Leader of the pack.

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Large pilot boat model being admired by two young children

The Leader model. Copyright National Museums Liverpool

The Merseyside Maritime Museum has a fantastic ship models collection from the grand Titanic/Olympic/Britannic builder’s model to the delightful ships in bottles, which always continue to fascinate me.

Whilst researching the early models, I came across the Leader which has a very impressive history as being one of the first ship models to be acquired into the museum’s collection in 1862. The model was made by Captain W. Hudson who was the Leader’s first master.

The Leader was a Liverpool Pilot boat who were employed to assist incoming and outward bound vessels to the Port of Liverpool, helping ships navigate through the powerful tides and challenging sandbanks. The pilot boat provided excellent knowledge of these conditions and also the complex dock system. 

The Liverpool Pilots were widely recognised for their sailing abilities. On 8th February 1881 the Leader led a fleet of twelve vessels safely over the Bar at the entrance to the River Mersey, through very challenging conditions. This incident was widely admired and the Leader continued in service until 1896.

The largest object in the museum’s collection is the Edmund Gardner Pilot Ship. Tours of the Edmund Gardner are still running every Thursday and Saturday until the end of September, to book a place ring 0151 478 4788.

On the second floor in the Art and the Sea gallery, just outside the Titanic & Liverpool: the untold story exhibition is the White Star Line model display featuring models from the Merseyside Maritime Museum collection.

Bye for now.