kent Layton Collection

Captain Turner spots a film crew on the New York pier as the Lusitania departs for the last time. © J Kent Layton Collection

This is the 8th blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Lusitania: ‘If business demanded’ it

19 June 2015 by Sam

Large ship being led into docks by 3 small tugs

The Mauretania being manuevered around the Liverpool docks by tugboats. © J Kent Layton Collection

This is the 7th blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum:

“As the winter months began to wind down in early 1915, bookings were increasing on the North Atlantic again. Fears were beginning to subside, and with the threat of naval dangers at sea seeming more remote to prospective passengers, there was apparently less reason not to travel. As a result, Cunard began to see an increased need for passenger capacity. Indeed, on her 202nd crossing, headed east from New York on 1 May, the Lusitania’s second class spaces were overbooked, and overall it was her longest east-bound passenger list since the war’s outbreak.  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.