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This story of Liverpool’s docks will be told time in a brand new exhibition at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, called On the Waterfront, opening on Wednesday 25 November 2015.

Liverpool’s docks transformed the fortunes of the city. Their story is a 300–year journey that turned a small, regional port into one of the world’s great maritime centres.

Marking the 300th anniversary of the city’s Old Dock - the world’s first commercial wet dock– this exhibition covers the period from the 18th century up to the present day. Personal stories show how the waterfront has changed and the impact it has had on the city and the lives of local people.

In addition to stunning photographs of waterfront workers and buildings throughout Liverpool’s history, visitors will be able to see the first-known painting of Liverpool; the itinerary for Prince Albert’s visit to the city to christen the Albert Dock, and a register of vessels showing the first ship using the new Albert Dock in 1846, in addition to huge dock scales used to weigh cargo.

A section dedicated to the Three Graces will include reproductions of two newly donated Stewart Bale images of the Cunard building under construction, which have never been displayed before. They show the construction of the iconic Liverpool building during World War One and one of the photographs, dated 1913, is now the oldest image held by the Museum within its Stewart Bale collection.

The exhibition also recognises 21st-century changes to the waterfront including another National Museums Liverpool’s venue, the Museum of Liverpool. Opened in July 2011, this Museum revived the area as the bridge between the Albert Dock and the Pier Head, allowing people to walk the length of the city’s waterfront to take in not only the Museum of Liverpool but attractions including the Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum and Tate. The Museum of Liverpool has received more than 3.8 million visitors since first opening, and became England’s most visited museum outside of London in 2012.

Ian Murphy, Deputy Director, Merseyside Maritime Museum, said:

“The landscape of Liverpool’s maritime heritage is now a defining symbol of the city and forms part of its World Heritage Site. On the Waterfront is a record of the changing fortunes of the port, the city, and its people. It’s an important story and we are delighted to be able to tell it on the historic 300th anniversary year of the opening of Liverpool’s Old Dock, the world’s first commercial wet dock.

“Merseyside Maritime Museum itself was once a warehouse for high value goods like tea, silk, sugar and spirits in the Port of Liverpool’s Albert Dock - a powerhouse of industry. While Liverpool’s docks relocated downriver towards Seaforth, the building fell into disrepair as part of the wider decline and fall of the city’s traditional docks.

“But in 1986 the building reopened as the Merseyside Maritime Museum – the first public building to open at the dock -starting the renaissance of the waterfront, and becoming the venue we know today; one of the most visited museums in the region. This building is a perfect encapsulation of the story we are showing in the wider exhibition - the changing fortunes of the docks - and we are proud to be opening it here”.

Sue Grindrod chief executive of Albert Dock Liverpool added:

"The heritage of Albert Dock is rooted in its life as a thriving hub at the heart of the Port of Liverpool, almost 170 years of history is in the walls of these grade I listed buildings. The Dock remains today a thriving place to live, work and play at the centre of the developing Liverpool Waterfront and we welcome the addition of Waterfront 300 to share in the journey of this much loved Dock.”

Ian Pollitt, Development Investment Surveyor, Peel Holdings (Land and Property) Limited said:

“The city's docks are famous around the world and we look forward to seeing the new exhibition which I'm sure will be fascinating.

“Anyone who visits the city understands the key role the docks play in today's Liverpool. That role is set to grow in importance as we continue to make the most of the city's best asset: its waterfront”.

Published in Historic Boats

#diasporamuseum – The governement has altered course on plans for a national emigrant museum because it fears a backlash from rejected bidders ahead of the general election, according to a report into today's Sunday Business Post newspaper.

Inspite of a drawing up a plan to draw 300,000 visitors annually to a new national facility  the government is now aiming at smaller regional museums instead.

Dun Laoghaire and Cork harbour were among sites considered in the plan. Both ports had advanced amibitious plans for a national diaspora project. 

The Port of Cork's Company's Custom House and Bonded Warehouse buildings located along the city's central quays, were to be converted into a major €15m museum that will tell the story of Ireland's emigration.

In Dun Laoghaire on Dublin bay, port chief executive Gerry Dunne made the case for a diapora centre in the South Dublin port town at a gathering in the House of Lords in London in January 2013. The museum, to be located on the town's Carlisle Pier, forms a major part of the harbour's regeneration plan. 

Published in News Update

The ship that captured the world's imagination when she was raised from the seabed in 1982 now has a museum built around her, reuniting the ship for the first time with all its contents and crew.
The most comprehensive collection of Tudor artefacts in the world will be showcased - from personal belongings such as wooden eating bowls, leather shoes, musical instruments and even nit combs complete with 500-year-old lice through to longbows and two tonne guns.

The new Mary Rose Museum will open to visitors today, 31 May 2013, at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – the very same dockyard at which the warship was built over 500 years ago.

The historic opening is today (30 May) marked by a symbolic event, following the journey of the ship's bell - the last artefect to be installed - in to the new Museum. The day-long event will feature a host of Museum ambassadors including historians Dan Snow, David Starkey and presenter Sandi Toksvig. Highlights will include a wreath-laying ceremony at the wreck site, a flaming arrow volley by period-costumed Tudor archers from Southsea Castle (the place where Henry VIII watched the sinking of the Mary Rose) and a Tudor festival, culminating in a revealing of the new Museum from behind a giant Tudor Standard flag, set to a fanfare from the Royal Marines Band.

Located just metres from Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory and the ships of the modern Royal Navy, the new museum provides one of the most significant insights into Tudor life in the world and from the new centrepiece to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The Mary Rose is the only sixteenth century warship on display anywhere in the world.  The ongoing £35 million heritage project to build the new museum and complete the current conservation programme on the ship and her contents has received £23m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The HLF has been an ongoing supporter of the Mary Rose and, in addition to its £23m investment, has awarded a number of other grants totalling £9.5 million over the past 18 years.

The opening marks 30 years since the year the hull of Mary Rose was raised from the Solent in 1982 and 437 years after she sank on 19 July. The ship sank in full view of King Henry VIII while leading the attack on a French invasion fleet during the Battle of The Solent.

The new museum finally reunites the ship with many thousands of the 19,000 artefacts raised from the wreck.  The excavation and salvage of the Mary Rose created a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology and remains the largest underwater excavation and recovery ever undertaken in the world. Each object in the new museum - from human fleas to giant guns - was raised from the seabed and carefully conserved through a groundbreaking process that is still ongoing.

For the first time, visitors will be able to see the facial reconstructions of seven members of the ship's crew based on forensic science and osto-archaeology on their skulls and skeletons found at the wreck site. Faces will be displayed beside the crew members' personal belongings, providing an insight into their status, health and appearance.

The new museum, led by Wilkinson Eyre Architects (architect) and Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will (architect for the interior), was built around the hull of the ship. The building takes the form of a finely crafted wooden 'jewellery box' with the hull at its centre and galleries running the length of the ship, each corresponding to a deck level on the ship. Artefacts are displayed in such a way to provide visitors with an insight into what these decks would have looked like moments before the ship sank.

Artefacts – including the skeleton of Hatch, the ship's dog – are arranged in galleries by theme to help reveal some of the personal stories of life on board. Examples include:

Meet a carpenter, cook and an archer – find out more about members of crew and unique objects found with them as well as their own personal belongings, see their faces revealed for the first time
Life on board – see the fine pewterware of the officers, musical instruments, books, accessories and clothing through to simple leather sandals, nit combs and even rat bones as hundreds of objects are laid out to be explored
Realities of life – through  DNA research, precise reconstructions and through the careful use of human remains, the harsh reality of Tudor life is revealed – including the skeleton of an archer with the repetitive strain of pulling huge longbows still etched on his bones

The historical context of the ship is set and the mystery of why she sank explored.  The Mary Rose, one of the first ships able to fire a broadside, was a firm favourite of King Henry VIII.  Her first battle was in 1512 and her then captain noted she was 'The noblest ship of sail'.  When she sank on 19 July 1545, she had just fired a broadside and was turning. Theories range from French fire to her being overweight with cannon and troops. Her loss, and that of the estimated 500 crew (no more than 35 survived), was witnessed by the King from Portsmouth's Southsea Castle and deeply troubled the nation.

The science behind the ongoing conservation work and underwater tales of salvage is highlighted, detailing the world leading archaeology pioneered through the care of the ship and the painstaking work to discover more about Tudor life.

The groundbreaking building design has created a special environment to protect the unique and priceless 16th century artefacts and hull, and also displays them in a manner that enables visitors to experience the ship in the best possible way.  Conservation work on the hull is in its final phase in a 'hot box' with fabric ducts directing, in a highly sophisticated pattern, dried air at exact temperatures across all parts of the hull.  Visitors will be able to see the hull through a series of windows giving different aspects over and around the ship.  Once drying is complete in 4 to 5 years time the internal walls will be removed and the hull will be viewed through nothing but air – further enhancing the visitor experience and the connections between the hull and the artefacts.

The ongoing work with the hull and care of other artefacts requires visitor numbers and the environment to be carefully controlled.  In order to achieve this tickets for the museum are time and date stamped.  Visitors choose the time and date of their visit and can plan their day in Portsmouth and the Historic Dockyard visiting the Mary Rose Museum at the time on their ticket.

Visitors can explore the Mary Rose's connections across the historic city of Portsmouth.  Not only was the ship built in the dockyard where she now rests, many of her 500 crew would have lived locally, the grave of the Mary Rose Sailor is at Portsmouth Cathedral and King Henry VIII watched her sink from Southsea Castle.

John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust said: "When the Mary Rose was raised from the muddy waters of the Solent in 1982, the founding members of the Trust had a dream to put the ship and her contents into a permanent museum.  It has been a long and difficult passage since then to achieve this aim.  The technical challenges of conserving the hull and 19,000 artefacts have been very considerable, and the funding challenges equally so.  The dedication and determination of those engaged in this vital project have steadily brought the dream into reality, and today marks a truly significant milestone in the ship's 500 year history."

Lincoln Clarke, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard said: "The opening of the Mary Rose Museum is a great moment for Portsmouth, its completion both putting the city and its  Historic Dockyard firmly on the map as the place to explore British naval history and further underpinning the area's offering as a visitor destination. 500 years ago the Mary Rose was built in Portsmouth; today she continues to support people who live and work in the area by attracting visitors from around the globe."

Bob Bewley, Director of Operations at the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) said: "The Heritage Lottery Fund has been a long-term supporter of the Mary Rose Trust and its work.  Our major investment has helped convert years of painstaking archaeological endeavour into an amazing historical experience which is a fitting commemoration for all who lost their lives on that fateful day back in 1545.

"What I love about this new museum is that it brings to life the multiple stories of the sailors who lived and worked on the ship.  Thousands of unique artefacts, so perfectly intact that it's almost impossible to believe they're over 400 years old, have been brought together under one roof for the first time.  And thanks to the cessation of spraying on the hull, visitors can now see the vessel in all her glory.  As one young visitor has already observed 'It's like walking into a history book'.  What an absolute triumph!"

Historian Dan Snow, ambassador for the new Museum said:  "The story of the Mary Rose has fascinated people for generations. This tremendous new Museum housing together for the first time the hull of the ship and its many treasured artefacts will give us a sense of what life was like on aboard a Tudor ship like never before, helping to preserve the history of the Mary Rose for generations to come."

Sandi Toksvig, comedienne and Chancellor of Portsmouth University said: "The new Mary Rose Museum is one of the most exciting history projects ever to open in the UK. It is so wonderful to see the crew that fated the ship honored in such a wonderful way. As you walk through the length of the ship you don't just see what life was like for a Tudor seaman, you feel as though you are experiencing it as well. At last the men of the Mary Rose can stand tall and tell us their story. It is a privilege to hear it."

Ticket information
There are two types of tickets for the Historic Dockyard.
An all attraction ticket includes the new Mary Rose Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, National Museum of the Royal Navy, Action Stations and a Harbour Tour and adult tickets are £26; child £19.75; concessions £24.25 and family (2 adults/seniors and up to 3 children) £72.

Single attraction tickets for just the Mary Rose Museum cost £17 adult; £12.50 child; £16 concessions and £47 family.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

#SAR – Force 10 storm, zero visibility, 40ft waves, someone needs rescuing. It's time to go to work. Search and Rescue, the new blockbuster exhibition from National Maritime Museum Cornwall invites you to enter the world of the rescue services where ordinary people lead extraordinary lives, risking their life to save yours.

Opening on 16 March, the exhibition takes you on an interactive, stimulating and emotive journey into the role of the maritime rescue services, celebrating the work of the RNLI, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, HM Coastguard and other organisations.

Objects of epic proportions include a 70ft Sea King helicopter, kindly loaned by the MOD, one of the Museum's most ambitious installations. Uniquely painted in the colours of both the Royal Navy and RAF Search and Rescue (SAR) services (red and grey one side and yellow on the other) it offers you the rare opportunity to climb inside, without having to be rescued. Dress as a pilot, listen to accounts from the crew and from those that have been rescued, explore their lifesaving equipment and discover the world of the Royal Navy and RAF SAR teams.

Revisiting rescues from the past, some well-known and some untold, this exhibition showcases the individuals whose job it is to head into the eye of the storm, when most of us would flee. The exhibition traces the evolution of rescue equipment from the early days of Henry Trengrouse's rocket line to the cutting edge equipment of today and shows that although the equipment might have changed, the determination and grit of rescue men and women to save lives has never changed.

At the heart of the exhibition is an interactive coastguard operations room. Put yourself in the coastguard hot seat, make the life or death decision to bring in the right service for the rescue and begin your journey through the incredible work and lives of the coastguard rescue, air and sea rescue teams.

Get up close to one of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboats and see a fascinating assembly of the charity's collection boxes spanning 150 years. Take to the beach and become a virtual lifeguard, climb aboard a quad bike and take action to make sure the swimmers and surfers are between the right flags. See real seaside rescues and listen to accounts from volunteer crewmen and women.

Ben Lumby, Exhibitions Manager of National Maritime Museum Cornwall, says: "This is our biggest and most ambitious exhibition to date but more importantly it is the first time anyone has celebrated the maritime rescue services in this way."

"Working with these incredible teams has been a true privilege; they have kindly allowed us to see inside their world and shown us they're real people doing an amazing job. They belong to different organisations and charities but work as a team and you can be safe in the knowledge that if things do go wrong at sea, there's a service that will be there for you."

The new Search & Rescue exhibition at National Maritime Museum Cornwall opens on 16 March. Honouring the work of the heroic men and women who risk their lives at sea and around our coast, it invites you to be part of their world and shares their lives with you.

Throughout the two year life of the exhibition there will be a number of events including air sea rescue demonstrations, 'meet the crew' days and opportunities to climb aboard an RNLI all-weather lifeboat. To keep up to date with what's on when, visit

Published in Coastguard
Event bookings are already being taken for the new Titanic visitors' centre due to open next spring in Belfast.
The €114 million Titanic Belfast is being contructed on the Belfast Lough site where the infamous cruise liner was itself built more than 100 years ago.
The building will feature a state-of-the-art interactive museum, including a special 'flying theatre' where visitors will be suspended above a giant cinema screen.
It also boasts the Titanic Suite, an opulent function area over two floors high in the roof of the structure that will replicate the interior of the ship's first class banqueting room.
Billed as the largest function area in the region, it will have space for up to 1,000 guests for a whole variety of events, from conferences to weddings to gala dinners.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Event bookings are already being taken for the new Titanic visitors' centre due to open next spring in Belfast.

The €114 million Titanic Belfast is being contructed on the Belfast Lough site where the infamous cruise liner was itself built more than 100 years ago.

The building will feature a state-of-the-art interactive museum, including a special 'flying theatre' where visitors will be suspended above a giant cinema screen. 

It also boasts the Titanic Suite, an opulent function area over two floors high in the roof of the structure that will replicate the interior of the ship's first class banqueting room.

Billed as the largest function area in the region, it will have space for up to 1,000 guests for a whole variety of events, from conferences to weddings to gala dinners.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Belfast Lough

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