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Tours of pilot ship Edmund Gardner

Posted on Tuesday 25th June 2013
Picture of the Edmund Gardner ship in a dry dock

The Edmund Gardner

Rare chance to step aboard vessel on anniversary of launch

People can step aboard historic Liverpool pilot ship Edmund Gardner during a series of free behind-the-scenes tours this July and August.

National Museums Liverpool and Liverpool Pilot Service have also produced a new plaque that has gone up at the waterfront to mark the pilot service which began in 1766 and still operates today.

The Edmund Gardner is one of Liverpool’s most recognised vessels. Launched in 1953, she operated as a base at sea for pilots to meet inbound ships that needed guiding into the Port of Liverpool. Today modern pilots meet ships direct from shore in high speed launches.

Now conserved in dry dock by Merseyside Maritime Museum, Edmund Gardner is set to welcome visitors for free guided tours on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout July and August.

Tuesday 9 July will be an extra tour day, as it’s the 60th anniversary of Edmund Gardner’s launch.

The new tours are launched during the national Seafarers Awareness Week (24-30 June) which aims to raise awareness of Britain’s dependence on seafarers. As an island nation, we are still very dependent on food, fuel and raw materials imported by sea.

Visitors should book tour places in advance on: 0151 478 4499. People will be able to see what life was like aboard and also view never-seen-before footage of apprentices working on the Edmund Gardner in the late 1960s.

Ben Whittaker, curator Merseyside Maritime Museum, said: “We are delighted to offer free tours of such an historic and important ship. The tours are a great opportunity for people to find out about the rich history of the Pilot’s service which plays such a crucial role in the Port of Liverpool.”

Tours of Edmund Gardner take place during summer months as Canning Dock where she is berthed is not accessible at other times during the year.

The Edmund Gardner is the biggest object in National Museums Liverpool collections. The ship’s historic importance is recognised by National Historic Ships UK, which includes the vessel in its prestigious National Historic Fleet. She has also received the World Ship Trust’s award as an outstanding example of ship preservation.

More details about Edmund Gardner: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/edmundgardne

Edmund Gardner facts:

Ordered by Mersey Docks and Harbour Board July 1951
Cost: £200,000
Launched 9 July 1953
Powered by two six cylinder single acting 640bhp National diesel engines
Maximum speed 14 knots
Accommodation 54 crew
Length 54.1m
Gross registered tonnage 701tons (70100 cubic feet)
Retired in 1981 and became part of National Museums Liverpool collections a year later

About National Museums Liverpool 

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than three million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum (Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered), Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

 Merseyside Maritime Museum

Merseyside Maritime Museum is situated in the Albert Dock. The Museum tells the story of the great liners such as Lusitania and Titanic. Galleries include: Art and the sea, Emigrants to a New World, Battle of the Atlantic and Life at Sea. A major exhibition: Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story, explores Liverpool’s links to the ship and continues throughout 2013. Merseyside Maritime Museum is the second most visited museum in the country outside of London.