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Mapping Memory

19 August 2010 by Laura B

Last month the ‘Mapping Memory: L1 and Liverpool’s central waterfront’ project began with its first workshop, kindly attended by the Liverpool Women’s History Group. The aim of the project is to explore memories of the L1 area during the 1950s, 60s and 70s and the Women’s History Group certainly provided an abundance of lively and interesting memories and stories for our researchers to collect.

The workshop started by asking the ladies to trace a particular route they would take through the L1 and central waterfront area, revealing a clustering around places such as Lord Street, Paradise Street and London Road. As the session progressed an array of collective memories showed how women used urban space during the twentieth century and the areas of the city which have created the most powerful and resilient memories over the years. Read more…

Poor Don Pedro!

13 May 2010 by Lisa

Today we are looking back to 15 May 1898 in our scouring of the World Museum‘s archives for our 150th anniversary blog series. Unfortunately it is a sad tale involving an elephant called Don Pedro…


When Barnum and Bailey Circus was in Liverpool between 2 and 21 May 1898, James Bailey decided that Don Pedro, a male Indian elephant, must be ‘euthanised’ because he was aggressive.  The director of the Liverpool Museum attended the killing on 15 May.  The corpse of Don Pedro was transported to the museum where he remained on show until 1941 when the museum was bombed and Don Pedro’s body was destroyed. 

The Liverpool Echo told the story:

‘Don, the second largest elephant of the Barnum and Bailey herd and a beautiful ‘tusker’, was quietly put to death in the menagerie pavilion of the bug show at Newsham Park yesterday morning… Read more…

Spring Public Lecture Series

12 May 2010 by Kay C

Picture of Toxteth Deer Park

I can’t believe our Spring Public Lecture Series is concluding tomorrow, Thursday – the weeks have flown by and the talks have been fascinating.

Our topics this week are, at 2pm, Beautiful Toxteth – The Unusually Royal History of Toxteth Deer Park by Dr Clemency Fisher, who will be revealing the beauty of Toxteth and discussing a couple of Toxtethian zoological riddles, including the identity of some very rare cows. This is followed by, at 2.25pm, Prehistoric, Roman and Medieval excavations at the M62 Tarbock Interchange, 2007. As is the case of many in Liverpool, I travel regularly on the M62, so I’m sure future trips will take on added meaning after tomorrow!
The Public Lectures are held in the Treasure House Theatre, World Museum, from 2pm. Read more…

Schools get a closer look in 1884

7 May 2010 by Lisa

Woman holding a bird skeleton

To continue our series of blogs celebrating the World Museum’s 150th anniversary, we’re looking into the archives at an important development in the museum’s educational program.

On the 6 May 1884, the museum became the first in the country have a loans service for schools. From our records, written by Rev. Henry Higgins the Chairman of the museum, we can see that:

‘…a communication was made from the Committee of the Library, Museum, and Gallery of Art, inquiring if duplicate specimens in the Museum could be used for educational purposes in connection with the Liverpool School Board.’ Read more…

History of World Museum Liverpool

6 May 2010 by Kay C

Thursday 6 May is the day people have been talking about all across Liverpool: it’s the day our public lecture series features the history of World Museum Liverpool.

Liverpool’s Museum – The First 150 Years is the first of three great talks lined up for this afternoon’s session. Presented by our Executive Director of Collections, John Millard, the event starts at 2pm in the Treasure House Theatre, World Museum, and is part of our celebrations in the museum’s 150th anniversary year. Read more…

Something for Thursdays

21 April 2010 by Kay C

Thursday afternoons are never going to be the same again…

I am really excited about our new Spring 2010 Public Lecture Series, which kicks off tomorrow (April 22). It’s being held at the Treasure House Theatre, World Museum, and features a selection of subjects from our museums and galleries’ collections and exhibitions, from archaeology to contemporary slavery.

For the next four Thursdays, our curators will be talking about some of the fascinating things they have researched. Read more…

Harold Wilson’s visit

26 March 2010 by Lisa

Black and white photo of interior of museum after being bombed

The museum after being bombed

This week we were looking back into the World Museum archives to celebrate our 150th year and we found a record of an especially important visitor from 25 March 1966…

Prime Minister Harold Wilson opened the first phase of rebuilding the museum after large parts were destroyed by a bomb in 1941. A headline from this day read ‘Museum Ceremony A Pleasant Respite, Says Wilson’, with the following article:

‘Mr Harold Wilson yesterday took an hour off his election campaign to open the £280,000 first phase of the rebuilding of Liverpool’s museum, blitzed in 1941.
Mr. Wilson was presented by Alderman William Sefton (leader of the city council) with a replica, made in the museum of a bronze plaque from the palace in the Nigerian city of Benin.’

The museum’s annual report also covered the event:

‘The great event of the year was the opening of the first phase of reconstruction on March 25th 196[6] by the Prime Minister.  This is a relatively small part of the whole museum as it will eventually be. The Aquarium, covering fresh and salt water, as well as tropical fish, was included as a highly popular display which always fascinates visitors. Local history in the form of displays on various facets of city life helps to put the changing character of Liverpool into perspective and an outline history of the development of the ship shows something of the knowledge and experience which led to the growth of our great shipping industry. An exhibition of choice specimens from the primitive, applied and decorative arts gives objects to be enjoyed for their intrinsic colour and beauty and a geological portrayal of life before man gives a proper sense of time, starting as it does some five million years ago.  In every gallery the aim has been to provide aesthetically attractive displays which are yet informative and interesting.

The second phase of building is already well under way structurally, and will include new features in the transport and astronomical galleries, and the planetarium; plans for the rest of the new building are being prepared.’

We’re still working on making our museum even better for our visitors, with several new developments happening recently, such as the refurbished Ancient Egypt gallery and the new Ancient Greece display. There’s always work to be done!
Read more…

A museum stuffed with specimens

8 March 2010 by Lisa

It’s time to peer back into the mists of time again in our series of blogs celebrating World Museum’s 150th anniversary. Today is one of the most significant dates in the museum’s history, as we revisit the day the museum first opened. Our archives tell us about the challenges that had to be overcome in order to fit the massive natural history collection into the museum…


The corner of a brown brick building

Slater Street, the location where the museum first openend.

On 8 March 1853, the museum first opened in a building on Slater Street in Liverpool, and it was called the ‘Derby Museum of the Borough of Liverpool’.  The Mayor and council marched in a procession from the Town Hall, arriving at the museum just after 2pm.  The Mayor spoke from a temporary dais about the collection of natural history in the museum which had been bequeathed to the town of Liverpool by the Earl of Derby. He said; Read more…

Thanks to Stephen Shakeshaft for the memories

20 November 2009 by Sam

photo of children on bikes watching men leading carthorses down street

Copyright Stephen Shakeshaft

The photographs in the exhibition Liverpool People by Stephen Shakeshaft have struck a real chord with visitors and brought back a lot of memories, as the comments made during reminiscence sessions in the exhibition have proved. Some of these comments have been included with the photos on the exhibition website now, and there are more below.

If you would like to take part in a reminiscence session there are a few more planned, with the next one taking place tomorrow afternoon. Full details are in the exhibition events programme on the website. Read more…

Victoria Cross for new museum

13 October 2009 by Lucy

On Friday 9 October 2009, we were visited by soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, to support the handover of a rare and historical item to add to the new Museum of Liverpool’s collection.

The object is a Victoria Cross (VC), and although it has been looked after by National Museums Liverpool for some time on loan, it has now been donated to our permanent collections to go on display in the new museum when it opens in 2011. Read more…