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Posts tagged with 'social history'

Digging Up ‘Little Hell’!

20 December 2018 by Liz

Looking back on 2018, this has been a fascinating and fun year at the Museum of Liverpool. One of my professional highlights of the year has been the excavation we undertook in July at Oakes Street (between London Road and Pembroke Place). As part of the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project the Museum of Liverpool archaeology team worked with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to see what was hidden under their car park.  With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) we’d been able to undertake extensive map and desk-based research, which had told us that this was the site of some courtyard housing, but you never know what you’ll actually find when you start digging! Read more…

University Women banner – revealing histories and mysteries

19 December 2018 by Kay

Women carrying banners

Women’s suffrage procession outside of Liverpool Central Library in 1910. Photograph courtesy of Lancashire Archives DDX 1137/5/24

The British Federation of University Women, (today known as the British Federation of Women Graduates), was founded in 1907 to bring University women together. The following year, a Liverpool Association was formed by Eleanor Rathbone and other local ladies.

Members worked for women in the city.  Mrs Nan Mackean, former Honorary Secretary of the Association explained –

“They raised money for beds in the new Women’s Hospital, campaigned for women to serve in the Police Force, and battled bravely against the introduction of the marriage bar for university women staff, which meant that if women married, they were automatically dismissed from their posts and were unable to continue with their careers. During the 1930s, and in wartime, members welcomed European women who were refugees fleeing from the Nazis, giving them hospitality while they waited for a passage to the USA, and providing them with clothes and money for the journey”.

Read more…

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…

The Art of Butchery

26 November 2018 by Liz

Drawing of the P. Galkoff shop by his great great Gandson, Ilan Galkoff

Today we have a guest blog from Ilan Galkoff, great great grandson of Percy Galkoff, the butcher whose shopfront we have moved to the Museum of Liverpool as part of the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

‘I wanted to write a few words about how I came to create this piece of art depicting Galkoff’s Butcher shop. I’m Percy’s great, great grandson and I’m currently 15 years old. 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…

Celebrating Angus Wood

11 October 2018 by Kay

group photo of men in suits

Angus Wood (with coat over his arms)

This Black History Month we celebrate diverse voices from Liverpool’s Black community. This second blog in the series celebrates the life of Angus Wood and his contribution to the war effort during the Second World War.

“Because I am from Jamaica, an engineer didn’t think I was capable of sharpening a drill, although after that you know we got on smashing. I was treated quite well, especially when they suddenly realised that everything in Kingston was the same as in England”

Angus Wood, speaking in 2002. Liverpool Voices, Liverpool Lives archive, Museum of Liverpool.

Angus was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to Liverpool when he responded to the call for engineers to come and work in munitions factories here in Britain.  He left Kingston on 13 January 1940 with a large group of other skilled men.

After a long journey they docked in Scotland and travelled by train to Liverpool. Initially they lived at the YMCA in Birkenhead.

Angus was employed at ROF Fazakerley, a newly opened rifle manufacturing factory. Initially he was treated a little differently but once he proved that he knew his job he was treated the same as the other workers. His job, a protected occupation, was to set up machines that the women workers used to cut and grind components for rifles.

Angus also joined the factory’s own Home Guard, performing night fire watches and guard duty before and after a full days work.

The women workers in the factory helped them to find lodgings with local families. Angus lived for two years with the Roberts family, in Crescent Road, Fazakerley, before meeting his wife at the factory and setting up their own home.

Angus and his friends often went to the Grafton Ballroom in their free time. Here they experienced some racism from American GIs. Angus tells us more –

“The Americans didn’t want any coloured chaps in there, and we were British so they couldn’t stop us, and when they objected there was a fight.  I always keep clear of any fights. I was never personally involved in any of them”.

After the war the men were offered the opportunity to return to Jamaica, or stay in Britain. Angus, who was by then married with young children, chose to stay. He lived and worked in Liverpool, staying on at the factory until it closed in 1962.

Don’t forget to download our trail exploring how Liverpool’s Black community is represented in our displays and check out the Black History Month events across National Museums Liverpool’s venues throughout October.

Standing and walking proud

3 October 2018 by Kay

Addae wearing his rugby shirt

Addae, 2017. Courtesy of Liverpool Tritons RUFC

This Black History Month we celebrate diverse voices from Liverpool’s Black community.

The first is Addae, a member of Liverpool Tritons Inclusive Rugby Club. The Tritons, founded in 2016, is the first gay inclusive rugby team on Merseyside. They encourage new members from all backgrounds, ages, fitness levels, and rugby experience.

Tritons Rugby Club tshirt with a picture of Neptune holding a trident

Liverpool Tritons Inclusive Rugby Club t-shirt worn at Liverpool Pride, 30 July 2016; the day the club was officially launched. You can see this t-shirt on display in Tales from the city exhibition

Addae, tells us more about what the Club means to him:

“When I recently relocated to Liverpool from Trinidad & Tobago, via London, I realized that I wasn’t particularly fond of the area. Liverpool was cold, damp, and windy, and understanding the Scouse dialect seemed more of a task than a pleasure. I didn’t feel like I belonged here.

Frequently bored and uninspired, the only solace that I found was from running and reading, until I got the opportunity to leave. One day while I was leaving the Liverpool Central Library (which I consider a literary oasis), and although I had been there innumerable times, on that day my eyes were drawn to a flyer that had the holy words, ‘Liverpool Tritons: Inclusive Rugby’.  Read more…

Get out there and make yourself heard!

10 September 2018 by Kay

Woman in red shirt

Maggie O’Carroll, Chief Executive of The Women’s Organisation. Image credit: The Women’s Organisation: Twenty One Women

Here at the Museum of Liverpool we work in partnership with many groups and organisations – we firmly believe that together we are stronger. Read more…

Being a Museum Exhibit – My Story! By Richard Oswick

5 September 2018 by Kay

Boy and dog

Richard Oswick outside his home on Cantsfield Street. Courtesy of Richard Oswick

The Secret Life of Smithdown Road display uncovered and shared the stories of this fascinating community, past and present. Much of the content of the display was sourced from local residents, shop keepers and members of our Facebook group. The Museum also interviewed and recorded a range of people and made a special film about life on the Road. 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.