Seafarers' memoirs at the Archives Centre

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Lorna Hyland, Assistant Librarian at the Archives Centre at the Maritime Museum Archives shares this update:

Liverpool’s Literary Festival, “In Other Words” is now drawing to a close and as the festival celebrated the city’s reputation for producing much loved story-tellers, poets, authors and playwrights, I thought I’d mention the library at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.  

We have a wide selection of stories of seafaring life, some written about well known seamen and others published by the seafarers themselves.  Sailors have traditionally been viewed as great ‘spinners of yarns’. They lived interesting lives, travelling to exotic (and not so exotic) places often being caught up in extraordinary events.

Our library collection of seafarers’ memoirs includes gems such as the memoirs of Violet Jessop. Published under the title Titanic Survivor, the book provides an insight into the everyday working life of a stewardess on a large liner, as well as Violet’s personal experience of the sinkings of Titanic and Britannic. 

In Life is a four letter word, Nicholas Monsarratt tells the real story of his Battle of the Atlantic experiences in the Royal Navy, whilst in the book, Tramp Steamers at War, the slightly less well known George Gunn recalls his experiences as a young man on the tramp ships of the North Atlantic convoys of World War II. 

From sail to steam, Commodores to apprentices, we have memoirs covering a huge spectrum of seafaring life. So if you want to read a good ‘yarn’ about life at sea, come down to the Archives Centre's reading room.  I’m sure we’ll have something to suit your tastes.  The Archives Centre can be found on the second floor of the Maritime Museum, check our Visit page on the website for opening days and times.