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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…

Lusitania: 7 May 1915

2 July 2015 by Sam

ship hit by a huge splash of water almost as high as the funnels

An artist’s conception of the torpedo impact on the Lusitania. © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division/J Kent Layton Collection

This is the 9th and penultimate 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.

“On the morning of Friday 7 May 1915 the Lusitania was enshrouded in fog. Captain Turner sounded the ship’s foghorn and decelerated to 18, and sometimes to 15, knots to help prevent a collision with any ship that could have been traveling through those busy waters.

Many passengers were irritated by the foghorn, believing that it could give the ship’s position away to any enemy U-Boats. 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…

Be dazzled in half term

27 May 2015 by Jen

Carved ship before painting

A work in progress…

Are you stuck for something to do with the kids this half term?  You could take a trip on the Mersey ferry Snowdrop on 27-31 May, which has been transformed with a fantastic dazzle inspired artwork designed by Sir Peter Blake.  Dazzle was a scheme created in the First World War which saw Allied ships painted in outlandish designs to make them more difficult to target by enemy U-boats. Read more…

Remembering the Lusitania on the 100th anniversary

7 May 2015 by Sam

Ellie signing a large picture of the Lusiitania

A signature canvas commemorating the Lusitania will be a ‘living’ work of art. Lustania exhibition curator Ellie Moffat was one of the first to sign it.

Every year Merseyside Maritime Museum pays tribute to the 1,191 people who lost their lives on the Lusitania, with a commemoration by the ship’s propeller on the quayside on 7 May, the anniversary of the sinking. The event brings together many of families affected by the loss of the Lusitania, reflecting what a huge impact the tragedy had on Liverpool, where most of the crew were based.

We have been working closely with many of the Lusitania families, particularly over the last year in preparation for the major exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy. I was fortunate to meet some of them at the opening of the exhibition and was moved to see their pride in how their relatives’ stories had been portrayed. Read more…

Father and son lost in the Lusitania sinking

1 May 2015 by Ellie

old portrait photo

Mary Griffin, the eldest child of Michael Cooney senior and sister of Michael Cooney junior. Image courtesy of Joyce Percival

On 7 May we will mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS Lusitania when 1,191 men, women and children lost their lives.

Our new exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy remembers those people and highlights the strong ties between the ship, her crew, and Liverpool.

Whilst working on the exhibition I have been fortunate to become acquainted with many Lusitania relatives, and Joyce Percival has kindly agreed to share her family story with us:

“My great grandfather Michael Cooney was born in Liverpool to Irish immigrants Peter and Margaret Cooney from Limerick. Michael and his son, also called Michael, were both killed when the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 off the coast of Ireland. Read more…

Remembering the role of Mersey ferries in the First World War

23 April 2015 by Sam

ferry decorated with colourful geometric patterns

The dazzled Mersey ferry Snowdrop

On Sunday Ben Whittaker, curator of maritime history and technology at Merseyside Maritime Museum, is taking part in events to mark the role that the Mersey Ferries played in the First World War, as he explains

“Today, Thursday 23 April, is St George’s Day, and on this day 98 years ago the Mersey ferries Iris and Daffodil took part in the daring First World War raid on Zeebrugge Harbour.  Read more…

Dazzle ferry exhibition

2 April 2015 by Sam

artist Sir Peter Blake on the colourfully decorated ferry

Sir Peter Blake, patron of the John Moores Painting Prize, on the Snowdrop dazzle ferry

This morning the dazzled Mersey ferry Snowdrop, painted with an amazing dazzle inspired design by Sir Peter Blake, sailed across the river for the first time. From the fantastic reaction of the commuters, tourists and press on board today it looks set to become a popular attraction on the river.

There’s more to the dazzle ferry than the colourful exterior though, as Merseyside Maritime Museum curator Ben Whittaker has co-curated an on board exhibition with Tate Liverpool. Read more…

Lusitania: her people remembered

27 March 2015 by Sarah

poster illustration of people on a U-boat watching the Lusitania sink

Today our major new exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy opened at Merseyside Maritime Museum. The exhibition includes a resource, People of the Lusitania, which tells the stories of the passengers and crew on the ship’s final voyage. The resource is the result of many years of research by the Lusitania biographer and historian Peter Kelly, as he explains here:

“As a child I read about the sinking of the Lusitania and became fascinated with her story, especially as I grew up on the south-west coast of Ireland and was very familiar with the Old Head of Kinsale and Cobh (formerly Queenstown), which featured prominently in the story of her loss. To know that such a tragic event had occurred close to where I lived made me curious to learn all I could, Read more…

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