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Father and son lost in the Lusitania sinking

1 May 2015 by Ellie

old portrait photo

Mary Griffin, the eldest child of Michael Cooney senior and sister of Michael Cooney junior. Image courtesy of Joyce Percival

On 7 May we will mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS Lusitania when 1,191 men, women and children lost their lives.

Our new exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy remembers those people and highlights the strong ties between the ship, her crew, and Liverpool.

Whilst working on the exhibition I have been fortunate to become acquainted with many Lusitania relatives, and Joyce Percival has kindly agreed to share her family story with us:

“My great grandfather Michael Cooney was born in Liverpool to Irish immigrants Peter and Margaret Cooney from Limerick. Michael and his son, also called Michael, were both killed when the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 off the coast of Ireland. Read more…

Restoring the Falaba painting

30 April 2015 by Sam

David Crombie with a painting on an easel with with patches of paint loss

Working on removing excess fill from the losses to bring the levels in line with the rest of the paint surface – there were a lot of big losses!

This is the last of a series following the conservation of the painting ‘Falaba’ by Gerald M Burn, to prepare it for display in the Lusitania: life, loss, legacy exhibition. In previous posts I have described the structural treatment, cleaning and lining of the painting.

Once the painting was safely re-stretched onto the wooden stretcher, the two main things left to do were to fill in the paint losses and then inpaint (or retouch) the losses to match the surrounding original paint. Filling was carried out with fine chalk mixed with a water soluble synthetic resin, giving a paste that could be applied the areas of paint loss – this was done with a small palette knife which helped to imitate some of the texture of the original paint.

Once this had dried out, the excess filler could be removed with small cotton wool swabs wetted with water. After that, I could adjust and improve the fill texture as necessary. Then came the exciting stage Read more…

Help bring the Mauretania home to Liverpool

27 April 2015 by Rebecca

Mauretania shipLiverpool writer George Garrett worked in the boiler rooms of Mauretania and called the ship “a big scouse boat”. Mauretania and her sister ship Lusitania, were the true ‘Monarchs of the Sea’ and were later affectionately known in Liverpool as ‘Maury’ and ‘Lucy’.

Mauretania was built by Swan Hunter of Newcastle for the Cunard Line and was one of their most successful liners. Cunard and its ships were a central part of Liverpool’s maritime story and the firm was based in the city. Cunard’s 1916 headquarters are one of the most recognisable buildings on the city’s waterfront and one of the iconic three graces. Read more…

Remembering the role of Mersey ferries in the First World War

23 April 2015 by Sam

ferry decorated with colourful geometric patterns

The dazzled Mersey ferry Snowdrop

On Sunday Ben Whittaker, curator of maritime history and technology at Merseyside Maritime Museum, is taking part in events to mark the role that the Mersey Ferries played in the First World War, as he explains

“Today, Thursday 23 April, is St George’s Day, and on this day 98 years ago the Mersey ferries Iris and Daffodil took part in the daring First World War raid on Zeebrugge Harbour.  Read more…

Cleaning and lining the Falaba painting

22 April 2015 by David Crombie

detail of a ship painting, showing a small dark dirty area of the sky

The Falaba painting during the final stages of cleaning in the sky with nearly all of the dirt layers removed

This is the third blog in a series following the conservation of the huge painting of the Falaba, which is now on display in the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss legacy. In the last post I described the structural treatment of the painting, in order to reattach the loose paint.

Once the structural treatment was complete, the painting was turned over and cleaning could begin once the facing tissue was removed. Cleaning proved quite difficult, as the thick grime layers had previously been covered by the wax facing. Read more…

Structural treatment of the ‘Falaba’ painting

16 April 2015 by David Crombie

large painting lying flat on a table with a protective cover

To stretch it, the protected painting was placed face-up within a wooden loom frame on the multi-purpose lining table before wetted brown paper strips were attached around all four sides. As these were drying, the table was set to provide moisture underneath the canvas to relax it slightly during the stretching process.

Curator Ellie Moffat recently blogged about the centenary of the sinking of the ‘Falaba’ during the First World War. In her blog post she mentioned the large painting of Falaba which has just gone on display in the exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy.

Preparing the painting for display was quite a large job, not just because of its size, but also because it was not in a very good condition after suffering water damage many years ago.  Read more…

Mersey training ships

9 April 2015 by Sarah Starkey

Black and white photograph of training ships on the Mersey

Photograph of training ships, Conway and Indefatigable, in the Mersey, 1934 (MAL reference McR/90/18)

There was a great need in the merchant navy for trained men and to satisfy this demand a number of training schools were set up. Several of these were in vessels moored on the Mersey, although those that survived into the late 20th century eventually became shore based. The Maritime Archives and Library holds the records of two training ships, the Conway and the Indefatigable. Read more…

Dazzle ferry exhibition

2 April 2015 by Sam

artist Sir Peter Blake on the colourfully decorated ferry

Sir Peter Blake, patron of the John Moores Painting Prize, on the Snowdrop dazzle ferry

This morning the dazzled Mersey ferry Snowdrop, painted with an amazing dazzle inspired design by Sir Peter Blake, sailed across the river for the first time. From the fantastic reaction of the commuters, tourists and press on board today it looks set to become a popular attraction on the river.

There’s more to the dazzle ferry than the colourful exterior though, as Merseyside Maritime Museum curator Ben Whittaker has co-curated an on board exhibition with Tate Liverpool. Read more…

Lusitania: her people remembered

27 March 2015 by Sarah

poster illustration of people on a U-boat watching the Lusitania sink

Today our major new exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy opened at Merseyside Maritime Museum. The exhibition includes a resource, People of the Lusitania, which tells the stories of the passengers and crew on the ship’s final voyage. The resource is the result of many years of research by the Lusitania biographer and historian Peter Kelly, as he explains here:

“As a child I read about the sinking of the Lusitania and became fascinated with her story, especially as I grew up on the south-west coast of Ireland and was very familiar with the Old Head of Kinsale and Cobh (formerly Queenstown), which featured prominently in the story of her loss. To know that such a tragic event had occurred close to where I lived made me curious to learn all I could, Read more…

Centenary of the sinking of Falaba

27 March 2015 by Ellie

men with lifting equipment hanging a large painting on a wall

The huge painting of Falaba was installed by our specialist handling team ready for the opening of the ‘Lusitania: life, loss, legacy’ exhibition

This Saturday, 28 March, marks the centenary of the sinking of the Falaba – a passenger ship of Liverpool’s Elder Dempster Line. She left Liverpool on 27 March 1915 and sighted the German submarine U-28 off the southern coast of Ireland the following day.

U-28 surfaced, sent two warnings and Falaba’s crew were ordered to abandon ship. As the final lifeboat was being lowered, a torpedo hit. The ship sank in under 10 minutes. Germany claimed that U-28 had allowed 23 minutes for evacuation. Britain said it was only 5 minutes. 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.