Titanic, Lusitania and the Forgotten Empress gallery
Three Liverpool tragedies
This gallery, on the first floor of the museum, tells the stories of three of the most famous and most tragic ships in history. Their names were Titanic, Lusitania and Empress of Ireland. Each was a proud symbol of Edwardian Britain. Each had strong links with Liverpool and its people.
The story of the most famous disaster is further explored on the second floor, in the current exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story.
The end of an era
In the early 1900s Liverpool was at the height of its prestige and influence. From the Pier Head you could see many of the biggest and finest passenger liners in the world. In the warm glow of the city’s 700th birthday celebrations in 1907 the future looked brighter than ever for the port and people of Liverpool.
They say that disasters come in threes. The sinking of the Titanic, Lusitania and Empress of Ireland all happened within three years, 1912 to 1915. Each was a major world event. Their combined effect on the port and people of Liverpool was devastating. In some ways, they marked the end of Liverpool’s Edwardian heyday. However, the damage they did to Liverpool was nothing compared to that caused by the First World War.
Some of the highlights from the collections, including the original 20 foot long builder’s model of the Titanic and a survivor’s lifejacket from the ill-fated ship, are on this website.
The display also includes a 19 foot model of the Berengaria, flagship of the Cunard fleet. She was originally the German liner Imperator and was handed over to Britain as part of war reparations – compensation for losses such as Lusitania.
The Maritime Archives and Library also hold a lot of relevant material about both ships, including the only surviving first class ticket for the Titanic. You can read more online, with information sheet number 41: RMS Titanic and information sheet number 42: RMS Lusitania.
The book Titanic and Liverpool is available to buy from the online shop.
There are regular free spotlight talks and roleplayer performances about the Titanic. Further details and upcoming dates are on our Titanic events programme.