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Posts tagged with 'seized - the border and customs uncovered'

Just a quick note

28 January 2011 by Sarah Starkey

Jamaican bank note

Jamaican 10 shilling note from the consignment shipped on board the Politician. (DX/2515)

The Maritime Archives & Library has a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions in the 3 showcases outside our door on the second floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum.  Our current exhibition, in conjunction with our colleagues from the UK Border Agency National Museum, is on the Harrison Line vessel Politician, which ran aground off the island of Eriskay, Scotland.  The fact that the vessel was carrying a lot of whisky is well known, highlighted by the novel and film Whisky Galore, but there was a lot of other interesting cargo onboard, not least 290,000 Jamaican bank notes.  The recent publicity for the opening of the exhibition caught the eye of a man interested in the story of the ship.  He has kindly donated one of the very bank notes to us and we’ve added it to the exhibition. Read more…

Sniffer dogs return to the museum

6 August 2010 by Sam

woman in uniform with a dog

A sniffer dog and handler at the museum

The sniffer dogs from UK Border Agency are once again demonstrating their unique sniffing skills at Seized! over the summer holidays. If you’d like to see them they will be at the museum every Thursday afternoon during August – full details are on the website in the Seized! events programme.
 
I know that the sniffer dogs are extremely well trained but I hadn’t realised before that each one specialises in searching for specific things. Karen Bradbury, curator of the UK Border Agency National Museum explains: Read more…

Hunter’s trophy highlights the plight of elephants

20 July 2010 by Sam

We’ve already featured a rather famous whisky bottle on the blog, which is one of the new objects that came into the collection of the UK Border Agency National Museum following the closure of Greenock Customs House. If you come to one of the summer events at the Seized! gallery – which displays the UK Border Agency National Museum’s collections – then you could see another new acquisition from Greenock Customs House up close. Joyce Parr, education manager at Seized, explains:
Read more…

Calling all smugglebusters

8 July 2010 by Alison Cornmell

The last time I spent any time with five year olds was when I was five myself. From what I remember it’s pretty tough – warm milk at break time,  bossy kids beating you to it to get to the wet sand and watercress that wont grow out of the Flora tub. I can only assume it’s the same for the five year olds of today too.

However it was lovely to see a school group of five year olds getting a much needed break from the stresses of everyday life at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Whisky galore

6 July 2010 by Sam

old bottle covered in barnacles

Following the closure of Greenock Customs House the UK Border Agency National Museum (Seized!) recently collected an unusual array of objects. One of the highlights is this whisky bottle believed to be off the SS Politician – the cargo ship that was immortalised in the classic Ealing comedy ‘Whisky Galore’ in 1949.

Laden with goods, including 50,000 cases of scotch, the Politician left Liverpool in 1941 bound for the American market. However, during a heavy storm the captain was unable to keep the ship on course, and she ran aground on a sandbank off the Isle of Eriskay, in the Scottish Western Isles.
 
Once the local residents heard from the crew about the contents of the ship, they set about salvaging the whisky. However the local Customs officer regarded this as theft, and illegal. A series of police raids set about finding the looted goods.
 
The bottle acquired for the national collection still has barnacles attached, suggesting that it has spent some time in the sea. It will now form part of our reserve collection off display. Read more…

Strange cargo

17 May 2010 by Stephen

museum display with large model of an official building

Model of Liverpool’s former Customs House in Seized!

This unusual story appeals to me because it reveals how attitudes have dramatically changed in the past 200 years.

Our ancestors had ideas which sometimes stretched belief to the limits and, even then, many people must have been shocked by this theatrical display by a man used to playing to popular sentiment.

A great crowd gathered on the Liverpool quayside to greet the famous radical pamphleteer and journalist returning home after more than two years of self-imposed exile.

William Cobbett fled to the United States after hearing the British government were planning to arrest him for sedition. His pioneering newspaper, the Political Register, was mainly read by working class people. This made Cobbett dangerous in the eyes of many members of the establishment. Read more…

Changes at Seized!

7 May 2010 by Sam

Seized! The Border and Customs uncovered logo

Here’s some news about changes at the popular Seized! gallery in Merseyside Maritime Museum, from Karen Bradbury, Curator of UK Border Agency National Museum:


“The museum is now working with a new partner, while also maintaining close working relationships with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and this is opening up new and exciting opportunities.

Our new partner is UK Border Agency and to reflect this change, we are amending our name to Seized! The Border & Customs uncovered.

As you will probably know, we have been working closely with HMRC for 15 years to tell the story of the work they have done through history. The story was brought right up to date when our new displays were opened in the basement a couple of years ago.

There was departmental restructuring of HMRC and Immigration in 2009, resulting in the inland taxation elements staying with HMRC. The protecting role of HMRC merged with Immigration to form the new UK Border Agency to promote stronger borders. Read more…

Major award for the Rush project

16 March 2010 by Sam

people at an award ceremony

Museum staff met Linford Christie at the ceremony

The innovative Rush programme, run by the Education team for the Seized! Revenue and Customs uncovered gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum, has been recognised with a prestigious award at the Kids Count Inspiration Awards 2010. Rush won the UK’s Best Contribution by a Community Group Award. Last week museum staff were presented with the award at a House of Commons ceremony attended by leading politicians and sporting celebrities including Olympic Gold Medalist Linford Christie.

Rush has been developed in response to concerns from teachers and youth leaders about the growing impact of drugs misuse on young Merseyside people and their families. Young people observe a commissioned theatre piece presenting an account of a girl who faces choices relating to experimenting with ecstasy and are then given the opportunity to question characters in the play which opens up discussions around the topic of drug use and its consequences. Read more…

Dreaded diseases

7 September 2009 by Stephen

Photo of man looking in another man's mouth

A ship’s crew is inspected for disease. Image courtesy Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

I admit to being wary of catching infections and take the precaution of washing my hands whenever possible. Other useful safeguards are adding disinfectant to the bath water and gargling with mouthwash. It was impressed on me at a very early age the awful things you can catch – especially when travelling. I caught TB as a child but threw it off – a natural immunity, I was told later.

Passengers and crews of ships have always feared outbreaks of contagious diseases that could sweep through vessels like wildfire, affecting everybody’s safety and wellbeing. The words typhus, cholera, yellow fever, smallpox and plague were enough to chill the bones of the most seasoned traveller. Read more…

Horrible murder

10 August 2009 by Stephen

Illustration of men on horses.

The Hawkhurst Gang. The text beneath the image reads: Galley and Chater falling off their Horse at Woodash, draggs thier Heads on the Ground, while the Horse kicks them as he goes; the Smugglers still continuing thier brutish usage.

When I was at primary school in the 1950s we used to enjoy singing the popular Smugglers’ Song with words by Rudyard Kipling:

Five and twenty ponies
Trotting through the dark –
Brandy for the Parson,
Tobacco for the Clerk:
Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,
And watch the wall my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodpile if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy wine;
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor take them for your play;
Put the brushwood back again – and they’ll be gone next day!

It is a song that races along but embraces a popular myth masking the brutal reality behind smuggling. It is true that gangs of smugglers operated right along the coast with whole communities involved.

However, sickening violence could be used by smugglers driven by greed, poverty and lack of employment. Customs men often assisted by soldiers, used counter-measures which were both brutal and harsh, including the death penalty. Read more…

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