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

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…

Where there’s a wool there’s a way

17 November 2008 by Sam

two women knitting

Workshop leader Ildi Szabo wearing one of her amazing woolly creations, with museum demonstrator Pam Hale

I went to a great knitting workshop at Merseyside Maritime Museum at lunchtime. It was organised by the Seized learning team who normally hold events looking at how smugglers try to get firearms, drugs and other illegal substances through customs – and how customs officers stop them. Apparently wool also used to be smuggled out of the country centuries ago – I never knew that I had been knitting with such a precious material before!

As a fledgling knitter I had great fun learning some new techniques and making a few mini projects. If you want to have a go then the good news is that Ildi will be back at the Maritime Museum on Sunday afternoon with some fun things for knitters of all ages and abilities to make in the ‘Where there’s a wool there’s a way’ workshop. Have a look at the Seized! events page for further details. Read more…

Seize the day!

16 May 2008 by Sam

Seized! Revenue and Customs uncovered logo

Strange things are afoot in the basement of Merseyside Maritime Museum, where a brand new permanent gallery ‘Seized! Revenue and Customs uncovered’ opens this weekend.

The gallery reveals the mysterious world of smuggling and surveilance that’s all in a day’s work for Customs Officers, with help from unusual exhibits including exotic birds, dangerous weapons and a highly suspicious garden gnome.

To celebrate the opening a busy weekend of events is planned, including displays by sniffer dogs and hopefully a visit by a Customs cutter – as long as it isn’t called away for an official operation. Read more…

Easter holiday fun

30 March 2007 by Sam

Poster advertising Easter travel on Liverpool's trams and buses

Poster accession number RD00042.0012

The Easter holidays start this weekend, and as you’d expect, we’ve got lots of free activities at our venues to keep the kids entertained while they’re off school.

In the spirit of the season, the National Conservation Centre are holding five Easter craft afternoons from Wed 4 April, which include card making and egg painting. You could also take part in an Easter rummage at the Customs and Excise Museum over the next 3 Sundays. Please check the What’s On listings for the times of each session. Read more…

Born romantic

9 February 2007 by Sam

painting of embracing couple

‘An Idyll’ by Maurice Greiffenhagen

If you haven’t been in outer space you’ve probably noticed that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Wherever you turn in the shops you see hearts, cupids, chocolates and completely pointless fluffy pink things that men everywhere will buy in a panic minutes before closing time on 13 February.

Being a big soppy romantic myself (well maybe not, but I have my moments) I thought it’d be nice to gather together the most loved-up objects from our collections for a romantic online exhibition. So I asked the curators for ideas and what did they suggest? An obscene novel, a tale of bigamy, a pair of boots a painting of a tiff and nasty disease carrying bugs responsible for killing and maiming people in Central America, amongst other things. Hmmm. This could take years of therapy to sort out. Read more…

Burns baby Burns

25 January 2007 by Sam

Head and shoulders portrait of Robert Burns

Print of Robert Burns from the Border Force National Museum collection, accession number CENM1996.928

Here’s a bit of trivia to impress your whisky drinking chums with when you’re out celebrating Burns night. If you ask most people for 3 facts about Robert Burns, they would probably tell you that he was Scottish, he was a poet and he has a night held in his honour every year to celebrate his birthday. But did you know that he worked as an Excise Officer?

In 1789 Burns was appointed Excise Officer in Dumfries. His job was to gauge the vessels used by brewers and other traders in the manufacture of liquors on which Excise duty was charged and to charge the duty on the liquors when manufactured. A very conscientious officer, Burns was selected for promotion to supervisor, the official in charge of an excise district, but unfortunately died before he could take up his post. 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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