Blog

A Social Evil, victims or scapegoats?

13 December 2018 by Liz

This research was spurred by looking into Pembroke Place’s past for the Galkoff’s & Secret Life of Pembroke Place exhibition

Today we have a guest blog from Susan Bennett, who has been researching Victorian brothels to explore the ‘little hell’ underworld in the late C19th as part of the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project. This is a difficult subject, and original Victorian documents and records can be very blunt!

“Between 1837 and 1901 Liverpool expanded massively to become one of the greatest ports in the world. Every day thousands of sailors, just paid off, eager for physical outlets after hard months at sea, poured onto the streets looking for women, drink and other vicious practices such as fist fighting and gambling – the Social Evil! An east wind could carry off between 10 – 15,000 sailors a day on ships from the port and a westerly wind cast that same number ashore with full pockets and much energy, “to do what men do naturally”, as a newspaper report gamely put it. The police force, newly recreated in 1836 with 390 men rising to a peak of 1,002 in 1859, struggled desperately to keep on top of the ensuing vice, violence, and crime. Read more…

At the Cutting Edge, with Edge Conservation

8 December 2018 by Liz

Today we have a guest blog from Anna Dembicka, who has worked on the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project as an ICON Ceramics Intern. Anna’s detailed work on the tiles with the Edge Conservation team has brought them back to beautiful condition for display in the People’s Republic gallery at the Museum of Liverpool.

Galkoff shop before tile removal

‘There are few people in Liverpool who don’t immediately recognize the green façade of the tiled Galkoff Kosher butcher’s shop. Having travelled past it on my way to university every day, I often thought about what its history and its future fate might be. But it never crossed my mind then that a few years later I would have the privilege of helping to restore it to its former glory Read more…

Pleasure Gardens Past

5 December 2018 by Liz

Today we have a guest blog from Rebecca Metcalfe, a volunteer working on the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Rebecca has been researching historical open spaces in Liverpool, and discovered a lot about Ranelagh Gardens Read more…

Graffitiology

3 December 2018 by Vanessa

Museum of Liverpool archaeologists and Lister Steps volunteers taking part in graffiti recording.

Recently the archaeology team have been working in partnership with Lister Steps; a community based childcare charity based in Tuebrook. We are exploring the history of The Old Library on Lister Drive, which is currently being renovated into a community hub by Lister Steps with support from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Volunteers and archaeology staff have been using the modern graffiti at the rear of the building to learn archaeological skills and building recording techniques. By setting up a string and using measuring tapes our volunteers were able to accurately plot the graffiti using the same techniques which are used to draw an archaeological section.  Read more…

Vote for women in our advent calendar!

29 November 2018 by Sam

illustration of a wintery scene including Liverpool landmarks

Each December we count down the days to Christmas with the National Museums Liverpool advent calendar. There’s a different surprise from our collections and exhibitions behind each door, with a new theme each year. Throughout 2018 we have been involved with a number of special events in our museums and across the city of Liverpool to mark 100 years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act, which gave some women over the age of 30 the right to vote for the first time. So to celebrate the end of this significant year, we felt that a fitting theme for this year’s advent calendar would be women.

Naturally, I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises hidden behind the doors on the advent calendar, but I can tell you that there are some remarkable stories of a variety of pioneering women from across the ages, including scientists, artists and trailblazers, both from Liverpool and further afield. There will be names that you know and some that you are less familiar with, including a few surprises from our stores and archives which are not usually on display.

So don’t forget to open our advent calendar at www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/advent each day from 1 to 24 December.

If you can’t wait until December to find out about some of the inspiring women in our collections, then you can always visit the Taking liberties: women’s suffrage in Liverpool display at the Museum of Liverpool (don’t worry – it doesn’t contain any spoilers, we have plenty of other great stories to share with you!) Or take a look at the Christmas pages on our website for details of our free events, opening hours over the holidays, Christmas dining, gift ideas and more to get you in the festive spirit.

#Thankstoyou

13 November 2018 by Laura

Image of the Museum of Liverpool

Museum of Liverpool opened in 2011.

As a charity, National Museums Liverpool relies on the support of charitable donations. However big or small, all donations go into supporting our work looking after the wonderful collections, sharing and making them accessible to millions of visitors every year. Read more…

Alternative Miss Liverpool crowning glory

7 November 2018 by Kay

Alternative Miss Liverpool 2011, wearing the crown

© Steven Cheshire, 2011

Homotopia Festival is now in full swing with events happening across the city up until 1 December.

To help celebrate Homotopia’s 15th birthday we have loaned the inaugural Alternative Miss Liverpool crown. It can be seen in all of its glittery glory in Tales from the city exhibition.

Zoe Graham, ‘Miss Voodou’, was crowned the first ever Alternative Miss Liverpool at The Kazimier on 12 November 2011. The high-spirited pageant was part of the annual festival. 23 people of diverse ages, genders and sexualities took part.

Zoe was presented with the amazing crown specially designed by local milliner Hayley Marsden.  Read more…

Building Britannia: behind the scenes at the Museum of Liverpool

31 October 2018 by Vanessa

man examining archaeological finds in a large room full of boxes on shelves

Luke selecting objects for display from the stores

Today we have a guest blog by Luke Daly-Groves. Luke is currently studying a PhD on Anglo-American intelligence relations in occupied Germany at the University of Leeds:

“For five weeks I have been working with the team of archaeologists at the Museum of Liverpool as part of a placement, in order to create a display about the Romans in Merseyside. My interest in Roman history was sparked by tales of Emperors and Empire, travels around ancient sites throughout Europe, and the works of Professor Dame Mary Beard. But studying the Romans is not all about those at the top but also about revealing something of the lives of ordinary people. This is why archaeology is so important.

Here in Liverpool, the smallest fragment of Roman tile is bagged and recorded because it may provide vital evidence. Context, in archaeology, as in history, is key. The North West was in the past considered to be an area devoid of Roman archaeology. I certainly had no idea of any Roman presence here prior to my work at the museum!  Read more…

Helen Woolstencroft: from migration to me

30 October 2018 by Stephen Carl-Lokko

Dress with family photographs printed on the fabric

Detail of Helen’s dress ‘Eva’.

In this guest blog for the Sankofa project and as part of Black History Month, artist Helen Woolstencroft reveals how family and history play an important role in her sense of identity as an artist. In this moving tribute to her grandparents,  Helen tells us about the source of inspiration for her work:

“From a young age, I was always curious about my family. Being of mixed race heritage, I always wanted to know where I fit into the world. I was captivated by my Grandad Lionel, and always wondered what his life was like in Barbados before he came to England during the Second World War.  Read more…

Liverpool Black Sisters doing it for themselves

25 October 2018 by Kay

group of women with placards and loud hailers

Members of Liverpool Black Sisters protest at Derby Square, 1980s. © Liverpool Black Sisters/Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre

This Black History Month we are celebrating diverse voices from Liverpool’s Black community. This final blog in our series commemorates the pioneering work of the Liverpool Black Sisters.

“The biggest legacy of Liverpool Black Sisters is the impact made to the lives of the women and families who gained support, advice or guidance in order to access opportunities not afforded to them in the 70s and 80s, and who were able to gain a better perspective of their contribution to the city and the Black community. Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre is a community building that was the vision of the Sisters, that has turned into their reality”
Michelle Charters, CEO of Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre and former member of Liverpool Black Sisters, speaking in 2018.

Liverpool Black Sisters were a Black women’s group, based in L8 who worked to improve the lives of women in their community.  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.