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National Merchant Navy Day

29 August 2012 by Rebecca

Red Ensign flag flying from a boat

The Red Ensign or “Red Duster” is the offical flag of the British merchant marine (or fleet)

Sunday 2nd September marks National Merchant Navy Day which commemorates the 40,000 seafarers who died whilst in Britain’s Merchant Navy during the Second World War.
Those seafarers ranged in age from 14 years old to 78 years old, and also included  8,500 Asian seaman and seafarers from across the World who served in the British Merchant Navy.

The 3rd September marks the day when war was officially declared between Britain and Germany, and the nearest Sunday to this date is usually chosen to commemorate National Merchant Navy Day.  This year the 2nd is the closet Sunday, and there will be a midday service at Our Lady & St Nicholas’ seafarers Church in Chapel Street, Liverpool.
After the church service there will be a parade from the Pier head, please see the link for details. Read more…

Henry Wilde: a local hero

8 August 2012 by Rebecca

curator with Titanic letter being photographed by press

Curator Rebecca Watkin shows one of Henry Wilde’s letters to press photographers

There was a hive of activity last week in the Titanic & Liverpool: the untold story exhibition as we were busy installing a new display of personal items relating to Henry Wilde.

Henry Wilde was a senior officer on Titanic and the museum was honoured when the opportunity to display these never seen before items came to light.
Henry Wilde lived in Walton, Liverpool and worked for White Star for most of his career Read more…

Rowing Success at the Olympics

2 August 2012 by Rebecca

Liverpool Rowing club

Sir Steve Redgrave unveils Olympic Gold at Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club in 1985. Reproduced with kind permission of Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club

Ben Whittaker, Curator of Port History reports:

Yesterday Team GB got their first rowing medals.  Congratulations to Heather Glover and Helen Stanning, who won gold in the women’s pair.  And with the rowing eight “Olympic Gold” on display in the Racing For Gold Olympic themed display, we were keeping a special eye on the men’s eight race. And Great Britain’s men did fantastically well in securing a bronze medal.  The rowing eights take about five minutes to travel the two thousand metres of an Olympic race, and the eight rowers have to be guided by a cox who steers the boat.  You can see film footage of rowing eights being rowed locally by Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club members in the Racing for Gold exhibition, and also online in the Olympic section of our website. Read more…

A (boat) trip down memory lane

25 July 2012 by Rebecca

A visitor stood next to a red and white speedboat

Barbara Cotton with W13 speedboat Melody. Copyright National Museums Liverpool.

Ben Whittaker, Curator of Port History reports:

A recent visit to the Maritime Museum for Barbara Cotton took her on a boat trip down memory lane. Barbara was delighted to see the Melody speedboat that is displayed in the museum foyer.  Melody was raced locally off New Brighton with Wallasey Power Boat and Ski Club, and Barbara’s father was also a member and owned a very similar boat.  The museum was delighted to receive a copy of some home movies Barbara has of her father and other Club members racing boats off New Brighton from the late 1950′s to early 1970′s.  The films are fascinating slice of local history, especially of the New Brighton area.  And eagle eyed staff spotted a brief cameo of the Melody speedboat!  
 
Read more…

Behind the scenes at the Maritime Museum

2 July 2012 by Rebecca

Curator with gloves photographed with museum model of the ship the Great Eastern

Ben Whittaker with silver model of the SS Great Eastern ship

From Curator of Port History Ben Whittaker:

While working in our museum stores I came across this beautiful silver model of the SS Great Eastern which was presented to Sir James W Paton on behalf of his employees at Paton, Calvert & Co Ltd. It was given to celebrate the company’s Golden Jubilee in 1937.  Sir James had a personal connection to the Great Eastern – his father Captain Walter Paton captained the ship, and Sir James was born on the ship in the mid-Atlantic on the 15th January, 1863. Read more…

Edmund Gardner gets the thumbs up

26 June 2012 by Rebecca

Ben Whittaker, Curator of Port History reports:

Pilot boat in the water, with crew in smaller boat approaching it

A punt with pilots approaching the Edmund Gardner c1960s. Collection no MDHB/EG/7/11/14

We had some great feedback recently from a family who went on one of the Edmund Gardner pilot ships tours:

“We all enjoyed the tour very much, please pass on my thanks to the guys who took us round, they made the whole experience great fun and very interesting. We spent the weekend at the dock and visited many of the attractions but we all agree that the Edmund Gardner was very much the highlight of the weekend.” Read more…

Titanic survivor’s daughter visits maritime museum

31 May 2012 by Rebecca

two curators pictured with Titanic survivor Thomas Jones' daughter

Dawn Littler, Ellen Jones and Ian Murphy pictured in the maritime archives

We had a special visitor at the Maritime Museum yesterday. 91 year old Ellen Jones is the daughter of Titanic crewman Thomas Jones. She came in to the Merseyside Maritime Museum to see our exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story and look at a postcard in the Maritime Archives collection sent by her father to her mother Clara.

Able seaman Thomas Jones was born in Anglesey and was living in Liverpool when he signed on for Titanic’s maiden voyage. He was put in charge of lifeboat number 8 which had been ordered away carrying only 27 people, as other passengers had chosen to remain on Titanic believing it would not sink. Jones and a few others in the boat wanted to return to pick up other survivors, but they were overruled by the rest of the people in boat number 8. Read more…

Fit for a Queen

16 May 2012 by Rebecca

Celebratory painting for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubliee

Campania at the Spithead Review, 1897 by P. Greenwood. Copyright National Museums Liverpool

We’re all very excited about the forthcoming visit by Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. To mark this momentous occasion, one of the museum’s fantastic paintings will be displayed as a centrepiece for the visit, alongside some objects from the Ismay silver collection which is currently on display in the Titanic and Liverpool exhibition.

Campania at the Spithead Review, 1897’ by Parker Greenwood depicts one of the greatest naval occasions, ‘The Review of the Fleet’ for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on 26 May 1897. Famous merchant vessels attended and accommodated guests celebrating this exciting occasion. Read more…

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

This is probably my last Maritime Tales blog as I voluntarily leave the museum service in July 2012 to become a freelance.

 

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…