Podcast: Episode 11 - Scandal

Provocative, intriguing, and perhaps salacious – it’s hard to resist a story about a scandal. In episode 11 of the National Museums Liverpool Podcast we explore scandalous stories, each with their own unique link to the museums and Liverpool.

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Scandal: Lift the lid on scandalous stories throughout history and the present day

What constitutes a scandal? Salacious secrets, moral ambiguity or simply breaking the cultural norm? The word can cover all these things and more. We'll explore different types of scandals, discovered in our collections and from Liverpool today.


"Who owns art?"

Art is often a source of controversy, as artists strive to push boundaries. But why did a portrait of Lord Leverhulme cause international outrage? Local musician and podcast host, Natalie McCool, spoke to curator, Alex Patterson, to reveal the scandal that blew up around this painting from the Lady Lever Art Gallery's collections.

Detail of portrait of man
Detail of 'Portrait of William Hesketh Lever' (1851-1925) by Augustus John, 1920. Oil paint on canvas.
© the Estate of Augustus John/ Bridgeman Images courtesy of National Museums Liverpool


"It was a passionate affair between the two"

Literature is no stranger to scandal, with some books even being banned from entering the country due to their content. In this story, artist Kat Plumb and  curator Steve Butler explore the scandalous history of  'Lady Chatterley's Lover', inspired by a ledger from the Seized! collections. This story contains adult content.

Lady Chatterley's Lover book cover
Judge’s copy: the copy of the novel belonging to the judge in the case was acquired by Bristol University in 2019. By courtesy of the University of Bristol Library Special Collections DM2936, photograph by Jamie Carstairs., CC BY-SA.


"...like having a fight in a pub"

In July 2021, Liverpool was stripped of its World Heritage status, a scandal that was heavily debated by local people and the national press. We hear from three people in the city, to explore the legacy of this decision: Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, Professor Michael Parkinson from University of Liverpool and Editor-At-Large at The Liverpool Post, Robin Brown.

Portrait photo of a man with a beard
Robin Brown, Editor-At-Large for The Liverpool Post



Host: Ellie Field
Stories by: Natalie McCool, Kat Plumb and Ellie Field
Production partners: Melodic Distraction
Post-production: Rory Ballantyne
Editorial Lead: Lisa Jones
Creative Director: Scott Smith