Hello Sailor!

Gay life on the ocean wave

This display has now closed

photo of sailor in drag

The former display Hello Sailor! looked at life on board passenger and merchant ships from the 1950s to 1980s, a time when homosexuality was illegal and for gay men there were few places to be safe.

Based on research carried out for the book 'Hello Sailor! The Hidden History of Gay Life at Sea' by Jo Stanley and Paul Baker, the display revealed a little known aspect of the history of the merchant navy.


Watch a short video of Jo Stanley talking about Hello Sailor! 

Exhibition themes

Follow the links below for further information about the key themes.

Tour information

The exhibition was originally shown at Merseyside Maritime Museum, before going on tour to the following venues:

  • Merseyside Maritime Museum, 25 August 2006 to 25 March 2007
  • Sea City Museum in Southampton, 13 April to 9 September 2007
  • Merseyside Maritime Museum, 22 September 2007 to 15 January 2009
  • Discovery Museum, Tyne and Wear, 28 January to 19 April 2009
  • Merseyside Maritime Museum, 16 May to 23 August 2009
  • The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour, 5 September to 29 November 2009
  • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Nova Scotia: 19 May to 27 November 2011
  • Merseyside Maritime Museum, 12 December 2009 to March 2019