Our venues


Posts tagged with 'emigration'

Farewell my Valentine

10 February 2011 by Lucy

Francesca Aiken, assistant exhibition curator for the Global City gallery in the new Museum of Liverpool says:

Photograph of porcelain tea cup and saucer

‘The Sailors Farewell’ cup and saucer, on display in the Global City gallery from July in the new Museum of Liverpool

Working late, forgot the flowers, no card this year? Spare a thought for the wife of this sailor, whose husband must soon depart for many weeks or months on board ship without contact from home.

A sailor’s life was a dangerous one, where being swept overboard or wrecked without hope of rescue were a constant risk.  Forget texts or Facebook, this young woman would have to wait until he returned home to know if he was safe or not.

Known as ‘The Sailors Farewell’ this porcelain teacup and saucer was made in China in the early 1800s for sale to European socialites who enjoyed the delicate art of tea drinking.

Due to be displayed in the new Museum of Liverpool opening this July, this rare example of a European couple painted by Chinese artists will feature in the Global City gallery alongside some of the best examples of Liverpool and Chinese pottery from the 18th and 19th centuries.

East meets West the story of Shanghai and Liverpool illustrates how potters in Liverpool upped their game by imitating Chinese porcelain (even going so far as to add fake Chinese marks to the base) to meet the insatiable demand of consumers.


Sailing to Australia

13 January 2011 by Sarah Starkey

plan of accommodation on an emigrant ship

While Australia is currently suffering terrible hardships brought about by flooding, for many it was and remains a land of promise and opportunity.  This image is taken from a newspaper article from 1852 explaining the Government funded emigration system that provided assisted passage for those wanting to start a new life in the Colonies. The drawing was highlighting the space available on an emigrant vessel and the physical separation between single men and single women, located safely away from each other at either end of the ship.  Unfortunately the ship in question, the Bourneuf, did not have a successful voyage and by the time it arrived in Australia after leaving Liverpool in May 1852, 88 of the 830 passengers had died, mainly from diseases caused by poor sanitation. The ensuing enquiry banned the vessel from carrying emigrants until improvements were made, but the vessel was wrecked anyway on its next voyage from Melbourne to Bombay on the Great Detached Reef just off the Northern Australian coast. The enquiry report also stated that although the unmarried female passengers had been protected from the unmarried male passengers, they had not be able to prevent contact and fraternisation with the crew.  So, all in all, not the most successful vessel that has sailed on the high seas. Read more…

All change

27 December 2010 by Stephen

cross section diagram of a liner

As the freezing weather continues I can understand why people want to get away to warmer climes over the festive period.

However a permanent move is a different matter. I am told homesickness really kicks in at Christmas and New Year – we often have rosy memories of Christmases past, in particular.

Someone celebrating Christmas in the tropics may long for the ice-cold weather of home and vice versa.

Liverpool helped change the world by providing the means for millions of emigrants to settle in distant lands. Read more…

Lighten our darkness

15 November 2010 by Stephen

detail of ship model

Image courtesy of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo

I have been out at sea in the middle of the night on a few occasions and it is fascinating how different the heavens can look.

On one occasion I slept on deck on the Liverpool to Dublin ferry watching the shooting stars as I nodded off.

Everything is much darker out at sea in huge contrast to many places on land with widespread man-made light pollution.

Modern ships may be equipped with the latest radio and satellite navigation devices but light is still essential on the open seas in the pitch dark. Read more…

On their own – Britain’s child migrants

9 November 2010 by Sam

archive photo of 4 young children carrying suitcases

Four children bound for Fairbridge Farm School, Molong 1938. Reproduced courtesy of Molong Historical Society.

This week two museums at opposite ends of the world are unveiling the results of a major collaborative project about child migration schemes from Britain to the Commonwealth. Curator Ellie Moffat from the Merseyside Maritime Museum explains:

“Over the last couple of years we have been developing an exhibition in partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) in Sydney. Tomorrow that exhibition, ‘On their own – Britain’s child migrants‘, opens at ANMM.

ANMM approached us a few years ago about collaborating on a project looking at the history of Britain’s child migrants, and this exhibition is the culmination of that work. The partnership has been very productive and engaging – if sometimes challenging due to the distance and time differences! Read more…

Medallion tells of the leaving of Liverpool

23 June 2010 by Sam

two women, one holding a medallion

Ellie Moffat from National Museums Liverpool receives the medallion from Phyllis Clark (niece of William Nevin)

Often objects in museum displays can seem like very ordinary everyday items until you find out the incredible and sometimes very moving stories behind them.

One such item is a small medallion that is being loaned to the upcoming exhibition On their own – Britain’s child migrants, which opens in the Australian National Maritime Museum later this year before coming to Merseyside Maritime Museum in 2011.

The medallion was awarded to Everton schoolboy William Nevin a century ago, for being a star pupil at Major Lester school. At the age of 14 William left Liverpool for New Zealand in 1911 and never saw his home again. William married, had children and was successful in business, but he never forgot about his Liverpool family. Read more…

Message board for former child migrants launched

7 June 2010 by Sam

actors in period costume on board a ship

Two of the actors with a lifebuoy prop during filming

National Museums Liverpool in partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney are developing a new exhibition, On their own – Britain’s child migrants. The exhibition, which opens in Sydney this November before coming to Liverpool, will tell the story of child migration from Britain to Commonwealth countries. Here’s the latest news about the development of the exhibition from curator Ellie Moffat:

“From the late 19th century up until the 1960s Britain sent more than 100,000 children to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries. They all had very different experiences along the way and many former migrants are still coming to terms with what happened to them. Read more…

From the deep

4 May 2010 by Stephen

model of a large sailing ship

Indian Queen ship model

I find sea mysteries completely absorbing because of their finality – a ship disappearing without trace always leaves so many unanswered questions.

I only learnt about this particular disappearance recently and was fascinated by the way the sea gave up its secret after so many years.

It was a mystery that took 135 years to solve – the disappearance of the emigrant paddle steamer Pacific and almost 200 passengers and crew on a voyage from Liverpool to New York. One of the largest, fastest and most well-appointed ships of her day she vanished after sailing on 23 January 1856. Read more…

Destination Liverpool

19 April 2010 by Stephen

I think Liverpudlians sometimes overlook the special relationship many people from around the world feel they have with our city – even if they’ve never visited us.

The port is historically a romantic place in the widest sense of the word – a point of departure and loss because people set off for new lives from its docks and quaysides. Our music is also known virtually everywhere, adding to the potent emotional mix.

Liverpool has a place in the family histories of countless millions of people scattered across the globe. Many feel that this spot saw the beginning of new lives.   Read more…

Mimosa migration

12 April 2010 by Stephen

archive photo of a group of people

Settlers in Patagonia, including some of the original Mimosa emigrants, 28 July 1890.

I like the idea of moving en masse to a distant country and setting up a community just as the Pilgrim Fathers did to found America.

Most emigrants settle as individuals or small groups in existing communities and become part of their adopted countries while retaining their cultural links. It is more unusual for large numbers to leave together, travel together and settle together.  

A group of Welsh people sailed into the unknown to found a successful settlement thousands of miles away in South America where their descendants continue to live today. Read more…

About our blog

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.




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.