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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.

Tales from the city review

18 September 2018 by Laura

Record

Vinyl Record, ‘Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood’

Liverpool University media student, Hannah, reviews our exhibition, ‘Tales from the city’: 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…

Discovering Hispanic Liverpool legacies – The Perez family

29 August 2018 by Kay

Woman in garden

Rosario in the green house at Buena Ventura. Image courtesy of the Perez Family.

Recently we held a successful ‘Hispanic Liverpool’ drop-in event at the Museum of Liverpool in partnership with the University of Warwick. Read more…

Happy Birthday Liverpool!

28 August 2018 by Matt

Did you know that Liverpool can celebrate its birthday on a specific date?  Not many places in the UK can do that!  As we gear up to celebrate, Fay from our education team tells us more: Read more…

The Chinese Labour Corps – ‘Labour conquers all’

9 August 2018 by Karen O'Rourke

Men

Chinese Labour Corps Image: W J Hawkings Collection, courtesy of John de Lucy

At the eastern side of Anfield Cemetery, there is a strip of land where the Liverpool Chinese community are buried. Given that Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese Community in Europe, these graves are hardly a surprising sight. What is surprising perhaps, are the five small white Commonwealth War Graves clustered together in the middle. They are the graves of men from the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) who died in Liverpool in 1917 and 1918. Lui Feng Hsiang, the last of the five men to be buried, died 100 years ago today (Thu 9 Aug). Born and raised in China, how did these men come to be buried in foreign soil so far away from home?

Read more…

Sugar, tea and pottery – new archaeology displays at Museum of Liverpool. Part 1/2

6 August 2018 by Jeff

Tea pot

Teapot from Paul Scott’s ‘Cumbrian Blue(s), The Cockle Pickers’ Tea Service’

The Museum of Liverpool’s archaeology team have put together two new displays of pottery which may look very different but on closer inspection have interesting connections.

One is a display of ‘Cumbrian Blue(s), The Cockle Pickers’ Tea Service’ by artist, Paul Scott. Made to commemorate the Chinese cockle pickers killed in Morecombe Bay in 2004 and modern slavery, it also links to Britain’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The second display, in the Atrium case on the ground floor, shows some of the huge quantities of sugar refining pottery recovered in 2007 from the site of the Museum, before it was built. Read more…

Reminders of Liverpool’s lost castle

30 July 2018 by Liz

castle model in museum display

Model of Liverpool Castle in the History Detectives gallery at the Museum of Liverpool © Mark McNulty

When visitors to the Museum of Liverpool reach the first floor, they’re often surprised to be greeted, right at the top of the stairs, by a model of a castle! Castles possibly aren’t something you especially associate with Liverpool, but the town did have one from around 1235 to the 1730s.  Read more…

Mauretania – the glory of the Mersey

27 July 2018 by Ellie

Saturday 28 July 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the launch of  Mauretania, the second Cunard liner to bear the name – the first having enjoyed a long and successful career. She was built at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead, and was the largest transatlantic liner built on the Mersey.

Church service for Mauretania

Image courtesy Cunard

On Monday Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth was here in Liverpool, and I was fortunate enough to attend a service at St Nick’s to celebrate this anniversary, organised by Liverpool Parish Church in partnership with Cunard and Cammell Laird. 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.