Blog

Maritime memories

17 December 2015 by Lucy

Image of a ship in a bottle

Rebecca’s chosen item from the app – a ship in a bottle.

Have you heard about our #AMemoryShared campaign? Through our House of Memories dementia awareness programme, we are using the campaign to raise awareness of sharing memories with our friends, families and those we care for, so that they are never forgotten.

A person living with dementia may have trouble being in the here and now, but often they have memories tucked away at the back of their minds that, when unlocked, can lead to incredibly emotive connections and conversations.  Read more…

Liverpool Pilots exhibition – can you help?

11 December 2015 by Sam Vaux

Bob Davis, aged 93, wears his cap and jacket from his time as 2nd Engineer on the pilot ships, recently donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Bob Davis, aged 93, wears his cap and jacket from his time as 2nd Engineer on the pilot ships, recently donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum.

We are very excited to announce our forthcoming exhibition about the Liverpool Pilots Service, which will open on 22 July 2016 at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The Liverpool Pilots guide shipping in and out of Liverpool waters, and celebrate their 250th anniversary in 2016.

The exhibition will look back at their long history, exploring why marine pilots are needed and what the particular challenges are for shipping entering Liverpool Bay and the River Mersey. There are many examples where the skill and bravery of pilots has saved lives and cargo, and the exhibition will bring to life many of these dramatic stories. You will also be able to learn about the vital role the pilots continue to play in the thriving modern port of Liverpool. Read more…

On the Waterfront

25 November 2015 by Sarah Starkey

Black and white image of ships and warehouses, Georges Dock, Liverpool, 1874

Glass lantern slide of George’s Dock and Goree Warehouses – Liverpool c1874 – courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum

For the last few months I’ve been working on an exhibition that is based around Liverpool Waterfront. Its aim is to explain the buildings that line the Mersey from Kings Dock to Princes Dock. Considering that includes Albert Dock, the Three Graces and the Landing Stage, that is quite a wide brief, Read more…

Movember with the Empress Rainbow Follies

2 November 2015 by Sarah Starkey

Men in formal dress with large moustaches

Detail showing some of the fine moustaches sported by the Empress Rainbow Follies. Archive reference PR/652

Every year we mark Movember, the charity moustache growing month, with our gallery of maritime men with impressive facial hair found in the collections of the Maritime Archives and Library.

Moustaches from the past is a selection of elegantly turned out men who embraced the moustache and wore it with pride – and could shave at sea in a gale. Hopefully these will inspire and encourage Movember participants in their efforts to grow their own moustaches.

This year’s two new additions to the gallery of  are the nattily dressed members of the Empress Rainbow Follies.  Read more…

The City of Benares legacy 75 years on

20 October 2015 by Jen

John Baker holding a page from a newspaper

City of Benares survivor John Baker holding a copy of his local paper in which he was interviewed. Picture taken on his recent visit to the maritime Museum.

One of the great things about working on projects around events within living memory is that often they prompt people to come forward and talk about their own experiences or family story. At a 75 year remove, with most of the children not from the local area, I wasn’t sure how much impact our City of Benares feature would have in this respect but I was pleasantly surprised. Some people got in touch to say they’d known or knew people who had been on board, a representative of the Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade (SVLB) made contact to say they were marking the 75th anniversary with a service and small display, and one of the child survivors even turned up at the Maritime Museum for a chat.  Read more…

New immigration display for Seized!

1 October 2015 by Andrew

Visitors meet a Border Force Officer at passport control

Visitors meet a Border Force Officer at passenger control

Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered is the UK Border Force national museum. Located in Merseyside Maritime Museum’s basement, this week we unveil a new display looking at the work of Border Force Officers who work on passenger control. Read more…

‘Back from the dead!’ The amazing survival story of Lifeboat 12

25 September 2015 by Jen

HMS ANTHONY rescuing survivors from lifeboat 12 © IWM (CH 1354)

HMS Anthony rescuing survivors from lifeboat 12 © IWM (CH 1354)

The sinking of the City of Benares is a story with few bright spots.  Horrific loss of life, particularly amongst children, makes for grim research. There are stories from the tragedy that show the full strength of human endurance, two teenage girls clinging on to an upturned lifeboat for 18 hours through the night in freezing waters and managing to survive, a 7 year old boy who survived the night on a raft amongst sleet and hail and choppy seas. One story of endurance however was only realised 8 days after the sinking, when a further 45 survivors were discovered.  Newspaper headlines described them as, ‘back from the dead’.  Read more…

75 years since sinking of ‘Children’s Ship’ City of Benares

14 September 2015 by Jen

Mural showing Michael Rennie, children's escort in the lifeboat with child from the City of Benares. Copyright The Parish Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Mural showing Michael Rennie, children’s escort, in the lifeboat with children from the City of Benares. Copyright The Parish Church of St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the loss of the City of Benares, torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in the North Atlantic during the Second World War.  What makes her loss stand out amongst the many lost merchant ships however is the 90 children she was carrying.  They were travelling under the government’s CORB (Children’s Overseas Reception Board) scheme to evacuate children away from a Britain facing the Blitz, and the ever growing possibility of invasion, to the safer shores of the Dominions, particularly Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  Read more…

Unique dazzle ship installation – for one weekend only!

8 September 2015 by Sam

ship painted in bright contrasting stripes

Last year when OMD played two sell-out gigs at the Museum of Liverpool, concert-goers were also treated to a special installation on the Edmund Gardner pilot ship. For one weekend only, we are offering visitors another opportunity to experience this, as curator Ben Whitaker explains:

“Join us on 3 and 4 October when we will take you on a tour deep inside the Edmund Gardner Dazzle Ship to experience a unique audio visual installation.

Called ‘Dazzle Ships (Parts I, IV, V & VI)’, the installation uses music, sound and lighting to immerse you into the world of a dazzle ship under attack Read more…

Dazzling tea cosies for the Edmund Gardner

3 September 2015 by Sam

colourful tea cosy in front of a ship painted with a similar pattern

Gina’s dazzle ship inspired tea cosy

This summer Chris Moseley, shipkeeping and models conservator, took over responsibility for the Edmund Gardner pilot ship – the largest item in our collections and probably the brightest since it was dazzled last year.

Along with 700 tons of ship he also inherited a couple of old tea pots and had a tea pot polishing competition with George, one of the volunteers on the ship. The results were so good that they decided they needed two new tea cosies, so they asked if National Museums Liverpool’s knitting group, the Knitwits, could help.

One of our knitters, Gina Couch, jumped at the chance to help, as she had a family connection to the Edmund Gardner. Her late brother Gerard, who was known as Sam by most people, worked for the Pilotage Service from 1949 to 1988, so he had worked on the Edmund Garner when it was used as a pilot vessel between 1953 and 1981.  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.