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Lusitania: 7 May 1915

2 July 2015 by Sam

ship hit by a huge splash of water almost as high as the funnels

An artist’s conception of the torpedo impact on the Lusitania. © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division/J Kent Layton Collection

This is the 9th and penultimate blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

“On the morning of Friday 7 May 1915 the Lusitania was enshrouded in fog. Captain Turner sounded the ship’s foghorn and decelerated to 18, and sometimes to 15, knots to help prevent a collision with any ship that could have been traveling through those busy waters.

Many passengers were irritated by the foghorn, believing that it could give the ship’s position away to any enemy U-Boats. Read more…

The Lusitania’s last voyage

24 June 2015 by Sarah

Captain Turner spots a film crew on the New York pier as the Lusitania departs for the last time. © J Kent Layton Collection

Captain Turner spots a film crew on the New York pier as the Lusitania departs for the last time. © J Kent Layton Collection

This is the 8th blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Lusitania: ‘If business demanded’ it

19 June 2015 by Sam

Large ship being led into docks by 3 small tugs

The Mauretania being manuevered around the Liverpool docks by tugboats. © J Kent Layton Collection

This is the 7th blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum:

“As the winter months began to wind down in early 1915, bookings were increasing on the North Atlantic again. Fears were beginning to subside, and with the threat of naval dangers at sea seeming more remote to prospective passengers, there was apparently less reason not to travel. As a result, Cunard began to see an increased need for passenger capacity. Indeed, on her 202nd crossing, headed east from New York on 1 May, the Lusitania’s second class spaces were overbooked, and overall it was her longest east-bound passenger list since the war’s outbreak.  Read more…

HMT Lancastria: a survivor’s words

17 June 2015 by Jen

Private Tom Wood

Private Tom Wood. Copyright unknown; please contact us if you are the copyright holder of this image, as efforts to trace and obtain permission from the copyright holder have been unsuccessful.

Last week I blogged about the tragic loss of the HMT Lancastria in the Second World War and the commemorative service held at Our Lady and St Nicholas’ church last Saturday.  Used during the service were extracts from a first hand account of the sinking, as told by a survivor in a letter belonging to the Maritime Archives collections. Read more…

Lusitania and the world crisis

10 June 2015 by Sam Vaux

Two leaders standing side by side

Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II and England’s Winston Churchill together before the outbreak of war. © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division/J Kent Layton Collection

This is the sixth blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum:

“On 28 June 1914 the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Very few people in the world had ever heard of this unfortunate couple, nor could they possibly have imagined what would soon result from the crime.  The problem was that all of Europe had for years been divided into two armed camps. Several times incidents had threatened to become all-out European war, but each time the peril had been averted—sometimes by only a narrow margin. Read more…

Lusitania: a fantastic success

6 June 2015 by Sarah

A color portrait of the Lusitania at the Landing Stage in Liverpool. © J Kent Layton Collection

A colour portrait of the Lusitania at the Landing Stage in Liverpool. © J Kent Layton Collection

This is the fifth blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Victory for the Lusitania

29 May 2015 by Sam

old photo of the Lusitania cruise liner

The Lusitania approaches the Prince’s Landing Stage in Liverpool for the first time. © J Kent Layton Collection

This is the fourth blog post in a series by J Kent Layton, maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

“Saturday 7 September 1907 was an unforgettable day in the annals of maritime history: the Lusitania was to begin her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England that evening. Excitement was running high and bookings for the crossing were strong.

Britishers, alarmed at the way their maritime prestige had been usurped by German liners during the preceding decade, were keen to see their new greyhound take back the Blue Riband. Read more…

150th anniversary of Mimosa’s emigrant voyage

28 May 2015 by Ellie

Group photograph of Welsh settlers

Settlers in Patagonia, 28 July 1890, including some Mimosa emigrants. Image courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Bangor University, John Murray Thomas Collection

In our Emigrants to a New World gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum, we tell the story of the millions of people who left Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries in search of better lives overseas, with Liverpool being the departure point for many.

Large numbers of Welsh emigrants sailed from Liverpool, mostly settling in the United States of America. With the next generation, concerns were raised about that fact that the Welsh language was no longer being spoken and traditions were being forgotten. Read more…

One magnificent weekend with National Museums Liverpool

22 May 2015 by Andrew

Visitors enjoy the view of the Pier Head from the Museum of Liverpool

Enjoy One Magnificent View from the People’s Republic

Celebrate the arrival of the Three Cunard Queens this bank holiday at our waterfront venues, Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Museum of LiverpoolRead more…

Lusitania: cost overruns and teething troubles

20 May 2015 by Sarah

The Lusitania stands on the ways nearly ready for launch. J. Kent Layton Collection

The Lusitania stands on the ways nearly ready for launch. J. Kent Layton Collection

This blog post is the third in a series written by maritime historian and author J Kent Layton, the author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’, to accompany the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy:

“Over the years, I have tried to ‘fill in the blanks’ in the Lusitania’s history. One of the most fascinating things about the construction of the Lusitania and Mauretania is that not everything went according to plan. 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.