Act One: From the Ashes
On the 17th March 2020 National Museums Liverpool shuttered the doors to its venues for an unspecified amount of time for the first time since 1941 when the German Luftwaffe caused a huge fire in what is now known as the World Museum.
The parallels between the two crises are explored here by Laura Pye (Director of NML), Ashely Cooke (Lead Curator of Antiquities), and Emma Chaplin (Director of the Association for Independent Museums).
Ashley explains how the museum was kept open to act as a sanctuary to the people of Liverpool, soldiers and refugees during World War II. This blitz spirit is echoed during the current crisis by museums and galleries opening their gardens to the public and acting as vaccination centres.
We’ll also hear how, although thousands of items were lost during the fire of 1941, the truly remarkable curator of antiquities at the time, Elaine Tankard, pioneered a new archiving system, kept spirits up and helped to rebuild the entire collection.
Ashley Cooke also details how a replica of one item that was lost in the fire is hiding in plain sight in St George’s Hall.
- The Sculpture of Nebamun lost during the fire
- The replica at behind the statue of Joseph Mayer at St George's Hall
Act Two: We Shall Not Be Moved
Paul Lambert MBE and Rev. Peter McGrath tell the incredible tale of the Derbyshire Family Association’s fight for justice. In 1980, 44 people died during the sinking of the Bridge Class bulk carrier, MV Derbyshire. Peter’s brother Paul Lambert was the youngest member of the ship’s crew.
The association stood up to successive governments and huge corporations in the fight to find out what happened to their loved ones.
This story is taken from a video you can see when we re-open, or now in our Virtual Tour of the Maritime Museum’s Life on Board gallery.
More on the MV Derbyshire
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Host: Jane Garvey
Produced by: Daniel O’Connor
Post Production: Onomatopoeia Post Production
Artwork: Saffa Khan
Theme Music: Big Giant Circles