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80th anniversary of Queensway Mersey Tunnel

18 July 2014 by Anne

archive photo of crowds at the opening of the Queensway Mersey tunnel

Queensway Mersey Tunnel entrance hung with ceremonial curtains prior to the official opening, with the royal stand in the foreground. Archive reference number 11256-8

The Queensway Mersey Tunnel, connecting Liverpool with Birkenhead beneath the River Mersey, was officially opened 80 years ago, on 18 July 1934 by King George V, accompanied by Queen Mary. The distinguished company of Stewart Bale Ltd, a Liverpool based firm of commercial and industrial photographers, was selected as the photographers to officially capture this prestigious event.

The Stewart Bale collection is now part of the Maritime Archives and Library, including some 195,445 negatives and a souvenir photograph album recording the opening ceremony of the Queensway Mersey Tunnel. Read more…

Flying the flag for Seafarers Awareness Week

23 June 2014 by Sam

logo with text: An island nation, Seafarers Awareness Week 21-29 June 2014

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, explains why Seafarers Awareness Week is important, and how we can all get involved:

“Are you reading this blog on a computer, smartphone or tablet? Chances are it was brought to this country in a metal box on the back of a ship, along with your TV, clothes and most of your other possessions. Read more…

New display on Brunel’s SS Great Eastern

18 June 2014 by Jen

Photograph of the SS Great Eastern with large Lewis' Department Store advert on the side.

This image is copyright unknown/ expired. Please contact us if you are the copyright holder of this image.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Eastern was, in her day, the largest ship ever built. A truly ambitious project from one of the most famous names in engineering history, the Great Eastern was built to provide a ship that could travel all the way to Australia or the Far East without the need to stop and take on more coal. Despite this she was only used on the transatlantic routes, travelling to Canada and North America as a passenger liner, often departing from Liverpool and playing a part in the emigrant trade.

Read more…

Pilot memorials unveiled at New Brighton

9 June 2014 by Jen

memorial being unveiled at New Brighton waterfront

© John MacLeod Photography

Two new memorials were unveiled in New Brighton on 19 May to commemorate the losses suffered by the Liverpool Pilot Boat Service in the First and Second World Wars.

For hundreds of years the Pilot boats have been invaluable to ships entering the docks at Liverpool and on the Wirral.  They supply a local Pilot who boards the visiting ship and guides it safely through the difficult channel and into the docks.  The Pilots continued this work throughout the two World Wars, providing an essential service to the wartime convoys.

The wars made the Pilots more valuable than ever but also added massively to the difficulty and danger of their job. Read more…

Sam’s tribute to the Lusitania

3 June 2014 by Sam

young boy holding up a drawing

Sam Colley with his picture ‘The sinking of the Lusitania’

The tragic sinking of the Lusitania during the First World War had a devastating effect on the tight-knit dockland communities in north Liverpool, where most of the liner’s crew lived. 404 crew members died, including many Liverpool Irish seamen.

Every year on 7 May Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary of the sinking with a memorial service on the quayside by the Lusitania’s propeller. Unknown to us, this year a 6 year old boy many miles away in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire was also inspired to make his own tribute to the ship. His mother Joanne Colley got in touch with us when she realised the coincidence. Read more…

Queen Victoria in Liverpool

30 May 2014 by Jen

Queen Victoria cruise liner moored in Liverpool

The magnificent Cunard liner MS Queen Victoria arrived this morning at the Liverpool landing stage to spend the night in the city, making her the first Cunard liner to do so since the Franconia in 1968. She is a spectacular sight down here at the waterfront and people have been flocking to see her, bowled over by her size and grandeur! Read more…

HMS Thetis memorial to be unveiled

27 May 2014 by Sam

black band or ribbon with faded gold lettering 'HMS Thetis'

HMS Thetis cap band donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum in 2011. The donor’s uncle was involved in the salvage of the submarine. Accession number MMM.2011.13

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has news of a new memorial to the submarine HMS Thetis:

“On Sunday 1 June 2014 at 1pm a memorial will be unveiled at the River Walkway, Birkenhead. It will mark 75 years since the worst peacetime submarine accident in the history of the Royal Navy. On 1 June 1939 HMS Thetis sank in Liverpool Bay and 99 men perished. Read more…

Remembering the Empress of Ireland

15 May 2014 by Sam

museum display

New material has been added to the Empress of Ireland display to mark the centenary of the sinking.

Lots of people have heard about the sinking of the Titanic and Lusitania. However did you know that more passengers were lost in another major shipping disaster around that time, which had a big impact on Liverpool?

Ben Whittaker, curator of port history at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has more information about the ‘forgotten Empress':

“Today is 15 May, and 100 years to the day that the Canadian Pacific Liner Empress of Ireland last set sail from Liverpool bound for Canada. Read more…

Lusitania memorial service remembers Manx rescuers

6 May 2014 by Sam

archive photo of a group of men

Crew of the Wanderer. Photo courtesy of the Leece Museum in Peel.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 7 May, Merseyside Maritime Museum is holding a memorial service to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania. As part of this year’s service Roy Baker, Curator of Leece Museum, will talk about how a ship from the Isle of Man played a key role in the rescue efforts. Guest blogger Valerie Caine has more details:

“The sinking of the luxurious liner Lusitania in just eighteen minutes off the Old Head of Kinsale in Ireland in 1915 by a German submarine resulted in the loss of 1,198 lives. One of the first rescue vessels on the scene was a small Manx fishing boat PL11 Wanderer, from Peel on the west coast of the Isle of Man. Read more…

Charles Lightoller, a Lancashire lad who went to sea

6 May 2014 by Sam

ship during construction

Concrete ship under construction in Warrington, image courtesy of English Heritage

Merseyside Maritime Museum’s series of free spring lectures starts tomorrow, Wednesday 7 May, at 12 noon, with a talk by Serena Cant, English Heritage. Serena will be talking about the front line at sea, and in particular the contribution of the ships and the people of the north west coast to the First World War. In this guest blog post she discusses the wartime service of  Charles Lightoller:

“Charles Lightoller, a Lancashire lad who went to sea, was one of at least two known survivors of the Titanic, both of whom survived further wreck incidents during the Great War, as it was called by contemporaries. 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.