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

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…

VIP Zone – Videos, Interactives, Podcasts and more!

10 July 2009 by Lisa

Across the National Museums Liverpool website, we have loads of great games, e-cards, online-only exhibitions, videos, interactives and podcasts for you to enjoy. And we’ve just launched our new VIP Zone as a hub for all these cool features that really bring our collections and exhibitions to life.

You can watch a video of a Pharaoh talking about life in ancient Egypt or download a talk by curator Pauline Rushton and photographer Francesco Mellina about our Sound and Vision exhibition – photographs of Liverpool music and fashion from 1978-82. Read more…

The Little Book of Big Highlights

23 February 2009 by Lisa

Little Book of Big Highlights

We’ve just published a cute little pocket guide to many of the fab happenings at NML in 2008. It’s good to revisit highlights like Ben Johnson’s residency, the Superlambananas, the opening of Seized! and exhibitions like Art In The Age of Steam and The Beat Goes On.

You can download your copy of The Little Book of Big Highlights here (pdf 6mb).

Loo-ney Tunes

19 November 2008 by Dawn

It’s World Toilet Day.  There’s no polite way of introducing it – you’ve just got to say it. You have to wonder who thinks these things up, but then there is a serious and worthy message about the state of the world’s sanitation to be gleaned.

Actually, museums and art galleries have formed a healthy relationship with the toilet that goes back beyond Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ or urinal.  What self-respecting museum would be caught out without the humble (or in some cases the ridiculously ornate) chamber pot? You can see one that was designed for Napoleon, no less, in the Walker’s Craft & Design Gallery. Read more…

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