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Posts tagged with 'maritime archives and library'

A glimpse into the life of a historic seafarer for World Mental Health Day

10 October 2018 by Jen

Logo compromised of a lifebelt and phone receiver to look like an old fashioned phone with text giving the e-mail address for SeafarerHelp

SeafarerHelp run a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families, offering support with whatever issues they may be facing. You can find a link to their website at the bottom of this page.

Earlier this year I wrote about a romantic story from the journals of young Captain William Porter, from the 1860s. He was dearly missing his wife, Bess, when he discovered, weeks out to sea, that she’d hidden a letter to him among his belongings.

This sweet story about William and Bess was not however what had drawn me to the journals in the first place. It was a rather less happy strand to his writing that had caught my eye on the summary transcript. I had been researching in the Archives for historic references to struggles with mental health, or simply the loneliness and isolation we know are often a part of life at sea. In the summary for William’s journals there were certainly mentions of loneliness, but also repeated references to worry about a variety of things and a note of a New Year’s Eve entry that particularly spoke about his state of mind. Read more…

Centenary of Mersey ferries’ daring Zeebrugge raid

19 April 2018 by Jen

Black and white photograph of two Mersey ferries

The Mersey ferries Daffodil and Iris II at Dover soon after the vessels returned from the Zeebrugge Raid © IWM (Q 18888)

Anyone who’s looked out across the Mersey in the last couple of years has probably noticed the very colourful Mersey ferry Snowdrop in her fabulous dazzle-inspired livery. Designed by Peter Blake to mark the centenary of the First World War, it is reminiscent of the Dazzle camouflage used by thousands of ships in the conflict. If you step on board and visit the display co-curated by National Museums Liverpool you’ll discover that when the Mersey ferries played their own role in the war, their livery couldn’t have looked more different to the spectacular Dazzle. Read more…

A story of female friendship and survival

7 March 2018 by Jen

Back and white photo of a large two funnelled liner, the City of Benares

City of Benares, Maritime Archives & Library, MMM collection, reference MCR/61/371 (copyright unknown, believed to be expired)

When I first started to think about women’s stories we could spotlight this year for International Women’s Day there was one in particular that instantly came to mind. I’ve blogged before about the sinking of the Ellerman liner, City of Benares. Torpedoed mid-Atlantic in 1940 while taking child evacuees to Canada, it’s one of the most heart-rending pieces of research I’ve ever carried out. As always with such tragedies though, the larger story is made up of hundreds of smaller, more personal, ones. Beth and Bess are one of these stories. Read more…

A Valentine to seafarers

12 February 2018 by Jen

Off-white tile with red printed design showing a woman embracing a sailor with sailing ship in the background.

British Delftware tile, ‘The Sailor’s Farewell’, from National Museums Liverpool’s Decorative Arts collection – M2234 i

Here at the Maritime Museum our curatorial team are busy researching the content for our new Sea Galleries, looking at the lives and experiences of seafarers. I’ve become particularly interested in the effects of separation from one’s family and home, and have been reading through a collection of journals in the Maritime Archives kept by a Captain Porter in the 1860s aboard his ship the Jamna. Read more…

Can you help tell the untold stories of Black seafarers?

19 January 2017 by Rebecca

Archive photo of the crew on board a ship, including a Black seafarer

The ship and crew of Moel Eilian, c1889. Merseyside Maritime Museum, Maritime Archives and Library (reference DX/1328)

Hello, I’m Rebecca Smith, Curator of Maritime Art at the Merseyside Maritime Museum and I’m currently working on the forthcoming exhibition Black Salt, which will tell the story of the Black seafarers who have worked on British ships.

Sailors of African descent have been part of crews sailing from the United Kingdom for at least 500 years, but their contribution to the country’s maritime identity is often marginalised or overlooked.

Building on research carried out by Dr Ray Costello for his book Black Salt, the exhibition will put the often hidden story of Britain’s Black seafarers in the context of 500 years of life at sea. Read more…

Movember 2016

24 November 2016 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of crew members of the ship Lusitania

Photograph of crew members of Lusitania, Cunard Line, taken in New York, 1910 (Maritime Archives and Library reference DX/1055).

I almost made it through November this year without mentioning Movember – the month of charity moustache growing. So many men have massive facial hair at the moment that I sometimes wonder who would notice if they grew a moustache.

But the charity’s mission is still an important one, so we are highlighting our gallery of moustache images from the collections of the Maritime Archives and Library on the Merseyside Maritime Museum website.

And then I came across this photograph Read more…

Hot off the Press: Black Panther Newspapers arrive at the International Slavery Museum

31 October 2016 by Sarah

One of the newspaper issues.

One of the Black Panther Intercommunal News Service newspaper issues. Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool

October is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party and Black History Month in the UK. So, what better time to announce our acquisition of twenty one copies of the ‘Black Panther Intercommunal News Service’ than today?  Read more…

Liverpool and the American Civil War

12 April 2016 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of Captain Semmes on board the ship Alabama, 1863.

One of our rare photographs taken on board the Liverpool built Confederate ship Alabama, 1863.

This week sees the anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War on 12th April 1861.  At first glance not a topic that has much to do with Liverpool.  However, because of the economic and global environment of the time, especially the importance to Great Britain of cotton, Liverpool played a major role in the conflict. Read more…

Picture Palaces of Liverpool

8 April 2016 by Anne

Black and white photo of cinema

Paramount, London Road (1934)

The Reel Stories exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool focuses on original film posters and memorabilia to celebrate Liverpool’s role in films over the past 60 years. Alongside this, the exhibition also includes a large panel which reproduces a selection of Stewart Bale images that highlight some of Liverpool’s and the surrounding area’s, more sumptuous picture palaces of the past; built in the hey-day of cinema-going, these buildings often matched the glamour of the silver screen, with many constructed in the sleek lines of modern Art Deco architecture. Read more…

Boaty McBoatface and other unusual ship names

28 March 2016 by Sam

sketch of a ship in the river Mersey

Sketch of the unpronouncable Tyrrhenia leaving Liverpool by EW Barrett, 26 January 1924. Accession number 1987.118.4.14

Just across the river from Merseyside Maritime Museum, Camell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead has produced many well-known ships over the years – HMS Ark Royal and Mauretania II to name just two. However a ship is currently being built there which is arguably more famous than any of these – quite an achievement when it isn’t due to be launched until 2019. But then this is the £200million research vessel that the British public want to call Boaty McBoatface. 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.