Blog

A glimpse into the life of a historic seafarer for World Mental Health Day

10 October 2018 by Jen

Logo compromised of a lifebelt and phone receiver to look like an old fashioned phone with text giving the e-mail address for SeafarerHelp

SeafarerHelp run a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families, offering support with whatever issues they may be facing. You can find a link to their website at the bottom of this page.

Earlier this year I wrote about a romantic story from the journals of young Captain William Porter, from the 1860s. He was dearly missing his wife, Bess, when he discovered, weeks out to sea, that she’d hidden a letter to him among his belongings.

This sweet story about William and Bess was not however what had drawn me to the journals in the first place. It was a rather less happy strand to his writing that had caught my eye on the summary transcript. I had been researching in the Archives for historic references to struggles with mental health, or simply the loneliness and isolation we know are often a part of life at sea. In the summary for William’s journals there were certainly mentions of loneliness, but also repeated references to worry about a variety of things and a note of a New Year’s Eve entry that particularly spoke about his state of mind. Read more…

Giant stories all year round in our Titanic exhibition!

3 October 2018 by Sam

Enormous wooden puppet of a diver, standing in the water by the Albert Dock

The Giant first arrived in Salthouse Dock back in April 2012. Photo © Pete Carr

With the discovery of a mysterious giant sandal last night, which is now suspended over the Canning Dock nearby, anticipation is building for the Giant Spectacular event in Liverpool this weekend. This will be the third and final time that the Royal de Luxe will take over the city to enchant and delight us with their epic tales. However did you know that their first visit to Liverpool back in 2012 was inspired by a simple letter from our Maritime ArchivesRead more…

Hands Across The Ocean, a guest blog from visiting author Deborah Heiligman

26 September 2018 by Jen

Deborah Heiligman with Sonia Bech Williams, child survivor of the sinking of the City of Benares, outside Sonia's childhood home.

Deborah Heiligman with Sonia Bech Williams, child survivor of the sinking of the City of Benares, outside Sonia’s childhood home.

Earlier this year I met with American author Deborah Heiligman, who’s working on a new children’s book about the sinking of the City of Benares in World War II. It was lovely to meet her and exchange information on this fascinating story and she’s now been kind enough to write a blog for us talking about her research and what drew her to the City of Benares: Read more…

Teacher’s Evening – Get Involved!

24 September 2018 by Matt

Children in Museum

School visit

Want your class to experience a bit of hard work – Victorian style?  Ever fancied packing them off permanently on a ship to faraway climes?  Here’s your opportunity to find out how we can make this happen! Read more…

A woman navigating a STEM career in the 18th century

31 August 2018 by Jen

Image of double reflecting octant, an 18th century navigation tool

Double reflecting octant made by Ann Smith of Liverpool c. 1788-1800. – MMM.2007.173

From the earliest ocean going craft to today’s enormous container ships, navigation has been key to the history of seafaring. The ability to plot your position on a chart relative to where you were going has long been an essential part of safe passage. The science of navigation has improved seafaring, has saved lives, and has helped human beings to map the world with ever greater accuracy. The object pictured here is a Double Reflecting Octant, in its day the most accurate way to plot a ship’s latitude ever invented. This particular Octant dates from around the end of the 18th century and was made right here in Liverpool by Ann Smith, who ran a navigation shop in Pool Lane. Read more…

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…



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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.