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Posts tagged with 'First World War'

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…

Centenary of the sinking of Falaba

27 March 2015 by Ellie

men with lifting equipment hanging a large painting on a wall

The huge painting of Falaba was installed by our specialist handling team ready for the opening of the ‘Lusitania: life, loss, legacy’ exhibition

This Saturday, 28 March, marks the centenary of the sinking of the Falaba – a passenger ship of Liverpool’s Elder Dempster Line. She left Liverpool on 27 March 1915 and sighted the German submarine U-28 off the southern coast of Ireland the following day.

U-28 surfaced, sent two warnings and Falaba’s crew were ordered to abandon ship. As the final lifeboat was being lowered, a torpedo hit. The ship sank in under 10 minutes. Germany claimed that U-28 had allowed 23 minutes for evacuation. Britain said it was only 5 minutes. Read more…

Everybody Razzle Dazzle

2 February 2015 by Lucy

Image of Sir Peter Blake

Sir Peter Blake, seen here in his studio

We are really excited to be involved in a new project announced today, to ‘dazzle’ one of the Mersey Ferries, and even more so because it involves Sir Peter Blake.

Peter Blake is perhaps most famous for designing the cover of The Beatles’ album, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967). However, he has been a prolific artist during his career and his status in the art world far exceeds Sgt. Pepper’s.

Sir Peter is a leading figure in the development of British pop art, and became the first Patron of the John Moores Painting Prize – held every two years at the Walker Art Gallery – in 2011.  Read more…

A Christmas gift from 1914

15 December 2014 by Jen

Offer of WIlliam Galvin's framed tin (2) - blog size

Framed Princes Mary gift received in 1914 by Royal Navy Stoker, William Galvin. In the bottom right of the frame you can see a piece of shrapnel that fell on the deck of his ship the HMS Lion.

Once again, (and, as usual, far sooner than those of us who haven’t finished the shopping yet had expected), we are fast approaching Christmas. A season as much associated with ideas of peace and goodwill as with gift giving and good food. Christmas presents have become an inescapable part of the season, one which many people (or at least those who are very well organised) start to think about a couple of months in advance.

In October 1914 one young girl seems to have been doing exactly that and her Christmas list was certainly more ambitious than most! Princess Mary, the 17 year old daughter of King George V, decided she wanted to send a gift to:

“every sailor afloat and every soldier at the Front”

Read more…

New advent calendar for 2014

27 November 2014 by Sam

advent calendar illustration of a winter scene with Liverpool landmarks

It’s almost time to open the first door in our popular advent calendar. Our Christmas elves (or curators, as they prefer to be called) have been working hard to find some new surprises from our collections and displays to hide behind the doors for you.

As we have been marking the centenary of the First World War with a number of exhibitions and events throughout 2014, we decided to make this the theme for the content of this year’s advent calendar.

I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but there are some really fascinating objects hidden behind the doors, which give a glimpse of how the war affected everyday people. Read more…

A window of Remembrance

26 November 2014 by Lucy

Photo of First World War window display

Catherine Mooney makes the finishing touches to her First World War window display

The Museum of Liverpool has teamed up with the Hugh Baird University Centre to create a unique Christmas window display to commemorate the First World War.

We tasked first year undergraduates on the Foundation Degree in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design– validated by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) – to create a visual display in our shop window to reflect our First World War exhibitions.

Students were asked to create designs based on subjects including ‘Home for Christmas’, ‘Women at War’ and ‘The Christmas Truce’.

Catherine Mooney was chosen to produce the display which can be seen by visitors until the end of January 2015.

Here, Catherine explains the background behind her design proposal:

During my research for the Museum of Liverpool’s First World War window, I felt it was important to signify the great loss suffered by the city. 13,000 people from Liverpool lost their lives and many more were affected by the war. I obtained a copy of the First World War Memorial Roll of Honour of Liverpool’s Military War Dead, which is displayed in the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall. It lists more than 13,000 names of fallen soldiers. The names are an integral part of my design proposal and are intended to make an emotional connection with the viewer, juxtaposing the sentiment of families at Christmas with the memories of all those who were lost through the tragedy of The Great War.

A main element of my design proposal is the use of an army camouflage net as a backdrop. Camouflage netting was first used in the First World War and was made by women to help protect their loved one during battle. Handwritten labels representing each person lost will be tied on with red ribbon, with the aim of evoking the notion of present giving at Christmas time. The names signify those who didn’t return home for Christmas and act as a personal remembrance for those who were lost.

I have incorporated the Museum’s merchandise into my design by developing a Christmas tree idea made from books stacked to form a tree-like shape. The merchandise can be placed on top and used like a plinth to display the stock. I was inspired by the fact it was virtually impossible to obtain a Christmas tree during the war, so people were creative in using whatever materials they could find and ‘made do’.

Christmas is when families traditionally spend time together and exchange presents. It is also a time to remember those who are no longer with us. My design proposal intends to produce a window that will evoke these feelings and act as remembrance to Liverpool’s fallen during the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War.


Every item purchased in the Museum of Liverpool shop supports National Museums Liverpool, with all profit made going straight back into the organisation.

Many Christmas gifts are available, including a First World War selection inspired by the Museum of Liverpool’s current exhibitions.

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