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The Turner Brothers

21 March 2012 by Lucy

This is our second blog post in a series leading up to our World War One Family History Day at the Museum of Liverpool this Saturday, 24 March. Today, we look at the story of the Turner Brothers, William and Fred.

Soldiers from the Liverpool Scottish Battalion

William and Fred Turner signed up as Officers to the Liverpool Scottish Battalion. William can be seen here on the far right.

Lieutenants William and Fred Turner were born in Ullet Road, Liverpool, to parents Jessie and William. Both attended the local Greenbank School, and went on to become successful sportsmen in cricket, rugby and football at Sedbergh School, Yorkshire before following in their father’s footsteps and joining the printing firm Turner & Dunnett, of which their father was Senior Partner.
The boys were among the first to ‘sign up’ and both joined the Liverpool Scottish Battalion as officers. Read more…

These are a few of my favourite things – 2

13 March 2012 by Laura C

Here, Laura Cox, Visitor Assistant at the Museum of Liverpool shares the next of her favourite things.


Laura stands next to the Punch and Judy show

Laura at the Museum of Liverpool life, by the Punch and Judy display

My second favourite object in the Museum of Liverpool is situated in the Wondrous Place galley, it’s a whole case dedicated to Codman’s Punch and Judy. The case contains a Punch, a Judy, a Crocodile and perhaps even a sneaky clown who goes by the name of Joey.

The family run Codman’s Punch and Judy show used to take place at Lime Street and then later at Williamson Square, pictures around the case show crowds of people watching a show. These shows were way before my time, we’re talking the 1800’s here, so you may be wondering why it’s one of my favourite things in the museum… Well, Codman’s Punch and Judy holds a very special place in my heart and as soon as I set eyes on it in the new museum the memories came flooding back. Read more…

Maritime Tales – Blue Funnel Titan

5 January 2012 by stepheng

Ship model

Courtesy Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

I remember following closely the Six Day War in 1967 when Isreal defeated the combined forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

 

At this time I was a 19-year-old junior reporter staying in lodgings at Preston while taking a block release course in practical journalism.

 

We did not have access to a TV so listened to the news reports on the radio. The war was one of the shortest in history but created major disruption to shipping.

 

The Suez Canal was closed for eight years, forcing operators to change their routes and commercial strategies.

 

The canal, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, opened in 1869 and slashed journey times between Europe, the East and Australasia.

 

The Six Day War and the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict resulted in an Egyptian blockade of the canal and shipping lines assumed correctly it would remain closed for a very long time.

 

The huge bulk oil tanker Titan was one of many Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) designed during this period when operators knew they could not use Suez. They were too big to go through the canal but their large size made them more cost-effective for travelling the extra distances.

 

Oil transportation was one of the most profitable shipping sectors at the time. When OPEC (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quadrupled oil prices in 1973 it triggered a worldwide slump in shipping.

 

Titan was built in 1970 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and registered in Liverpool with the famous Blue Funnel Line (Ocean Steam Ship Company).

 

There is a superb six-foot long model of the 113,551- ton tanker on display in Merseyside Maritime Museum (pictured).

 

Titan only sailed under Blue Funnel colours for five years before being sold to Mobil Oil in 1975. Just seven years later she was sold for scrap in South Korea.

 

By 1982, when there were 577 VLCCs in the world, it was found that 326 of them including Titan were surplus to requirements.

 

Photographs show other VLCCs of the era including a deck view of BP tanker British Admiral about 1970. The main engine room of the British Mariner shows crew members dwarfed by enormous pipes and machinery.

 

Titan was the fourth and last Blue Funnel ship to bear that name. The first Titan was built in 1885 by Scott & Co of Greenock and broken up in 1902.

 

The second Titan, built in 1906, was torpedoed and sunk in 1940 by the German submarine U-47 with the loss of six lives.

 

The U-boat was commanded by Günther Prien, a notorious ace who sank more than 30 Allied ships including the veteran British battleship Royal Oak. Titan was the 18th vessel he sent to the bottom.

 

This is an edited version of the Maritime Tale that originally appeared in the Liverpool Echo.

Read more…

Music Matters

13 April 2011 by Lucy

Our press office volunteer Jack is back again, with his musings about collecting popular music…beyond the museum.


A Beatles-inspired lunchbox

One of the many collectables people may have associated with popular music

Collecting tickets from music concerts is an age old custom amongst many people including myself, in order to preserve the memory of the occasion or simply to say ‘I was there’. This in itself is nothing extraordinary. The question, however, is how significant these physical remnants are in relation to the music itself and why we, as music lovers, conserve them. How do we treat these objects, both personally and through our museums? Is it all about the music or are the relative keepsakes just as important? Read more…

Wait a minute Mr Postman…

8 April 2011 by Lucy

The Press Office volunteer Jack Poland has spotted a good story again. Here he tells us more about the child-sized post box that’s in our collections:


Fazakerley Cottage Homes were opened in 1889 to accommodate poor and orphaned children, housing up to 584 children at a time. In addition to the 21 cottages where the children lived, there were schools, farm buildings, gardens and a swimming pool. The homes also introduced another unique addition, which, after plans to install it in the Museum of Liverpool were revealed, has roused a fair amount of intrigue.

The object of interest is a child-sized post box which was specially made for the children to post their letters and cards. It was used up until the Homes’ closure in 1964 when it was thankfully rescued by a member of the Post Office staff and kindly donated to National Museums Liverpool.

Fazakerley Children's Home Post Box

This is the post box which children at the Fazakerley Cottage Homes used to post their letters. (c) Mark McNulty

Curator of community history Kay Jones attended the Fazakerley Cottage Homes Association annual re-unions in June 2009 and 2010 to find out more about this intriguing piece of local history. Read more…

A Glass Act is Revealed

23 March 2011 by Lucy

This week, our guest-blogger in National Museums Liverpool press office is Jack Poland, who was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of the new Museum of Liverpool.


Last week, I was one of a fortunate few to witness the unveiling of the iconic Liverpool Map as the Museum of Liverpool revealed its latest instalment.
The Liverpool Map

The Liverpool Map has been installed in the new Museum of Liverpool.

The map was the product of sculptors Jeffrey Sarmiento and Inge Panneels’ nine months of arduous work. It took little time, however, to acknowledge that such labour had well and truly paid off as the six-segment sculpture, each one weighing 100kg, was finally unveiled.

Even the picturesque Pier Head as its backdrop could not entice the viewing eyes away from the magnificent art piece which binds the geographical map of Liverpool with a cultural one. As light shines through the 17 layers of fused glass the map takes on a whole new level of interest. Hours upon hours of time are guaranteed to be lost when viewing the map as well known faces, places and words will burst out at every possible angle. The attention to detail of the artists was there for all to see, from the intricate implementation to the famous faces being placed as close as possible to their relevant geographical locations. Read more…

Where has my father gone?

21 March 2011 by Lucy

Francesca Aiken, assistant exhibition curator for the Museum of Liverpool’s Global City Gallery writes:


David Yip

David Yip narrated ‘Where has my father gone?’ for East meets West – The Story of Shanghai and Liverpool. With special thanks to David Yip and Lisa O’Neil for providing these images.

“How could it happen? How could I not know about this?” was David Yip’s response when he heard for the first time about the enforced repatriation of hundreds of seamen from Liverpool’s Chinese community that took place in 1946.

For many of those directly affected, the wives and children of Chinese seamen who worked for the Merchant Navy during the Second World War, the truth about their sudden disappearance wasn’t known until decades later – many thought they had been abandoned. Now, 65 years later, more and more are discovering the truth. Read more…

Chinese Artists

14 March 2011 by stepheng

Chinese painting of sailing ship.

Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

I like the way Chinese artists have depicted the West over the centuries, particularly on ceramics and canvas.

Their work shows a fine delicacy which is charming as well as inspirational. Chinese marine art perhaps lacks the sense of movement captured by European artists but I am drawn in by the incredible technical detail.

A number of Chinese artists worked in Far East ports specialising in ship portraits for Western captains.

Several fine examples from the period 1850 to 1910 are on display in Merseyside Maritime Museum’s Art & the Sea gallery. Read more…

Convoy HX 219

8 March 2011 by stepheng

Small model ships

Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post and Echo

I would not like to be a pirate – apart from being illegal, the chances of meeting a violent end are too great– but I do like the swashbuckling aspects.

The sight of the Jolly Roger (the pirate skull and crossbones) being raised is pretty exciting – it is a part of pirate lore which has been adapted by submariners. 

A British commander first flew the notorious flag in modern times nearly 100 years ago. Read more…

Holding History

28 February 2011 by Lucy

The Museum of Liverpool education team is currently trying to track down a number of objects they can use as handling resources for learning sessions when the new museum opens.

Visitors touching a historical object

If you think you could help us track down one of the objects we require for handling sessions like this one, please let us know

Being able to touch and feel an object is a great way of bringing history to life for visitors, and if you think you can help provide us with any of the objects listed below, then please get in touch.

The list of objects required is as follows:
• Liverpool-made toys
• Victorian metal bucket and spade set
• Vintage Union Jack flag
• Opera glasses
• Top hat
• Items linked to imports and exports from Liverpool history – clay pipes, locally made clocks and watches, Herculaneum pottery, tea chests with Liverpool links.
• First World War or home front items linked to Liverpool such as postcards, mementos or photographs
• Carpet bag
• 19th Century Italian lire
• Victorian Knife sharpening equipment or tailoring equipment
• Items related to the Liverpool Overhead Railway
• Docker’s Hook
• Original Beatles records
• 1950s or 1960s transistor radio and TV
• 1960s primary or secondary school text books
• Old-style school desk  – wooden with inkwell
• 1960s Afghan coat 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.