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Walking for Health

9 September 2019 by Steven Williams

Walking tour
Every Friday morning, a small group of intrepid folk meet at the World Museum on William Brown Street and head out for an hour’s walk around the city centre. For over 10 years now, National Museums Liverpool has been encouraging people to be more active with its support of the local Walking for Health scheme.

Read more…

Merchant Navy Day

2 September 2019 by Rebecca

Ships painted in geometric dazzle patterns on the Liverpool waterfront

Dazzle painted ships in the Mersey, off the Liverpool waterfront by Leonard Campbell Taylor, about 1918.

Tuesday 3 September marks Merchant Navy Day when we honour the brave men and women who made many sacrifices to keep Britain alive during both World Wars, and appreciate the UK’s modern day seafarers who are responsible for transporting most of our every day items, such as food and fuel. On this day the Red Ensign, the official Merchant Navy flag, will be flown across the UK.

In the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s Battle of Atlantic gallery and on our website you can find out more information about the Merchant Navy’s vital role in keeping Britain going during these very difficult times. From 1939 the Battle of Atlantic lasted six years and was the longest campaign of the war. Liverpool was Britain’s most important port during the war as the UK depended on its vital North Atlantic shipping routes for food and other imports, which therefore made the city a major target.

Liverpool’s merchant seafarers, ships, dock workers and sailors played a major role to ensure Britain’s survival. Liverpool registered ships were part of Britain’s ocean going merchant fleet. Between 1939 and 1945 the Port of Liverpool handled more 75 million tons of cargo. The Liverpool Pilotage Service was responsible for guiding ships amongst an unlit Liverpool waterfront, whilst also contending with enemy mines and air raids.

It’s fitting on Merchant Navy day to recognise the sacrifices made by seafarers in the First World War as well. In 2012 the museum acquired the painting, ‘Dazzle painted ships in the Mersey, off the Liverpool waterfront’ by Leonard Campbell Taylor which shows camouflage ships with these patterns during the First World War, the main ship we believe to be the Cunard line ship Mauretania. The painting on display in the museum’s Lusitania gallery, is a reminder that even during times of conflict, the Port of Liverpool and its ships and seafarers continued to work to keep the country supplied with food, fuel and other cargo, just as they do today.

Discover the story behind the photograph

30 August 2019 by Matt Smith

We caught up with award-winning astro-photographer Mark McNeill (and his daughter Maisy) when they visited the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition recently.

Mark’s stunning image, ‘Me versus the Galaxy’ won high commendation in the People and Space category of the competition. Here he tells the story behind this fantastic example of astrophotography.

“When we first arrived (at Sycamore Gap, Northumberland) the moon was in the air, with all sorts of satellites and shooting stars going over. I set my tripod up to do a time-lapse taking a photo every second. I was running up, lighting the tree with a torch to see what it looked like, so it’s actually me you see in the photo, it adds a little bit of scale and tells a story of just how small you are against the Winter Milky Way in the background.

Over the night I must have taken over twenty images of me pointing the torch this way, pointing the torch that way. The first image that I took that I liked was a colour version. I would say that 90% of Milky Way images are colour images so I decided to take the colour away to make it look a little different, more unique.

I posted the image on Twitter and tagged Brian Cox in. He said it was one of the most beautiful images he’d seen and retweeted it. It then went a bit haywire! That’s when I entered the competition. Shortly afterwards I got an email saying one of my images was short-listed, then one saying it was award winning and that I was invited to the award ceremony in London. I was over the moon, really proud!

My favourite from the exhibition is a picture of the sun. Technically, how could someone manage to do that? The effort that goes in to capturing these deep space images… it’s magical.

I would say to anybody that wants to do astrophotography – go somewhere dark, you can buy apps and maps that tell you where’s best – you don’t have to go miles – a tripod isn’t necessary but helps when you take a long exposure, you cant physically hold the camera that still. A normal camera set to manual, even a smartphone can have a good night mode; it doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby.

Together is better

19 August 2019 by Laura Pye

Laura Pye at Liverpool's waterfront

Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool. Picture by Gareth Jones

The International Slavery Museum welcomes the discussion around a London museum on slavery. The work we do here every day promotes education about this critical part of our UK and global history – which is by no means consigned to the past. Our very purpose is for more people to know, and confront, this history, so the more discussion about it, the better.

We opened in 2007 in recognition of the need for a major, national museum that addressed the UK’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies. Since opening, we have welcomed more than 4.5 million visitors. We hold the world’s first permanent modern slavery collection and have hosted over 250,000 visits by schoolchildren. The support for us in response to Sadiq Khan’s call for a London slavery museum has been quite overwhelming.

If the London museum proceeds, it should build on the work already done here at the existing International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, and the good work already established by many museums across the UK, including the Museum of London. Because the power of museums working together is immense. Read more…

The land of the orang-utan

16 August 2019 by John Wilson

150 years ago Alfred Russel Wallace wrote about “the land of the orang-utan” and sent specimens to Liverpool

2019 is the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Alfred Russel Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago: The land of the orang-utan, and the bird of paradise. A narrative of travel, with studies of man and nature.

Although best known as the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection alongside Charles Darwin, The Malay Archipelago firmly established Wallace as one of the greatest natural history explorers.

Read more…

Thinking of keeping ‘Dory’ in a home aquarium?

6 August 2019 by Matt Smith

Regal Tang

The release of the film ‘Finding Nemo’ saw a rise in the popularity of ‘Dory’, the forgetful but lovable Blue Regal Tang. Here, Robert Woods from Fishkeeping World advises that keeping such a beautiful fish in a home aquarium can be challenging, noting the key considerations to their successful care.

About the Blue Regal Tang

Also known as the Blue Hippo Tang, the Royal Blue Tang, the Regal Tang and the Palette Surgeonfish, the Blue Tang is a very popular fish in the aquarium industry, rising to fame after  the release of the films Finding Nemo and its sequel Finding Dory. It is a brilliant blue colour with black markings stretching from its tail to its eyes and sunshine yellow pectoral and caudal fins. Read more…

Crew lists

5 August 2019 by Sarah Starkey

example of crew list from 1903

Part of a crew list of Rhynland, for a voyage from Liverpool to Antwerp. Showing crew born in Norway, Liverpool, Madras, New York, Russia and Bristol (Maritime Archives and Library reference P/SL/41)

A lot of our role at the Maritime Archives and Library is pointing people in the right direction. We spend just as much time talking about sources we don’t hold as those we do.  Sometimes the explanation of where the records are held is so complex and convoluted that people think we are making it up as we go along. A good example of this is crew lists. So, deep breath, Read more…

Liverpool Police Strike 1919 centenary

1 August 2019 by Kay

100 years ago a number of police officers across the country went out on strike. The heart of this national Police Strike was in Liverpool, Birkenhead and Bootle.

We have a number of items in the collections of the Museum of Liverpool which relate to this significant event. The most striking is this wonderful painting of Bob Tissyman who played a major organising role in the city. It was painted by renowned local artist David Jacques.

Police Sergeant Robert (Bob) Tissyman was the Liverpool leader of the ‘unrecognised’ NUPPO (National Union of Police & Prison Officers), and organiser of the union’s eight branches in the city. He was born in 1869, joined Liverpool City Police in October 1894 and lived in Edge Hill.

955 Liverpool union members went on strike for improved pay, conditions and for the right to belong to a union. Smaller strikes also occurred in London and Birmingham. Read more…

That’s the way to do it! Codman family member rekindles Punch and Judy memories

26 July 2019 by Kay

The name Codman’s Punch and Judy immediately conjures up memories for generations of Liverpool people. Many have laughed, cheered and booed at the show.

Codman’s Punch and Judy booth, previously on display in Wondrous Place gallery

Professor Codman first brought Punch and Judy to Liverpool in the 1860s. Codman’s theatre was originally located in Lime Street, then later at Williamson Square.

A member of the Codman dynasty, Paul Codman recently came to view items in the Museum of Liverpool’s collections related to the family business.

We have the original booth with proscenium arch,  Mr Punch, Judy, The Judge and Mr Crocodile puppets (previously on display in the Wondrous Place gallery and in The Museum of Liverpool Life), along with pamphlets and tickets. Seeing the objects brought back some strong memories for Paul.  As a 12 year old schoolboy in the early 1970s he helped his grandad Richard Codman and Uncle Ronnie to do the shows. They performed in schools, fetes and parks across the city in the summer holidays, including Newsham, Sefton and Walton Hall Parks. They also played at The Liverpool Show. He was paid a grand total of five bob a day. Read more…

1970s football fan culture in the picture

16 July 2019 by Kay

“Art College was a far more attractive idea than prison”

These fantastic artworks were recently kindly donated to the Museum of Liverpool. They were painted by Andrew Kenrick in the 1970s and evocatively capture football fan culture at the time. Andrew grew up in Hoylake and is a big Liverpool fan. He mostly painted these particular pieces whilst at Art College in London and when he worked as a teacher. He would travel back up to Liverpool for home games and attended away matches whenever he could.

Andrew tells us more about combining his love of football and painting –

“I always loved art and decided that Art College was a far more attractive idea than prison. I wasn’t evil or “off the rails” but had left a top academic school at 14 to live an alternative life. A couple of years travelling, hitch-hiking and sleeping rough enabled me to see the disadvantages of low paid jobs and the potential benefits of further education. I undertook a Foundation Couse at the (then) London College of Printing and then went to Hornsey College of Art to study Fine Art and History of Art. I painted and sculpted and became interested in the excitement of crowds and fights at football matches. Read more…



About our blog

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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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.