Blog

“Those monstrous funnels coming down on us”

8 May 2017 by Ellie

Portrait of Lusitania survivor Winifred Hull

This photograph of Winifred Hull was taken in Liverpool, just three weeks after the sinking. Courtesy of Geoff Pawling.

Geoff Pawling, who spoke at this year’s Lusitania commemoration, describes a remarkable letter written by his grandmother and the emotional impact on one family of the sinking:

“Our home was haunted by the Lusitania. My grandmother Winifred Hull, travelling alone to visit her parents in Wallasey, was fortunate.  She survived the torpedoing of the great transatlantic liner on 7th May 1915. Yet the terrible scenes she witnessed stayed with her for the rest of her life and cast their shadows over the childhood of her daughter, Ruth. Ruth, in turn, passed on to me and to her other two sons that legacy of memory: another family story, but this one, in its scale and horror, unlike any of the others. Read more…

Seized! forensics display reveals secrets

3 May 2017 by Andrew

Part of the forensics display in Seized!

This week a new forensics display was added to Seized! The border and customs uncovered gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Here, Steve Butler, Curator of the Border Force National Museum Collection explains the lengths criminals go to to smuggle contraband, and the ingenuity of the Border Force in detecting it.

Read more…

Osmund Bartle Wordsworth – a survivor of Lusitania

2 May 2017 by Ellie

Osmund Bartle Wordsworth in military uniform

Courtesy of The Warden and Scholars of Winchester College

As we approach the 102nd anniversary of the tragic sinking of RMS Lusitania, guest blogger Lucy London is here to tell us about her research project and how she came across a Lusitania survivor as a result:

“Since 2012 I have been researching the First World War for a series of commemorative exhibitions. I began by researching women poets and discovered quite a few poets with a link to Merseyside, for instance, May Sinclair, very famous on both sides of the Atlantic in the early 20th century, was born in Rock Ferry, Wirral. I then moved on to forgotten male poets and, again, found quite a few with links to Merseyside who were not as famous as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves.

The role of women during the First World War came next; then I added the heading ‘Fascinating Facts’, such as Rin Tin Tin the American film star dog found as a puppy in a bombed out kennels by an American soldier.

During the course of my research to commemorate 1917, I discovered a writer called Osmund Bartle Wordsworth, who was related to the poet William Wordsworth of ‘Daffodils’ fame. I was interested to discover that Merseyside Maritime Museum was looking for further information about Lusitania survivors, and Osmund was one of those.  Read more…

The legacy of LGBT visibility at National Museums Liverpool

7 April 2017 by Andrew

The Gang by Catherine Opie

“LGBT history is everyone’s history and we’re proud to tell it”, says Charlotte Keenan, Curator of British Art at the Walker Art Gallery. Here, she blogs about National Museums legacy in programming LGBT exhibitions, artists and events that spans decades. Read more…

Lily’s journey from Liverpool to Canada

6 April 2017 by Emma Walmsley

portrait photo of a young girl

Lily. Courtesy of the Together Trust

Young people from the Together Trust have been working hard since Christmas to discover more about some of the children from Liverpool who emigrated to Canada between 1872 and 1914. As part of the charity’s Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces project the groups have been learning about the British Empire and why places like Canada were calling out for help on the farms.

The young people have also been looking at the individual stories of children from the Liverpool area, who were emigrated across to Belleville, Ontario. Read more…

Stranded in the Suez Canal

22 March 2017 by Ben

Flags flying from one of the Suez Canal ships, 1967. Reproduced with permission of George Wharton.

On 1 June Merseyside Maritime Museum is hosting a special reunion event to mark the 50th anniversary of ships being stranded on the Suez Canal between 1967 and 1975.  Three of the stranded ships were from Liverpool; MS Melampus and MS Agapenor from the Blue Funnel Line and MS Scottish Star from the Blue Star Line.

Our guest blogger Cath Senker explains how the event came about:

Read more…

Suez Canal crew sought

9 March 2017 by Andrew

Melampus and Agapenor on Great Bitter Lake

Merseyside Maritime Museum is looking for former seafarers who were on a stranded ship on the Suez Canal between June 1967 and June 1975, to attend a special 50th anniversary reunion at the Museum on Thursday 1 June. Read more…

Surviving the TSS Yorkshire sinking

6 March 2017 by Ben

TSS Yorkshire painted by Ernest Barrett. 1987.118.3.37

TSS Yorkshire painted by Ernest Barrett. 1987.118.3.37

The maritime history department at Merseyside Maritime Museum have recently collected an object connected to the sinking of the TSS Yorkshire in 1939.

TSS Yorkshire was built in 1920 by Harland and Wolff in Belfast for the Liverpool based Bibby Line.  The ship was on her way to Liverpool from Rangoon as part of the allied convoy HG-3.  The Dixon family had joined the ship at Gibraltar, including brother and sister Cyril (aged 15) and Maureen (aged 8), and their mother and father.  On 17 October, 1939 the convoy was in the North Atlantic 160 miles off the north-west coast of Spain.  That afternoon the convoy was attacked by the German U-boat U-37.  Yorkshire was hit and sank with the loss of 58 lives.  Read more…

Take part in National Museums and Wellbeing Week 2017

3 March 2017 by Emma Riley

People laughing and clapping at a museum event

Image © Pete Carr

The second ‘National Museums and Wellbeing Week’ is taking place from 6 – 12 March.

The National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing is coordinating the week and describes it as “an opportunity for museums to showcase their health and wellbeing offer and raise awareness of this valuable area of work.” Read more…

International Women’s Day at National Museums Liverpool

2 March 2017 by Laura

sculpture of woman holding a 'votes for women' sign

Statue of Mary Bamber – A Revolutionary Woman by artists Carrie Reichardt and Nick Reynolds, on display at Museum of Liverpool.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange and the programme of events across National Museums Liverpool’s venues, starting this weekend, explores this challenge through the lives of real women, past and present. 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.