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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…

Etching the City

12 July 2019 by Megan

Last week we installed Whistler & Pennell: Etching the City at Sudley House. Alex Patterson, Exhibition Curator tells us more about the exhibition and what to look out for.

The exhibition was first displayed at Lady Lever Art Gallery in 2018. It was a great success and was seen by over 65,000 people. This amazing response encouraged us to share the exhibition with our Sudley visitors too. It is also a fantastic opportunity to see these works in a different context. Read more…

Painting by John Moores 2018 artist Pete Clarke added to the Walker’s collection

8 July 2019 by Andrew

Artist Pete Clarke in his studio

Artist Pete Clarke blogs about his painting doubt and distance… of lost content, which was exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery as part of John Moores 2018. It is one of two works from the show purchased by the Walker for its permanent collection. The other is David Lock‘s El Muniria.

Read more…

Family’s Blitz memories shared and displayed

5 July 2019 by Kay

Formal portrait photo of a smartly dressed young girl

Elizabeth as a child. Courtesy of Jean Phillips

As part of our exhibition Blitzed: Liverpool Lives we are gathering responses to the images and first-hand experiences featured in the exhibition.

Jean Phillips kindly contacted us via our Facebook page with information about her family in response to the photograph of Louisa Street, Everton. I have added this poignant information to the exhibition alongside the Museum label. Read more…

Moon explorations!

3 July 2019 by Patrick Kiernan

Image of the crescent of the moon

From the Dark Side – László Francsics

“O, swear not by the moon, the fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb…”

Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

Think about your living room. The items on a shelf, or a table. How often do you look at them, really look at them?

You know there’s a photo of you and a friend, or there’s a statue that Auntie Edwina gave you tucked in a corner. You know they’re there, but you’re so used to them that you barely give them a second glance. Could you, without looking, describe them? The colours, the pose, the material, or would you have to think really hard? It’s amazing how when we get used to something, we become blasé about it, not giving it a second thought.

We tend to do this with the moon. We know it’s there. Occasionally we might notice it when it’s bright and full, or if a story appears about a ‘super-moon’. How often do you look for it in the daytime? Or when it’s a thin crescent or a half moon? Read more…

My favourite ship in a bottle

27 June 2019 by Jen

Bottle containing small figure seated at a table making a ship in bottle

My favourite ship in a bottle from our collections. MMM.1998.72.16

There are so many beautiful ships in bottles (and indeed in lightbulbs, matchboxes, globes and other interesting alternatives) in our collections that picking a favourite isn’t easy. However there is one in particular that stands out to me which has just recently gone out on display. We have dozens of ships in bottles in our collections but the majority of them come from one source, a gentleman who collected and made these fabulous objects, Arthur George Maltravers (‘Jo’) Dashwood-Howard. It was one of his own creations that particularly caught my eye, a ship-in-a-bottle-maker in a bottle.

Model of a man making a ship in a bottle

Close up of the miniature model maker.

In this beautiful object we can see a little man sat at a table in a workshop, a tiny ship in bottle being worked on in front of him and a larger ship model on the workshop floor. If you look very closely, there’s even a tiny ditty bag bearing the initials ADH (Arthur Dashwood Howard), suggesting that the model is in fact a wonderfully unusual form of self-portrait. Dashwood-Howard has used his skill to portray himself at work on one of his wonderful miniature creations. Read more…

National Museums Liverpool flies the flag for Human Rights

26 June 2019 by Sahar Beyad

This year marks 70 years since the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It was drafted in 1948, with no more than 50 countries getting involved – and today, we have over 190 who have co-signed this much needed legal text. And never before has this been such a vital piece of affirmation, than now in present day. When there is so much uncertainty in the world. Whether it’s politics, war, and economy – we need voices to stand up for basic rights now more than ever!

I was so happy to learn that National Museums Liverpool was taking part in the anniversary of the human right declaration. This year, to mark the occasion, artist and activist Ai Weiwei designed the flag which seems simple and unassuming at first glance, but then inspecting in detail, the footprint, which has lots of tiny white dots, actually represents those who are fleeing conflict – who are often barefoot – with nothing but the shirt (if) on their backs. It was inspired by a recent trip he took to the Rohingya refugee camp – this therefore became the symbol of the human struggle.

Ai Weiwei with the flag he designed

Across National Museums Liverpool, we have an array of programmes, events and exhibitions that give the voiceless and voice, and portray images of unity, peace and demonstrate our efforts to strive for a better world. Read more…

What next for human remains collections at the World Museum?

19 June 2019 by Emma Martin

Emma Martin, Senior Curator at World Museum introducing the discussion with a copy of the Human Remains policy that is currently being reviewed. Left to right: Angela Stienne, Constantine Eliopoulous, Ashley Cooke, Ben Jones and Chrissy Partheni. Image by Donna Young

This is a guest blog by Angela Stienne (Science Museum, London) who recently chaired two public debates on human remains in museums at World Museum for the #WMWhereNext initiative.

On Friday 17 May, World Museum hosted two public debates on human remains in museums, as part of the LightNight Liverpool festival. The aim of these debates was to probe public opinion on the retention and display of human remains in museums through votes via smartphones, but also to engage the public in a convivial conversation on a very important topic for the museum: what next for human remains collections at the World Museum? I was invited by the World Museum to moderate the debate, as part of my Medicine Galleries Research Fellowship at the Science Museum, which focuses on human remains in the 21st century museum. I am here sharing some thoughts on this very inspiring and thoughtful evening, and what this means for the future of engagements with human remains in museums. Read more…

John – evacuee and media star!

18 June 2019 by Kay

Our new exhibition, Blitzed: Liverpool Lives brings together dramatic images of Blitz-damaged Liverpool alongside evocative spoken memories of people who experienced the aerial bombardment first-hand. One of those people is John McEwan. John grew up in Salisbury Street, Everton and was evacuated after his family had a very close shave. John’s is one of many interviews in our Liverpool Voices archive which I spent many hours listening to and selecting highlights to be included in the exhibition.

John was invited to our press call the day before the exhibition opened to be interviewed by the local media. Just before it began I had the pleasure of showing him around the exhibition. He listened to the audio of himself in the central ‘cinema area’ and read his quote I used to bring to life a photograph of children outside of bombed homes. It brought back lots of memories for him and he was an absolute pro, recalling many experiences for Radio Merseyside, The Guide Liverpool, Liverpool Echo, Culture Liverpool, Wirral Globe etc.

Read this transcript of John’s audio in the exhibition –
“My dad would be home on leave and he heard sirens and the blackout was on and he made his way home expecting to find my mother and the three children, Betty, Tommy and myself in the air raid shelter.   When he went to the air raid shelter we weren’t there. He then went to the house and my mum was under the kitchen table, or under the dining table, with the three children.   Obviously my dad was very concerned about this. I don’t know exactly what went on other than the fact that the decision was made to evacuate us.  My mother was also pregnant at the time with my younger brother Peter, who is a year younger than myself. And as a result the three children, myself, Betty and Tommy were evacuated to St Joseph’s Children’s Home in Freshfield near Southport, and that would be sometime in 1940, in around maybe the autumn of 1940. 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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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.