merseyside maritime museum – Blog, Liverpool Museums

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Mauretania – the glory of the Mersey

27 July 2018 by Ellie

Saturday 28 July 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the launch of  Mauretania, the second Cunard liner to bear the name – the first having enjoyed a long and successful career. She was built at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead, and was the largest transatlantic liner built on the Mersey.

Church service for Mauretania

Image courtesy Cunard

On Monday Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth was here in Liverpool, and I was fortunate enough to attend a service at St Nick’s to celebrate this anniversary, organised by Liverpool Parish Church in partnership with Cunard and Cammell Laird. Read more…

Museums accessibility success

24 July 2018 by Tracey McGeagh

Visitors at the Museum of Liverpool.

We were delighted to find three of our museums listed in a piece about accessibility in the Liverpool Echo recently. Respected website Euan’s Guide includes World Museum, the Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum in the top ten accessible attractions in Liverpool. Read more…

Commemorating an MP’s furious outburst on behalf of seafarers

20 July 2018 by Jen

Bronze medallion showing profile of bearded man and the words 'House of Commons 22 July 1875 London S. Plimsoll'

Medallion struck to commemorate MP Samuel Plimsoll’s outburst in the House of Commons in defense of Seafarers. Designed by Auguste Chevalier. – 52.111.1

Medals are struck for all sorts of reasons, to celebrate bravery, commemorate important events, honour people’s contributions, but my personal favourite reason for a medal being struck has to be the reason behind this one in our collections. The man whose profile you see here is the Liberal MP and great campaigner for seafarers, Samuel Plimsoll. The medal was struck to commemorate the day, after years of campaigning and frustration, that he completely lost his composure and his temper, broke parliamentary protocol, shouted, heckled the Prime Minister, and shook his fist at various members of the House of Commons, terming them villains! Read more…

Carpathia’s role remembered

19 July 2018 by Sam

metal nameplate with embossed lettering: SS Titanic

This week it is 100 years since RMS Carpathia was lost. The ship is of course best known for the role it played in the rescue of survivors from one of a much more famous liner – RMS Titanic.  In this guest blog, student Hannah Smith from the University of Liverpool explores the story through the nameplate of Titanic’s lifeboat No. 4:

“It is 100 years since RMS Carpathia was struck by three torpedoes from a German U-55, amid the Celtic Sea on 17 July 1918. Just six years earlier, on 15 April 1912 under the captaincy of Arthur Henry Rostron, the Cunard liner undoubtedly experienced its most memorable voyage. When Carpathia’s radio received the Titanic’s distress signal at 12.25 am she turned off her course to travel the 58 mile distance to the wreckage. From 4-8am all 705 survivors were brought aboard the Carpathia. Although sadly 1,503 people were to lose their lives in the sinking, without the Carpathia’s sense of urgency, the cold would have ultimately claimed more.  Read more…

Guess what? All is not what it seems in our new display!

17 July 2018 by Alayna

Metal 'Guess' belt buckles

Counterfeit ‘Guess’ belt buckles.

Some of the most well known fashion brands are on display in the Seized! gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum. At first glance, the fashion items may appear like the genuine article but they are in fact all fakes. Our new display, which opens on Wednesday 18 July, features counterfeit versions of brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Philipp Plein, Hermes and many more.

No sooner has a new fashion product hit the market, and the counterfeiters are fast to follow with a cheaper and more inferior copy. Border Force monitors the UK ports, airports and postal hubs for fake items. These new exhibits were seized at Heathrow airport as part of a large consignment from Turkey.

Although it’s tempting to fall for the cheaper counterfeit version, corners are cut in the production, resulting in poor quality and often dangerous products. Read more…

Happy 65th birthday Edmund Gardner!

11 July 2018 by Michelle

museum staff holding up a flag with 65 on it

This specially made pilot’s flag is now flying on the Edmund Gardner.

On Monday we celebrated the 65th birthday of the pilot vessel Edmund Gardner. To mark this fact we are holding a special open day on Saturday 28 July 2018. The ship will be open between 10.30am to 4.30pm for visitors to pop in and have a look around. Some of our award winning volunteer guides will be on hand to provide a unique visitor experience as you walk through the ship.

Step back in time and imagine what it was like to sit in the saloon trying to eat your tea in rough weather, or pretend to be a pilot waiting in the sun lounge for the next vessel to board. Seize the opportunity to view the world from the bridge deck and see up close the largest object in National Museums Liverpool’s collections.  Read more…

Through My Eyes

26 June 2018 by Sarah Han

Photograph by Charleigh

As one of the education managers at Seized! The National Border Force Museum I have the privilege of working with lots of different people of all ages in a number of different ways, including staff, visitors, school groups and families. It can be hectic at times but certainly the variety keeps me interested and the energy and enthusiasm of the groups I work with spurs me on to share that interest and enthusiasm with our visitors. Read more…

British child refugees

20 June 2018 by Jen

Refugee Week, founded in 1998 “as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers”, is marking its 20th anniversary this week, and one of the 20 Simple Acts they have asked people to consider doing this year is spread the word.

Sadly the hostility that inspired this campaign in 1998 is still present and their work is as important as ever. I believe that it is harder to be hostile towards someone once we begin to empathise with them, and as human beings we often empathise most easily with people when we realise they are like ourselves. In keeping with that idea I want to talk about Britain’s own child refugees. Read more…

Edmund Gardner tours 2018

29 May 2018 by Ben

Edmund Gardner ship

The Edmund Gardner pilot ship in her original pilot boat livery.

Spring is in the air and summer will soon follow, which means it is time to announce details of this year’s tours of the Edmund Gardner pilot ship!

It will be the eighth year of guided tours, led by our dedicated band of award winning volunteers. Since 2011 more than four and a half thousand visitors have toured the ship, the biggest object in National Museums Liverpool’s collections.

Three of our award winning Edmund Gardner volunteer tour guides.

The Edmund Gardner is one of the gems of Liverpool’s rich maritime history. For 30 years the ship operated as a base at sea for Liverpool pilots, who guide shipping in and out of Liverpool’s ports and the River Mersey. Now sat in a dry dock next to the Museum of Liverpool, visitors can access many parts of the ship such as the wheelhouse and engine room. Our guides bring the ship to life with many fascinating stories and anecdotes. The tours are family friendly, with a free special trail available to take round the ship during your visit.

Edmund Gardner with tour volunteers

Volunteers lead a tour for visitors of the Edmund Gardner.

The tours are available to book every Tuesday and Wednesday from June until September, at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm. Each tour lasts one hour and is suitable for adults and families. Meet in the Museum of Liverpool entrance foyer. Please see the Museum of Liverpool event listings for full details.

Tours are free but booking is recommended, general visitors can book by calling 0151 478 4545, or enquire at the Museum of Liverpool information desk on the day of the tours to see if any spaces are available. Group bookings call 0151 478 4788.

2018 is also the Edmund Gardner’s birthday – it is 65 years since the ship was launched. To celebrate this there will be a special Edmund Gardner Open Day on Saturday 28 July. Keep an eye out on our website for more details!

Please note that the ship has uneven surfaces, steep stairways and low steps, meaning it is not fully accessible and unable to accommodate wheelchair users, pushchairs or prams. Please wear appropriate sensible footwear for a safe and enjoyable visit.

You can also find out more about the Edmund Gardner on the Merseyside Maritime Museum website. There is also a touchscreen interactive about the ship on the quayside outside Museum of Liverpool.

Happy 10th birthday Seized!

16 May 2018 by Alayna

Curator on quayside by Border Force ship

Curator Steve Butler at the recent Seized! open day

Seized! is ten years old today! The new Customs & Excise museum opened on 17 May 2008. Previously situated on the ground floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, it was redesigned and relocated to a larger gallery space in the basement.

Now known as the Border Force National Museum, it is the only museum of its kind in the country with around 300,000 visitors each year.  Read more…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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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.