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Cunard Staff display

11 May 2015 by Sarah Starkey

Image of a ticket for a Cunard Staff Dinner, Liverpool, 1924

Ticket for the 26th Cunard Staff Dinner, 1924 (reference DX/1851 part of)

In honour of this year’s 175th anniversary of the first Cunard sailing from Liverpool, we’ve changed the display outside the Maritime Archives and Library on the second floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Remembering the Lusitania on the 100th anniversary

7 May 2015 by Sam

Ellie signing a large picture of the Lusiitania

A signature canvas commemorating the Lusitania will be a ‘living’ work of art. Lustania exhibition curator Ellie Moffat was one of the first to sign it.

Every year Merseyside Maritime Museum pays tribute to the 1,191 people who lost their lives on the Lusitania, with a commemoration by the ship’s propeller on the quayside on 7 May, the anniversary of the sinking. The event brings together many of families affected by the loss of the Lusitania, reflecting what a huge impact the tragedy had on Liverpool, where most of the crew were based.

We have been working closely with many of the Lusitania families, particularly over the last year in preparation for the major exhibition Lusitania: life, loss, legacy. I was fortunate to meet some of them at the opening of the exhibition and was moved to see their pride in how their relatives’ stories had been portrayed. Read more…

Lusitania – to save the company

5 May 2015 by Sam

painting of an ocean liner

The German liner Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse of 1897 © J Kent Layton Collection

This week we are marking the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania with a series of events, including a memorial service at Liverpool Parish church and a commemoration at the Lusitania propeller on the waterfront on Thursday 7 May. See our Lusitania events page for full details.

To explain why the loss of the Lusitania was such a significant event, J Kent Layton – maritime historian and author of ‘Lusitania: an illustrated biography’ – has written a series of blog posts about the history of the ship. Read more…

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…

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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.