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Posts tagged with 'maritime archives and library'

Cunard and Queen Mary: then and now

17 May 2013 by Rebecca

Collection of china on display in museum

Cunard china on display in Life at Sea gallery.

Everyone at the Merseyside Maritime Museum welcomes the arrival of a very impressive and grand visitor to Liverpool. Cunard’s Queen Mary II docked at the pier head landing stage in the early hours of this morning. It’s the first time in forty five years that passengers can sail on a Cunard liner from the Pier head waterfront.

Pulling up at the lights during my commute into the office, the QM2 dwarves the neighbouring buildings and certainly has the wow factor with her classic red funnel. Read more…

Does anyone write letters these days?

8 May 2013 by Sarah

Handwritten letter

Letter from Major Caleb Huse to Charles K Prioleau, November 1862 (Maritime Archives and Library reference B/TF/BOX1/27).

Palaeography, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is the science or art of deciphering and interpreting historical manuscripts.  It normally refers to ancient manuscripts in long dead languages, but I will make a case for applying it on the many handwritten letters within our collections.  The technique is more or less the same.  You need to know a bit about the context (in this case the American Civil War) and a bit about word and letter forms (for example, initial lower case ‘p’s that go both above and below the line) and the right balance between thinking what is likely to be being said and putting your own words in the mouth of the author.  Then the squiggles turn into prose before your eyes.  Read more…

Here be dragons!

18 April 2013 by Sarah

Drawing of a dragon on the back of a playing card.

Blue Funnel playing card, 1960s (Maritime Archives Reference OA/25/4/2/8)

The recent posting about the St George’s festival in Liverpool this weekend made me think about dragons.  These spectacular dragons are on the back of a pack of playing cards made for the Blue Funnel Line (Ocean Steam Ship Company) in the early 1960s.  Shipping companies, especially those that carried passengers, put a lot of effort into corporate branding, producing items such as ashtrays, crockery, menus and calendars. 

The Ocean Steam Ship Company, commonly known as Blue Funnel for reasons I’ll leave you to work out on your own, were a large Liverpool shipping firm who sailed predominately, but not exclusively, to the Far East and China.  The Maritime Archives & Library holds a large collection of records from the company, including examples of their marketing material.  These playing cards would have been a useful distraction during long hours at sea. Read more…

Easter 1945 – a time of austerity

28 March 2013 by Sam

old photo pf a shop window display

Anne Gleave, Curator of Photographic Archives, has found this photo in the Stewart Bale collection which shows a very different Easter display to the ones in shops today:

“There are 195,445 photographs in the Stewart Bale collection and this is one of them; a window display for Easter 1945 in the former department store Owen Owen on Clayton Square, Liverpool, which was commissioned by Owen Owen Ltd, April 1945.

I’m guessing that the passer-by’s attention was supposed to be grabbed by the words ‘Easter Harvest’ in large rustic letters in each of the three windows, hopefully to draw them closer to investigate and read the explanatory text panels about this strange phenomenon (how could harvest be at  Easter! But wait a minute…) Read more…

Letters from Mother

8 March 2013 by Sarah

Photograph of young man in maritime navy uniform

Willie Dailey, apprentice, c1886 (Maritime Archives reference DX/1924).

This handsome young man is Willie Dailey of Stafford who decided he wanted a life at sea and persuaded his parents to apprentice him on a voyage of the ship Benares, from Dundee to Chile and San Francisco, USA.  It was 1886 and he was 16 years old.

The Maritime Archives and Library hold some letters by Willie and his family and the ones from his mother would be achingly familiar even today.  His worried mother, Jane, tells Willie to mind his manners, wash his clothes and eat well.  She hopes his Captain is kind, his crewmates friendly and that he is warm enough, dry enough and not sea sick.  She tells him off when he fails to write.  Read more…

Romance in 1934

14 February 2013 by Sam

old photo of smartly dressed couples dancing in a large hall

Dance Party at Reece’s, Parker Street, Liverpool, February 1934 (detail). Commissioned by S Reece & Sons Ltd, Liverpool

Anne Gleave, our curator of photographic archives, has chosen this photograph from the fantastic Stewart Bale collection to highlight Valentine’s Day:


“The commercial photographic firm of Stewart Bale Ltd were commissioned to take this photograph by Reece & Sons Ltd, from their principal offices in Hawke Street, off Brownlow Hill, Liverpool. Stewart Bale was an important firm of Liverpool based photographers who could command significant commissions, which says something about the status of Reece’s. Read more…

Happy Birthday Formica!

18 January 2013 by Sarah

Drawing of proposed cocktail bar on ship Caronia

Drawing and material sample sheet for a bar on ship Caronia, Cunard Line, c1947 (reference DX/1394)

Anniversaries are very helpful when writing for a blog and what better one to celebrate than 100 years since the invention of Formica, everyone’s favourite kitchen worktop surface, and still going strong today.  Our photograph doesn’t really do this item justice but, trust me, it is lovely. Especially if you have an interest in interior design and the wonders of plastic – and who doesn’t?  I’ve not been able to find a photograph of the bar in the Caronia so I don’t know if this suggestion by White Allom Ltd was accepted.  Read more…

Remembering SS Ceramic – lost 70-years-ago today

6 December 2012 by Dickie

photo of a ship

Liverpool liner SS Ceramic sunk on 6 December 1942.

At first families back home in Liverpool were oblivious to the horror that had befallen their loved ones.

On November 23 1942 my grandmother watched from Crosby beach as Liverpool liner SS Ceramic left the River Mersey. Her husband Fred was aboard working as a steward. Clutching her three-month-old baby, Annie Felton waved the ship off, unaware that this would be the very final farewell.
 
The 18,400 ton Ceramic was launched in 1912 by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. She was the first ship built by White Star Line after Titanic and spent her years sailing the Liverpool to Australia route. Read more…

Flying Elephant

7 November 2012 by Sarah

Photograph of an elephant being moved from one ship to another

Transferring an elephant on the Irrawaddy River, Burma (MAL reference D/IR/Box3)

Now I could use this image to draw some metaphor with the American Republican party as their symbol is an elephant, but I’ve heard quite enough about that election, so I’ll just tell you a little bit about the photograph.

This lovely image is from an album held by the Maritime Archives & Library of photographs taken and collected by Captain H J Chubb who worked for the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in Burma.  The company ran a fleet of vessels along the difficult waters of the Irrawaddy River until 1950 when its assets were transferred to the newly independent Burmese Government. Read more…

Liverpool Merchant’s Heritage Trail

30 August 2012 by Ann

Liverpool is a city steeped in  maritime history. But while you might expect to find tales of smuggler’s coves and bravery at sea in Merseyside Maritime Museum,  the city  itself can surprise you with  many stories of its seafaring and merchant links.

photograph of the rear exterior of sudley house showing the conservatory and rose garden

Sudley  House, former home of George Holt

I was  recently introduced to Helen Fowler from The Monro pub on Duke Street  and after a quick coffee and  a chat I discovered not only were The Monro hosting an installation for Liverpool Biennial , but it is also a building bursting with historic tales to tell . I found out about the steam ship which it is named after and its former owner Colonel John Bolton . He was the most wealthy Liverpool merchant of his generation  and  no doubt inspired George Holt who lived just across town at Sudley House in Mossley Hill.  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.