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Posts tagged with 'maritime history'

Portrait of a sailor

11 February 2016 by Ellie

Portrait of Stoker 1st Class Joseph Norman Thomas

MMM.2014.39

In 2014 we acquired this rather striking portrait of Royal Navy Stoker 1st Class Joseph Norman Thomas, who was born in Liverpool in 1892. At Merseyside Maritime Museum, we focus on the history of the Merchant Navy, with some exceptions, but we were drawn to this painting as we have very few portraits of seafarers in the collection. Joseph also had very strong local connections, being born and brought up in Liverpool. Read more…

Creative writing on the waterfront

28 January 2016 by Emma Walmsley

man teaching a group of children

Creative writing workshop with John from The Windows Project

With the opening of our latest exhibition, On the Waterfront, the Education team thought it would be a fantastic idea to use the imaginations of local school children to produce some pieces of creative writing inspired by the fabulous history of our city, river and docks!  Read more…

Maritime memories

17 December 2015 by Lucy

Image of a ship in a bottle

Rebecca’s chosen item from the app – a ship in a bottle.

Have you heard about our #AMemoryShared campaign? Through our House of Memories dementia awareness programme, we are using the campaign to raise awareness of sharing memories with our friends, families and those we care for, so that they are never forgotten.

A person living with dementia may have trouble being in the here and now, but often they have memories tucked away at the back of their minds that, when unlocked, can lead to incredibly emotive connections and conversations.  Read more…

Liverpool Pilots exhibition – can you help?

11 December 2015 by Sam Vaux

Bob Davis, aged 93, wears his cap and jacket from his time as 2nd Engineer on the pilot ships, recently donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Bob Davis, aged 93, wears his cap and jacket from his time as 2nd Engineer on the pilot ships, recently donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum.

We are very excited to announce our forthcoming exhibition about the Liverpool Pilots Service, which will open on 22 July 2016 at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The Liverpool Pilots guide shipping in and out of Liverpool waters, and celebrate their 250th anniversary in 2016.

The exhibition will look back at their long history, exploring why marine pilots are needed and what the particular challenges are for shipping entering Liverpool Bay and the River Mersey. There are many examples where the skill and bravery of pilots has saved lives and cargo, and the exhibition will bring to life many of these dramatic stories. You will also be able to learn about the vital role the pilots continue to play in the thriving modern port of Liverpool. Read more…

On the Waterfront

25 November 2015 by Sarah Starkey

Black and white image of ships and warehouses, Georges Dock, Liverpool, 1874

Glass lantern slide of George’s Dock and Goree Warehouses – Liverpool c1874 – courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum

For the last few months I’ve been working on an exhibition that is based around Liverpool Waterfront. Its aim is to explain the buildings that line the Mersey from Kings Dock to Princes Dock. Considering that includes Albert Dock, the Three Graces and the Landing Stage, that is quite a wide brief, Read more…

The City of Benares legacy 75 years on

20 October 2015 by Jen

John Baker holding a page from a newspaper

City of Benares survivor John Baker holding a copy of his local paper in which he was interviewed. Picture taken on his recent visit to the maritime Museum.

One of the great things about working on projects around events within living memory is that often they prompt people to come forward and talk about their own experiences or family story. At a 75 year remove, with most of the children not from the local area, I wasn’t sure how much impact our City of Benares feature would have in this respect but I was pleasantly surprised. Some people got in touch to say they’d known or knew people who had been on board, a representative of the Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade (SVLB) made contact to say they were marking the 75th anniversary with a service and small display, and one of the child survivors even turned up at the Maritime Museum for a chat.  Read more…

‘Back from the dead!’ The amazing survival story of Lifeboat 12

25 September 2015 by Jen

HMS ANTHONY rescuing survivors from lifeboat 12 © IWM (CH 1354)

HMS Anthony rescuing survivors from lifeboat 12 © IWM (CH 1354)

The sinking of the City of Benares is a story with few bright spots.  Horrific loss of life, particularly amongst children, makes for grim research. There are stories from the tragedy that show the full strength of human endurance, two teenage girls clinging on to an upturned lifeboat for 18 hours through the night in freezing waters and managing to survive, a 7 year old boy who survived the night on a raft amongst sleet and hail and choppy seas. One story of endurance however was only realised 8 days after the sinking, when a further 45 survivors were discovered.  Newspaper headlines described them as, ‘back from the dead’.  Read more…

75 years since sinking of ‘Children’s Ship’ City of Benares

14 September 2015 by Jen

Mural showing Michael Rennie, children's escort in the lifeboat with child from the City of Benares. Copyright The Parish Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Mural showing Michael Rennie, children’s escort, in the lifeboat with children from the City of Benares. Copyright The Parish Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the loss of the City of Benares, torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in the North Atlantic during the Second World War.  What makes her loss stand out amongst the many lost merchant ships however is the 90 children she was carrying.  They were travelling under the government’s CORB (Children’s Overseas Reception Board) scheme to evacuate children away from a Britain facing the Blitz, and the ever growing possibility of invasion, to the safer shores of the Dominions, particularly Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  Read more…

A wee tale from the ‘poop’ deck

21 July 2015 by Jen

Cropped for blog resized

Box of Bromo toilet paper. Accession number 1986.210.194

Part of my job as an Assistant Curator that I’ve absolutely loved is working in the museum stores with our fantastic collections. Sometimes though, due to the vast size of these collections, we come across some rather unexpected items. Such as toilet paper…

This item dates from the late 19th or early 20th century and was a popular brand in its day. The paper inside the box is in individual sheets, rather than the rolls we’re now familiar with, and its texture is not dissimilar to that of a paperback novel… despite it’s claims to being ‘soft and strong’ I suspect most of us would be reluctant to give it a home in our bathrooms today!

So why does the Maritime Museum have this absorbing item? Had collecting standards gone down the pan? Should we be flushed with embarrassment at this seemingly non-maritime object sneaking into our collections?  Read more…

Lusitania 100 years later: never forget

9 July 2015 by Sam Vaux

Propaganda poster of the Lusitania sinking liner.

Following the war, the Lusitania was used as a propaganda tool. This dramatic image shows the sinking liner, while encouraging Irishmen to join an Irish regiment and ‘avenge the Lusitania’. © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division/J Kent Layton Collection

This is the tenth and final 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:

“The Titanic remains the most famous ocean liner disaster in history. Yet the sinking of the Lusitania is a subject that still fascinates us today. While both she and the Titanic suffered untimely demise, their lives and deaths could hardly have been more dissimilar. 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.