Our venues

Blog

Posts tagged with 'liverpool'

Santa Claus is coming to town!

16 November 2017 by Laura

People with santa statue

Blackler’s Santa in 2016 with Phil and Alexis Redmond and the creator, Peter Blazey. Image by Gareth Jones

The enormous glitzy tree of Liverpool One is flashing its love hearts above shoppers; the Christmas markets are settling into their new homes in corners of the city centre, and across Liverpool schools children are learning their lines for nativity plays. Read more…

Maggi Hambling visits

8 November 2017 by Sarah

‘Good Time George’ by Maggi Hambling. Copyright Maggi Hambling

Contemporary artist Maggi Hambling visited Liverpool today, to give ‘Good Time George’ – her painting of her close friend and Liverpudlian George Melly – to the Walker Art Gallery.

George was the most colourful son of Liverpool: jazz performer, surrealist, comic, raconteur, critic and author, often referred to fondly as ‘Good Time George’.

He came from a well-known Liverpool family and grew up in South Liverpool. Born in 1926, he was educated at Stow and could entertain, fascinate and outrage – often all at the same time. Remaining a frequent visitor to Liverpool throughout his life, George actively supported the city’s arts. In 1997 he sat on the jury for the John Moores Painting Prize, which culminates in an exhibition of contemporary painting at the Walker Art Gallery every two years.

Maggi Hambling is one of Britain’s foremost and well known contemporary artists. In 2014 she made her return to the National Gallery, where she was their first Artist in Residence in 1980, with the exhibition Walls of Water. Earlier this year, Touch at the British Museum was an important retrospective of her works on paper and its accompanying book includes drawings of George Melly. Her latest series of paintings and sculpture, Edge, was shown at Marlborough Fine Art earlier this year, and her painting of Michael Jackson will be included in the National Portrait Gallery’s On the Wall exhibition next year.

Hambling’s work is held in many public collections, including Tate, British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. ‘Good Time George’ is the first of the artist’s paintings to be added to the Walker Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

About the painting 

Maggi Hambling. Photograph by Douglas Atfield

Maggi Hambling and George Melly were close friends.

Maggi Hambling said: “George often makes a grand appearance in my dreams. I still hear him laugh, tell jokes and sing. From wherever he may be…”

Maggi painted and drew George from life, and posthumously. He said she would go down in art history as “Maggi (Coffin) Hambling”, referring to her practice of drawing and painting people on their deathbeds and afterwards.

Hambling and Melly met while lying on the path at a garden party and at once became friends. They then worked together in the early 1980s when he chaired the cult Channel 4 arts quiz, ‘Gallery’, in which Hambling was one of the two team captains. In 1998, Hambling was commissioned by the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery to paint Melly’s portrait.

This is an important return to the Walker Art Gallery for the ‘Good Time George’ portrait, which was first displayed at the gallery in 2009 in an exhibition of more than 20 paintings and drawings titled George Always: Portraits of George Melly by Maggi Hambling.

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Maggi for giving the painting to the Walker Art Gallery and to the City: Liverpool feels like its natural home. This gift marks a long relationship between artist, Gallery, George and Liverpool, and her work will be a significant addition to the Walker’s important collection of contemporary painting. I’m sure it will be hugely popular with our visitors.”

You can find out more on our website

Peter Banasko – one of the true greats

30 October 2017 by Sarah

Peter Banasko. Courtesy of the Banasko family

Today we have a guest blog by Peter Banasko. He is writing about his father, also called Peter Banasko – a Liverpool lad who became a world-class boxer and was asked to fight before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale. He later became an incredibly successful coach and manager. However, Peter also grew up during the era of the Colour Bar and this blog highlights the prejudices he faced. It is a fascinating local and community history and we wanted to run it during Black History Month. With thanks to the Banasko family for submitting it to us:

Peter Emmanuel Banasko 1915-1993

“Peter Banasko was born and grew up in Liverpool. He was the only child of a mixed marriage. His father, Isaac Immanuel Banasko came from the Gold Coast, Ghana. His mother Lillian Banasko, nee Doyle, came from Liverpool.

“He was named in the birthday celebration of 800 people who put Liverpool on the map. (Liverpool Echo 28/08/2007)

“He attended St. Malachy’s School and started his amateur boxing in 1929 at the famous St. Malachy’s boxing gym. By the time he was 14 he had participated in over 100 fights. At the age of 13, having over 40 undefeated contests to his credit, he claimed the distinction of being the first Liverpool boxer to bring home to Liverpool a British Title by becoming the schoolboy champion of Great Britain in 1929 and again in 1930.

“He was invited to box before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale.

Peter Banasko coaching. Courtesy of the Banasko family.

“At 17 he turned professional under the management of the Liverpool Stadium Promoter, Johnny Best Senior.

“Some said he was the best of the best but unfortunately for Banasko he fought during the era of the infamous ‘Colour Bar’ that forbade any non-white fighter from contesting for a national title. Again this vicious prejudice was evidenced in his marriage to Margaret McNerney, a Liverpool girl. A 300 signature petition was actioned to try and stop this marriage; it was unsuccessful.

“He was the first black manager/trainer in Liverpool, indeed in the UK. He was a friend of Douglas Collister (United Africa Co.) and also Jack Farnsworth (British West Africa CO). Because of this by the early 1950s Banasko and Liverpool were a household names in Lagos.

“His reputation as an excellent manager spread to the Gold Coast.

“According to the boxing purists at that time the black boxers fought in a distinct ‘unscientific’ style; they failed to master ‘the noble art’. However, their performances in the ring soon shattered these stereotypes. Banasko was a contributing factor in this change of opinion. When opposing boxers where facing the ‘Banasko camp’ it was not the boxer they feared but Banasko because of his knowledge and expertise.

“Banasko gained the rank of sergeant with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. His request for a commission was turned down. He was advised he would stand a better chance of a commission if he joined the Indian Army!

“This prejudice came up again when Hogan Kid Bassey won the British Empire Featherweight title. He told Banasko in the dressing room after the fight that he wanted a change of manager. Bassey had been convinced that he would not get any further in his career under a black manager. Banasko, disgusted with this prejudice and gutted by Bassey’s disloyalty, parted from the sport he loved.

“Ian Hargraves in his article in the Liverpool Echo (November 30th 1993) ‘Salute to boxing’s unsung hero’ on his death in November 1993 summed it up completely by stating:

Peter Banasko… a rare talent – one of the true greats’ “.

Peter Banasko and the boxers he coached to success. Courtesy of Banasko family.

 

If you enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in our Black History Month events throughout October.

 

Sankofa news

24 July 2017 by Laura

Women on a stall

The team were at Africa Oye in June, spreading word about the project

Project Curator, Mitty Ramagavigan updates us on the latest news from the Sankofa project: Read more…

Aidan Chavasse – centenary of the death of Noel Chavasse’s younger brother.

4 July 2017 by Karen O'Rourke

Soldier

Lieutenant Aidan Chavasse

In the coming weeks, there will be much written about Captain Noel Chavasse VC, as the 100th anniversary of his death on 4 August 1917 approaches. Read more…

Vote to help House of Memories’ film win an international award

3 July 2017 by Emma Riley

We’re incredibly excited that our House of Memories – Dementia Awareness for Family Carers film has been shortlisted for the Museums in Short Awards (in partnership with ICOM Italia and the European Museum Academy).

The Museums in Short Awards is an international contest for short videos and aims to share the most effective and innovative works in the field of museum communication and visitor experience.

Our video is up for the Public Special Mention Award and the Museums in Short Award. Read more…

Mapping the past

9 June 2017 by Mitty

Photo from the early 1960s, Alvin with his siblings. Alvin is on the right.

Photo from the early 1960s, Alvin with his siblings. Alvin is on the right.

As part of the Sankofa project we’ve been thinking about the idea of mapping Black heritage in the city. Liverpool 8 is not the only place the Black communities have settled in the city but it has been long considered the most multi-cultural area of Liverpool. I was delighted to see Alvin Christie’s interactive Toxteth map which links old photos and some almost forgotten places. Alvin, who was born and grew up in Selborne Street, tells us why he decided to make this map:

“Growing up in Toxteth, it has always been deeply embedded in my psyche just how cosmopolitan and varied the local community was. With its abundance of characters and diverse ethnic mix, the south end of the city in the 1950s and 60s made for an energetic mixture of lifestyles.

Read more…

Betty and her cookery books

1 June 2017 by Mitty

Betty with part of her cook book collection

Betty with part of her cook book collection

Whilst having a stand at the Granby Street Market, I was lucky enough to meet Betty Vandy and try some of her amazing food. I told her about the Sankofa project and she told me all about her cook book collection. I’ll let Betty tell you more.

“My books are almost as important as the food I cook. I started collecting my now nearing three hundred strong cook book collection well over twenty two years ago.

I remember my first significant purchases, a set of seven vintage cook books published in the 1960s, I paid five pounds and they were and still are in excellent condition. But more importantly the recipes are detailed, accurate and they work!  Read more…

50 is the magic number!

24 May 2017 by Paul Gallagher

Display case

The Beatles display in our Wondrous Place gallery. Image © Mark McNulty

We’re only days away from the first of Liverpool’s celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the release of the seminal album ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band’. Read more…

Remembering the Liverpool Carters

10 May 2017 by Sharon

Child with sculpture

Anthony, the great-grandson of Liverpool carter, Cornelius Hart contemplates the May Day decorations he helped to make.

On Saturday 6th May 2017 we held our annual ‘Remembering the Liverpool Carters’ event at Museum of Liverpool. We were overwhelmed by the number of visitors who turned up to listen to talks and join in with our flower-making activities. 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.

Subscribe

RSS RSS Feed

Disclaimer

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.