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Lusitania’s maiden voyage

10 September 2014 by Ellie

Cunard liner Lusitania in New York harbour

MCR/25/118 Lusitania’s first arrival in New York. Image probably out of copyright, copyright unknown. Please contact us if you have information.

In the lead up to Merseyside Maritime Museum marking the centenary of the sinking of Lusitania on 7 May 2015 with our upcoming exhibition ‘Lusitania: life loss, legacy’, it is worth flagging up some other significant dates in the history of this world famous passenger liner. Read more…

Sam’s tribute to the Lusitania

3 June 2014 by Sam

young boy holding up a drawing

Sam Colley with his picture ‘The sinking of the Lusitania’

The tragic sinking of the Lusitania during the First World War had a devastating effect on the tight-knit dockland communities in north Liverpool, where most of the liner’s crew lived. 404 crew members died, including many Liverpool Irish seamen.

Every year on 7 May Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary of the sinking with a memorial service on the quayside by the Lusitania’s propeller. Unknown to us, this year a 6 year old boy many miles away in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire was also inspired to make his own tribute to the ship. His mother Joanne Colley got in touch with us when she realised the coincidence. Read more…

Lusitania memorial service remembers Manx rescuers

6 May 2014 by Sam

archive photo of a group of men

Crew of the Wanderer. Photo courtesy of the Leece Museum in Peel.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 7 May, Merseyside Maritime Museum is holding a memorial service to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania. As part of this year’s service Roy Baker, Curator of Leece Museum, will talk about how a ship from the Isle of Man played a key role in the rescue efforts. Guest blogger Valerie Caine has more details:

“The sinking of the luxurious liner Lusitania in just eighteen minutes off the Old Head of Kinsale in Ireland in 1915 by a German submarine resulted in the loss of 1,198 lives. One of the first rescue vessels on the scene was a small Manx fishing boat PL11 Wanderer, from Peel on the west coast of the Isle of Man. Read more…

Lusitania families’ event

8 November 2013 by Ellie

RMS Lusitania at the Liverpool Landing Stage in 1907

MCR/25/117 Image courtesy of NML, image not copyright NML.

At this time of year we pause to remember the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

With that in mind, Merseyside Maritime Museum is continuing to work towards marking the centenary of the sinking of Liverpool’s most famous ship, ‘RMS Lusitania’, in 2015.

On the 7 May 1915, while en route to Liverpool, ‘Lusitania’ was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-20 off the Irish coast near the Old Head of Kinsale. She sank in just 18 minutes, and 1198 men, women and children perished. The sinking sent shockwaves around the world, but her loss was felt particularly keenly in Liverpool – where rioting broke out against German-owned businesses.  A large number of the crew had strong connections to the city and many families were devastated by the event. “Lusi”, as she was affectionately known in the city, was held high regard by local people and had been a familiar site at the Landing Stage since her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York in September 1907.

Each year Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary with a commemoration around our ‘Lusitania’ propeller, on the quayside across from the museum. Many of those who join us have family connections to those who were on board, and this year we met with people after the event to listen to their stories.

Lusitania propeller on the museum quayside

MMM.1989.159

On Friday 15th November we are hosting a follow-up event, and are hoping to see some familiar faces but also make new connections with local people who have family ties to ‘Lusitania’. If you, or someone you know, would like to come along then head for Learning Base 2, on the second floor of the museum, from 2pm.

If you would like more information then please email us at Lusitania@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk.

Remembering Lusitania

10 May 2012 by Sam

detail of flowers

Many flowers were left at the Lusitania’s propeller at the service to mark the 97th anniversary of the sinking

On Bank Holiday Monday, Merseyside Maritime Museum held its annual commemoration for the sinking of Cunard liner ‘RMS Lusitania’. Ellie Moffat, Curator of Maritime Collections, explains why this is an important event for the museum:


“On 7th May 1915 ‘Lusitania’ was nearing the Old Head of Kinsale, off the southern coast of Ireland, when she was torpedoed by German u-boat U-20. She sank in only 18 minutes and 1201 lives were lost. It was one of the most horrific incidents at sea during the First World War.

‘Lusitania’ had strong ties to Liverpool. She was registered in Liverpool, her home port, and was owned by Cunard, still based in the city at that time. The ship, referred to affectionately as “Lusie” by local people, was a familiar sight at the landing stage. In 1907 she sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage, bound for New York. Over 200,000 people came down to the Mersey to watch her depart. For the next eight years she provided a regular service across the Atlantic, breaking speed records along the way. Read more…

Maritime Tale – Lusitania Survivor

4 May 2012 by stepheng

Painting of Lusitania

A contemporary postcard of Lusitania

The Lusitania story is one of my favourites because not only does the disaster seem unbelievable to this day but because this was Liverpool’s favourite liner.

At my local church – St James’s in West Derby – you can see a unique glass memorial with an image of Lusitania prominently included to symbolise Liverpool’s suffering in the Great War. Read more…

Bill Please

22 March 2011 by stepheng

Two paper bills

Image courtesy Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

I once forgot to pay my bill when covering a big news story in Derbyshire – quite unintentional, of course.

 

It was at Glossop and the pub landlady came running out calling to me and waving the chit. I put it on my expenses later. In this story all those involved were happy to stay alive, never mind any unpaid bills.

 

The wealthy American businessman was savouring his time on the luxury liner, relaxing and sampling the varied menus Read more…

Lusitania losses

29 November 2010 by stepheng

napkin with image of a ship and text

Image courtesy of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

I find the words on the napkin, produced to commemorate one of the worst maritime disasters of the First World War, very moving.

To many people at the time the loss of the Lusitania came to symbolise Liverpool’s suffering, as she was the city’s favourite passenger liner.

The spectacular coloured glass war memorial at one of my local churches, St James’s in West Derby, uniquely uses an image of the doomed ship to silently express that grief. Read more…

Justicia justice

31 August 2010 by stepheng

At=rchivbe photo of the Lusitania at the Liverpool landing stage

I came across this story while reading about the conflict at sea during the First World War and was filled with gloom.

This liner seemed to have been earmarked for destruction from the start and was sunk even when under the protection of warships. Her brief life had been blighted by the misfortunes of other great ships.

The 32,234-ton Justicia was built for the Dutch Holland America Line at Belfast’s famous Harland & Wolff shipyard and launched just weeks before war broke out. Read more…

Luxury Lusitania

8 March 2010 by stepheng

archive postcard with illustration of a liner at sea

A contemporary promotional Lusitania postcard, circa 1910

It is quite frequent now to see large crowds at Liverpool’s Pier Head when liners and cruise ships come in but at one time it was a very common sight indeed.

I can remember many people shouting and cheering when the Empress liners departed on scheduled Atlantic crossings. It was a memorable spectacle – just like this occasion more than 50 years earlier.

The Lusitania, from her maiden voyage to New York to her sinking by a German U-boat submarine eight years later, was Liverpool’s favourite liner among the many using the port. Read more…

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