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150th anniversary of the training ship Indefatigable

19 September 2014 by Sam

painting of a ship with 3 masts

Maritime Archives and Library reference DX 2363

150 years ago on 19 September 1864 John Clint, a Liverpool seaman and ship-owner, and Mayor Charles Mozley called a public meeting at Liverpool Town Hall, ‘for the establishment in the River Mersey of a training ship for the children and orphans of seafaring persons and other poor and destitute boys’. By mid November the Admiralty had agreed to their request to provide a suitable ship. They granted the loan of the 50 gun frigate ‘Indefatigable’. On 9 February 1864 the ship left Plymouth for the Mersey to be fitted out at Coburg dock.

The Maritime Archives and Library hold many of the archives of the training ship Indefatigable including minute books, cadet register books, visitor report books and photographs, which give insights into the lives of the cadets there. Read more…

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…

Red Ensign flying for Merchant Navy Day

3 September 2014 by Jen

Red Ensign flag flying above the Pilotage building.

The Red Ensign flying above the Pilotage building.

Anyone visiting us down at the Liverpool waterfront this week might have noticed a distinctive red flag flying above the old Liverpool Pilotage building next door to the Museum of Liverpool. Bright red, with the Union flag in the top left corner, it’s known as a Red Ensign. Yesterday myself and a couple of colleagues had the slightly hair-raising task (it looks a lot higher up once you get up there!) of climbing up to the roof and raising the flag in time to mark Merchant Navy Day on  3 September. Read more…

New display on Brunel’s SS Great Eastern

18 June 2014 by Jen

Photograph of the SS Great Eastern with large Lewis' Department Store advert on the side.

This image is copyright unknown/ expired. Please contact us if you are the copyright holder of this image.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Eastern was, in her day, the largest ship ever built. A truly ambitious project from one of the most famous names in engineering history, the Great Eastern was built to provide a ship that could travel all the way to Australia or the Far East without the need to stop and take on more coal. Despite this she was only used on the transatlantic routes, travelling to Canada and North America as a passenger liner, often departing from Liverpool and playing a part in the emigrant trade.

Read more…

HMS Thetis memorial to be unveiled

27 May 2014 by Sam

black band or ribbon with faded gold lettering 'HMS Thetis'

HMS Thetis cap band donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum in 2011. The donor’s uncle was involved in the salvage of the submarine. Accession number MMM.2011.13

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has news of a new memorial to the submarine HMS Thetis:

“On Sunday 1 June 2014 at 1pm a memorial will be unveiled at the River Walkway, Birkenhead. It will mark 75 years since the worst peacetime submarine accident in the history of the Royal Navy. On 1 June 1939 HMS Thetis sank in Liverpool Bay and 99 men perished. Read more…

Remembering the Empress of Ireland

15 May 2014 by Sam

museum display

New material has been added to the Empress of Ireland display to mark the centenary of the sinking.

Lots of people have heard about the sinking of the Titanic and Lusitania. However did you know that more passengers were lost in another major shipping disaster around that time, which had a big impact on Liverpool?

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has more information about the ‘forgotten Empress':

“Today is 15 May, and 100 years to the day that the Canadian Pacific Liner Empress of Ireland last set sail from Liverpool bound for Canada. 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…

Guardians of the dawn: the Liverpool Pilots

27 March 2014 by Sam

man on the deck of a ship on the river Mersey, with the Liverpool waterfront in the background

John Curry

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has news of a special free talk next week:

“Who ensures the safe passage of shipping into and out of the Port of Liverpool? The Liverpool Pilots!

The sea approaches to Liverpool have always been difficult waters to navigate,  so the Liverpool Pilot Service was established in 1766 to safely guide ships into the port. For almost 30 years our own ship the Edmund Gardner – the largest object in our collections – provided a base for the service in the Irish Sea. Read more…

MV Derbyshire Trust Fund launched this week

13 February 2014 by Ellie

Pamphlet about the charity

For a while now I have been privileged to work with members of the Derbyshire Family Association (DFA). In September 2012 we opened a permanent display on the First Floor of Merseyside Maritime Museum, dedicated to the story of the bulk carrier MV Derbyshire, lost in the South China Sea with all hands on 9 September 1980. 42 crewmen and 2 wives perished, including 17 from Liverpool. The oil/bulk/ore carrier MV Derbyshire was the biggest British merchant ship ever lost. 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.

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