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Bob Wilson sent in this photograph of a miniature model of the famous Politician , Harrison Line. The model is not from a kit and was completely hand built by Bob, who served in the Merchant Navy from 1961-1992.


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Decades of waiting for recognition of Britain's worst ever maritime disaster finally came to an end when the Scottish Parliament decided to recognise the victims of the sinking of the cunard ship The Lancastria First Minister Alex Salmond handed out medals in a simple ceremony in the Scottish Parliament.

The troop ship Lancastria was sunk off the French coast by German bombers on Monday June 17, 1940, with the loss of more than 4000 lives – more than the combined losses aboard the Titanic and Lusitania and the worst single loss of life for British forces in the whole of the Second World War.

For more information visit click here to visit now


Until the 1960s the ship was the only way to cross the Atlantic for many people. One of the main UK departure ports was Liverpool. Two of the greatest Atlantic shipping lines, Cunard and White Star, were based in the city. At the height of their popularity the lives of thousands of people on Merseyside were linked with the Atlantic liners, as passengers, crew, employees and suppliers. The type of people that travelled on the liners varied immensely. They included immigrants sailing to a new world, American tourists returning from Europe and famous celebrities heading to Hollywood.

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The S.S. Celtic is (postcard) pictured at the landing stage in Liverpool when this White Star liner was in regular service sailing from Liverpool. When the Celtic was launched on April 4, 1901 she was the first of the class known as the 'Big Four'. She was delivered July 11, 1901 and made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on July 26, 1901. Until 1903 the Celtic was the largest ship in the world. In September 1904 she carried 2,957 passengers westbound. At that time that was the largest number carried by the company. On August 4th, 1914 she was taken over at Liverpool for war service. In 1919 she was returned to her owners and In January 1920 she resumed the Liverpool to New York service. Her passenger accommodation had been altered to: 350-1st Class, 250-2nd Class and 1000-3rd Class. Liverpool has played an important role as the port of departure for millions of people seeking new lives in the New World countries of USA, Canada and Australia. Passengers, some of whom were emigrants or indentured servants, were carried regularly to North America and the West Indies from about 1660 onwards. In the 19th century thousands of emigrants from the British Isles and mainland Europe left from Liverpool. The establishment of regular sailing packet lines from 1818 and the huge demand for North American timber and cotton as raw materials for British industry led to well established transatlantic links, and emigrants, along with British manufactured products provided a useful return cargo. Such were the numbers of emigrants, that it has been estimated over nine million emigrants sailed from Liverpool bound for a new life in the US, Canada and Australia.

Liverpool was, by far, the most important port of departure for emigrants from Europe because, as well as its established transatlantic links, Liverpool was well placed to receive the many emigrants from the countries of north western Europe, such as Scandinavians, Russians and Poles who crossed the North Sea to Hull by steamer and then travelled to Liverpool by train. Irish emigrants crossed to Liverpool by steamship, and the Irish potato famine further increased the demand for passage from Liverpool. Until the early 1860s most emigrants left Liverpool on a sailing ship. The voyage to the US and Canada took about thirty-five days and to Australia ten to seventeen weeks. Most emigrants travelled in the cheapest accommodation, known as the steerage chartered vessels. From the 1860s the situation began to improve as steam started to replace sail on the transatlantic route and the voyage time was reduced to between seven and ten days. Most early steamship lines, including Cunard, refused to carry emigrants until the 1860s, but as competition increased between the lines sailing from Liverpool to the new world countries, emigrants were actively recruited through passenger agents in the UK and Europe. The steamship companies often looked after the emigrants during their stay in Liverpool, with their representatives meeting the emigrants on their arrival in Liverpool. Competition between the steamship companies also helped to improve conditions on board ship for the emigrants, when from about 1900 third-class cabins began to replace the steerage accommodation. There are a number of records online, for inward vessel passenger lists from 1878 to 1960 at and for outward passenger vessel lists from 1890 to 1960 visit


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What a wonderful river the Mersey is, a river that changed so many lives. The Mersey is one of the world's great rivers. It was fundamental to the industrial revolution. As trade developed with the Americas and the West Indies it was the river Mersey that enabled Liverpool to become the second most important port in Britain. In the British Empire's heyday, Liverpool's port was the gateway to the rest of the world. At the height of the port's activities, the Port of Liverpool served more than 20,000 ships per year. The port of Liverpool was home to a large number of shipping lines and company's that traded both locally and internationally. Some of the famous shipping line names that made their home in the port of Liverpool including Blue Funnel, Brocklebank, the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company, Cunard, the National Line, the Pacific Steamship Navigation Company and the White Star Line. We feature photographs of ships on the river Mersey and would like to hear from website readers who may have memories and or photographs of the ships they or members of their family sailed aboard.


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Members of the British Titanic Society marked their first annual convention to be held in Liverpool (21st-23rd April 2006), by laying a wreath at the city's Pier Head, Titanic memorial. The wreath commemorates the 94th Anniversary of the sinking of the Liverpool-owned White Star Liner, then the world's largest ship on the night of 14th-15th April 1912.

The convention was held at Liverpool's famous Adelphi Hotel and featured exhibits and ocean liner memorabilia, which was open to the public on Saturday 22nd April.

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For more information about the convention visit


The history of Liverpool's great shipping lines epitomizes everything that the Victorian age stood for - family dynasties, business acumen, investment, risk taking and entrepreneurial skill. Men of vision identified market trends and gaps in provision of shipping services throughout the world. The River Mersey was once filled with ships sailing to and from ports all around the world and the names of the shipping lines was something almost all Liverpool people new. They could also identify a shipping line from its funnel colour and or design. How many Liverpool people would have imagined that the shipping scene would change so dramatically and in such a short space of time. How many former Liverpool seafarers would have thought that so many of Liverpool's great shipping lines would never sail into and out of the port and as such their association with Liverpool would just be the subject of history books.

Many Scottie Press website readers will instantly recall the shipping lines' Brocklebank, Cunard, Blue Funnel, Booth, Elder Dempster, Ellerman & Hall Line and Lamport & Holt. They will also remember that these shipping lines had vessels that became legends of the sea.

We would like to hear from website readers who may have memories and or photographs of the ships they or members of their family sailed aboard. We would also like to hear from former dockworkers who may also have memories and or photographs of the ships, in and out of, they may have loaded or unloaded cargoes. Such information as we receive will be featured on this webpage of the Scottie Press website and will serve to provide current and future generations with an understanding and appreciation of Scotland Road's role in Liverpool's maritime history.


Dear Scottie Press, Over the past few months I have received several enquiries about whether there will be another Caronia Re-union. From those people who have attended those organised by Peter Jelley in the past, the desire expressed is that there should be one final one held while there are still enough people around to make it viable.

At every opportunity that's presented itself from direct conversations it looks like there is still enough interest to support such a gathering. Valentine's Day, 14th February 2006 will be the 60th anniversary of RMS Caronia's keel-laying at John Brown's yard. So, I don't think that we can let the first Caronia Diamond Anniversary pass without something being organised to celebrate it.

At this point I'm still making enquiries and doing the basic research. What I'd really like to get a handle on as soon as possible is the probable numbers of people likely to attend. While this is aimed mainly at the crew members, through this medium we can probably make contact with many others who had connections with the ship. I'm thinking of those who were involved with her building in Scotland and her maintenance in Liverpool, Southampton and Belfast.

If you, a member of your family, would like to attend, please post a message in the Caronia Forum Once you have done this, please make a point of visiting here regularly for progress news. The venue will be probably be in either Southampton or Liverpool, and either during May or June 2006. If sufficient interest is shown, we could probably have one in Liverpool as well as in Southampton!

I have created a dedicated topic in the Caronia Forum for you to register your interest. Please don't overlook this because if there are insufficient numbers to attend, the event won't happen!

I want to emphasise that this will not be limited to just former crew! If you or a member of your family had any connection with the RMS Caronia, and you would like to attend, then do please register your interest as soon as possible.

Could I please ask you to help me advertise this as widely as possible. If there is someone you know who was involved with the Caronia at any time, please tell them. If you are a webmaster, can I invite you to help also?

Many Thanks, I'm hoping that this will be a memorable event!

Steve (Peter S.)
Caronia II Timeline Webmaster
Caronia II Timeline


The announcement of the first British Titanic Society Convention in Liverpool (April 2006) is a key time to revive the former White Star Building’s name and properly identify the Pier Head’s Titanic Memorial.
Albion House Titanic Memorial

After the merger with Cunard Line in 1934, White Star’s James Street headquarters became surplus and passed to Pacific Steam Navigation CO, eventually becoming Albion House. It was designed by the leading architect Richard Norman Shaw and is similar to his New Scotland Road building. White Star Line (actually Oceanic Steam Navigation Co) was created over a game of billiards at Broughton Hall, West Derby, one of Liverpool’s great merchant mansions (now a school). The main partners were Thomas Ismay and William Imrie, backed by the German financier Gunther Schwab with ships built by his nephew Wolff, co-founder of Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

In 1902, White Star was bought by International Mercantile Marine Co (IMM) backed by the US financier J Pierpoint Morgan. Approaches are being made to J P Morgan Invest to back the renaming of Albion House to White Star Buildings.

Pictured above are two plaques, which are placed on the outside wall of Albion House in James Street.

Mosaic Map of South America

Also pictured is the mosaic map of South America, which can be viewed in the entrance hall of Albion House.

The Pier Head’s Titanic Memorial is considered to be the most historically significant memorial of the 900 over the world. Yet it is reckoned that not many people realise this as it does not have the word Titanic on it. Efforts are being made to have this memorial properly identified.

We welcome hearing readers thoughts on these proposals
please email


St Nicholas’ Church Gardens

The Scottie Press is keen to record the known and unknown aspects of Liverpool’s shipping history and heritage. We feature photographs of St Nicholas’ Church Gardens. St Nicholas is the Patron Saint of sailors and is regarded as the guardian of seamen proceeding on their voyages. Consequently the Parish Church of Liverpool is often known as the Sailors Church. St Nicholas’ Church has been rebuilt several times since its foundation in medieval times. Until 1767 when a dock was built where the Liver Buildings now stand, at high tide, the River Mersey reached the wall, which encloses the garden.

James Harrison Remembrance Plaque

1849 saw the last burials and the Churchyard became a public garden in memory of James Harrison whose company had offices facing the garden. In 1892 a Deed of Faculty was granted for the laying out of the graveyard as an ‘Ornamental Ground’ by forming walks and making beds of shrubs or plants surrounded with turf. The newly laid out garden was given into the care of the Corporation of Liverpool. It is today designated a Protected Green Space and is part of the Castle Street Conservation Area. The planting, which incorporates maritime species, is designed to withstand strong salt laden winds and to provide interest throughout the year.

St Nicholas’ Church Gardens Maritime Artifact

The churchyard acts as a focal point for maritime artefacts including a memorial to those who died in the Russian Murmansk Convoy 1944 -1945 and the Arctic Campaign of 1941-1945 amongst others. In recognition of the high standards attained, the Garden has achieved and sustained Green Flag status from 2002 to 2006.

(1836 1906)

William Imrie

Efforts are ongoing to give a greater recognition to William Imrie, once known as “the Prince of Ship owners” who lies forgotten in a churchyard in Halewood, his name on the burial stone, fading with the passing seasons. William Imrie was born in 1836. His father also William, was partner in the firm of shipbrokers called Imrie & Tomlinson who were based in Rumford Street, Liverpool. William Imrie went on to work for this firm which also took into it’s employment a young Thomas Ismay who was the son of Joseph Ismay who was at this time a shipbuilder and timber merchant.

In 1856, Thomas Ismay decided to experience the sea and he sailed to Chile and as such period of separation followed before the younger William Imrie and Thomas Ismay were reunited. This came about in 1869 at a dinner in Broughton Hall, West Derby, at which it was decided they would form a partnership, which would lead to the creation of the famous White Star Shipping Line. On 27TH August 1870 the White Star Line was to launch the first of four new steamships which were built by the Belfast Ship Building company of Harland and Wolff.

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William Imrie was to live long enough to see this Liverpool shipping line launch many luxury liners including the RMS Germanic (built 1875) and the RMS Oceanic (built 1899).

RMS Titanic 1912

He was not however to live to see perhaps the White Star Line’s most famous luxury liner the RMS Titanic (built 1912)

In 1869 Thomas Ismay was in business by himself running ships to Australia. When William Imrie’s father died in 1870 the Imrie & Tomlinson business was transferred to TH Ismay and Company. This joint venture was to be called Ismay, Imrie and Company and was the parent company of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company Ltd which was the White Star Line’s official name.

At this time William Imrie was living in the Hermitage, Hayman’s Green, West Derby Village.

Holmstead House Strudwick Painting

In later years as he excelled in business he moved into the even grander Holmstead, Mossley Hill, Liverpool. This house was seen to be a place of refined good taste. Holmstead contained many fine examples of art including paintings by Strudwick of who William Imrie was a generous patron.

In 1872 William Imrie and his wife Hannah adopted the daughter of William Pollard.

Amy Elizabeth Imrie

The baby girl born, Amy Elizabeth Rosalie Pollard was to become better known as Amy Elizabeth Imrie as she was responsible for funding (in 1910) the building of St Mary of the Angel’s Church, Fox Street, Liverpool 3. Amy herself went on to enter the Convent of Poor Clares at Hertford, an order of nuns dedicated to the memory of St Francis. Amy also gave the family home in Mossley Hill to the Poor Clares to become their first Convent in Liverpool.

William Imrie was, himself, a deeply religious person. This found expression in his financial backing for, and devotion to St Margaret’s Church on Princes Road, Liverpool 8, and the numerous charities around the city, which he supported anonymously. It is recorded, however that he had true compassion for the poor and he gave financial support to the Seaman’s Orphanage in Newsham Park.

St Margaret's Church St Nicholas's Church

When William Imrie died in 1906 a service was held at St Margaret’s church and his body was laid with that of his wife in the family plot in the graveyard of St Nicholas Church in Halewood.

In April 1944, Amy Elizabth Imrie died in a Poor Clare’s convent in Cornwall, and with her going it seems that William Imrie, ‘Prince of Ship owners’ faded from memory. But it is hoped that this can be corrected in 2006, which will be the 100th Anniversary of William Imrie’s death.


Billy Bell in the Galley Cunard Seamen in New York
Cunard Line Seamens Card

We regret that a section of this webpage has been lost through technical problems - and we have only been able to locate and restore three of the original photographs which we think were provided by Billy Bell.

We would be very grateful if readers could send any memories and or photographs they may have of when they sailed aboard ships of either the Cunard or White Star Line or when the shipping line was called Cunard White Star.


 'Adventurer'  'Barrister departing'
 'Adventurer in Mombassa'
 'Interpreter'  'Custodian'

Our thanks go to David Ashton for sending the Scottie Press some photographs of Harrison Line ships. David tells us that back in the 1960s he sailed on a few of the Harrison ships out of Liverpool and had a total of ten good years at sea.

We welcome hearing from other readers who may have photographs of the ships they sailed on out of Liverpool and we will include them on our 'Links With Maritime Museums' webpage - click here to access this webpage now.

Princes Landing Stage

Pictured at Liverpool's Princess Landing Stage are two Canadian Pacific Ships. Readers who may have sailed aboard Canadian Pacific ships may be interested in a website that features photographs and information about a variety of Canadian Pacific ships. You can access this website if you click here.

You can also access photographs and information about ships of the Canadian Pacific Line and other shipping lines if you click here.

Cammell Laird, one of the most famous names in British shipbuilding during the 19th and 20th centuries came about following the merger of Laird, Son & Co. of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co. of Sheffield at the turn of the 20th century. Between 1829 and 1947, more than 1,100 vessels of all kinds, including the Wivern, Bidston, Almeda Star, Ark Royal and Mauretania were launched on the Cammell Laird slipways into the River Mersey.

Wivern Bidston
Almedar Star
Ark Royal Mauretania

After an extensive search for moving footage of this world famous shipyard at work a video of this shipyard has at last been compiled. How Cammell Laird served the nation through two World Wars up to the tragic day when Lairds was finally shut down. The story of the yard is also told through the voices of the men who worked at Lairds.

You can order this video through

We would be very interested to hear from former employees at Cammell Laird who may have photographs of ships and or staff which we could feature on our Projects section 'Links With Maritime Museums' webpage. Readers who are interested in the history of Cammell Laird can access archive material through


Opportunities for thousands of future jobs in port related activities could be created if Mersey Maritime is successful in projecting the Merseyside's maritime industry as an international centre of excellence for every aspect of maritime trade and services.

This initiative will have an enormous beneficial impact on the economy and image of Merseyside. Mersey Maritime draws together the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, the Port of Garston, Manchester Ship Canal, shipping lines and around 500 businesses and services across the region that thrive as a result of Merseyside's maritime activities. Between them they employ more than 6,000 people and inject £1.3billion pounds into Merseyside's economy.

These major port and shipping interests are set on ensuring Liverpool becomes a leader among the great ports of the world and thus create 1,000s of jobs. To achieve this, Mersey Maritime will build upon the unique heritage, expertise and experience of the port of Liverpool.

It is recognised that there is a massive skills gap in the UK's marine sector. Mersey Maritime will give Merseyside a nationally-acclaimed training institute to provide Merseyside people with the necessary skills and training to fill this gap.


Formed in 1826 by George Brown - becoming T&J Harrison when Thomas and James Harrison joined in 1830 the HARRISON LINE was one of Liverpool's most successful shipping lines. By the time Thomas and James Harrison died in the early 1980s the Harrison Line was well established as one of the world's strongest shipping lines and would go on to be the last privately owned UK shipping line. In it's long history the Harrison Line had more than 100 ships, from the early days when it carried brandy from France, to the days when world wide trade was dominated by bulk carriers and container ships.

Sadly the Harrison Line suffered as a result of world wide recessions and disappeared as an independent business in 2002. Fortunately, many of the company's most interesting documents and photographs have been donated to the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The Scottie Press would very much like to hear from former Merchant Navy men and women who may have photographs of Harrison Line ships and or memories of trips they had on board one or more of the shipping line's vessels. We picture below "The SS Politician".

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We would be particularly interested in hearing from men and women who live or lived in the Scotland Road area' We would also like to hear from Harrison Line seafarers who had reason to visit Scotland Road when in the port of Liverpool. Jack Brotheridge has told us that during the Second World War some Harrison Line routes were chartered out to other shipping companies. Jack sailed on one such route whilst sailing on the SS Flaminian (Ellerman & Papyanni Line). His nine month voyage took him to the Caribbean and South America.

E-mail your photographs and or memories to


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We thank a regular reader of the Scottie Press Community Newspaper and Website for providing two photographs of HMS SCORPION - a British Saumarez Class Destroyer.

The photos were taken whilst HMS Scorpion was part of a British Convoy to Russia in 1945. The photograph below clearly shows the weather conditions experienced by the British Navy.

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We welcome receiving photographs for inclusion on this webpage to enable the articles portray the maritime history of the Scotland Road area.


We thank Tommy Miller for allowing us to print extracts from his book 'Pier Head Jump' which is an account of his seafaring days. We also Thank Tommy for enabling us to use photographs from his book. Tommy only boarded the Empire McDermott to get some ciggies. His subsequent adventures took him from Liverpool to the four-corners of the world and back again.

A Pier Head jump was once a common thing and the term applied to wherever on the line of Liverpool's docks it happened. 'Landlubbers' thought it applied to those who jumped on the ship as it set sail. In practice, it only happened when a seaman failed to join the ship and someone happened to be there to take his place. On Saturday 2nd March 1947 that someone was Tommy Miller.

On leaving St Philomena's School Tommy began working for the Co-op in Warbreck Moor for the princely sum of one pound five shillings a week. Tommy had been employed at the Co-op for six weeks when on Friday 1st March 1947 he came home in the evening to find his older brother, John, packing his sea-bag. John was a married man with three children and he and his family lived off Scotland Road. John told Tommy that if he got himself down to the docks tomorrow John had some ciggies for his dad.

After a hard days work Tommy arrived at the Main Gate of the Alexandra Dock his access to the dock barred by an enormous policeman. Tommy could hardly say he'd come to see his brother who had a few hundred ciggies for his dad. Instead, thinking quickly he said he had an order on his bike for the ship. Being allowed through the dock gates Tommy made his way to find the Empire McDermott. Eventually Tommy found himself at the foot of the gangway and leaned his bike against a lamp-post. Tommy explained that he was looking for his brother John. Luckily his brother was within shouting distance and a seaman on the gangway called Tommy on board.
Fateful events then took place at an alarming rate - the Empire McDermott was ready to set sail for Monteal and the Deck-Boy hadn't turned up - the Bosun asked Tommy if he wanted his job? "You've got about five minutes to make your mind up", the Bosun said.
Tommy's mind was in a turmoil. For one thing his bike was still on the quayside, and he had £3.10.6d. in his pocket belonging to the Co-op. Before he could he could move the order came crackling over the tannoy...."Let the gangway go".... and the next thing that Tommy knew the Empire McDermott was steaming up the River Mersey.

This was to be the start of seafaring days for Tommy that lasted from that fateful day in 1947 to 1964 and saw Tommy sail on no less than 50 different ships.

These ships included,

Empire McDemott, Derryheen, Inventor, Fort Musquarro. Bantria, Beaverburn, Esso London, Zungeru, Alca, Potaro, Debtett, Denbigh Coast, Cabano, Mary Kingsley, Assyria, San Cirilo, British Supremacy, City of Cardiff, Smaria, Reina Del Pacifico, Sarmiento, Parthia, Paraguay, Empress of Scotland, El Mirlo, Florian, Franconia, Nova Scotia, Carinthia, Hyala, Media, Accra, Tamele, Hemsley, Scythia, Imperial Star, Maltecian, Reina Del Mar, Elmol, Empire Gaelic, Media, Britannic, Changuinola, Obopo Palm, Sylvania, Empire Nordic, Flaminian, Andania, Zent, Anselm, Cptic, Tewkesbury, Crystal Diamond, Arabia, Oremina, Empress of Canada, Venetian, Pizzaro, Ocean Transport, Chuscal, Beechmore.

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Bosun and Crew Samaria 1953

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Captain and Crew Franconia 1956

Tommy Miller's book recounts his experiences on board many of these ships. Tommy's book was published in 1996 and copies are available at Liverpool Libraries.

You can also purchase copies of the book at the
Liverpool Connection Book Shop,
Bluecoat Chambers, School Lane,
Telephone 0151 708 6123.


A for the anchor which hands from the bow
B for the bowsprit which weathers the blow
C for the capstain we merrily man
D for the davits from which our boats hang
E for the ensign which floats from our peak
F for the Fo'c'sle where sailors sleep
G for the galley where coffee smells strong
H for the halliards we hoist to a song
I for the iron which will some day rust
J for the jackstay to which we must trust
K for the kulsan so far down below
L for the lanyards which stand a good blow
M for the mast so tall and so stout
N for the needle that points the way out
O for the oars which we bend with a will
P for the pinnacle which seldom will fill
Q for the quarters where officers pace
R for the ratlins up which we all race
S for the staysails so narrow but strong
T for the topsails which send us along
U for the union 'neath which we all sail
V for the vane which streams out to the gale
W the wheel where we stand to our time
And the last three letters
Won't come into rhyme!"

Our thanks go to Tommy Miller for providing permission to print The Sailing Ship Alphabet which features in Tommy's book 'Pier Head Jump'


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The Scottie Press is trying to establish internet links with Maritime Museums around the world. There is a legendary tradition of marine history surrounding the Scotland Road area and we seek to promote this history and enable this history to be accessed by people right round the world.

In order to achieve this we seek help from former seafarers who might like to help the Scottie Press establish an internet webpage dedicated to the "Marine History of the Scotland Road Community."

If you were from the Scotland Road area and were in the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy please contact the Scottie Press.

We would also like to hear from seafarers who sailed in or out of Liverpool and who visited Scotland Road whilst in port.

Contact Ron at the Scottie Press,
Telephone 0151 298 1544 or email

We feature below some maritime photographs from the Scottiepress archives.

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Shipbuilding has always played a big part in the lives of people from the Scotland Road area pictured below are two photographs taken in the Cammel Llairds Ship Yard many of the people in the crowd in our first picture are from the Scotland Road area. If recognise yourself or anybody from our photographs please let us know at the above address.

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Dear Scottie Press, Some years ago I wrote a short story called 'The Night Watchman' The story is a tale about a former ship's stoker who in later life was employed as a night watchman aboard ships berthed in the Liverpool docks.

I based my story on my father's time as a ship's fireman (stoker) and I am very pleased to read that you have included a webpage on your website that can help former seafarers recount their experiences. Many of these experiences can never be repeated as much has changed since the days of coal fired boats. I was very pleased to read on your projects webpage LINKS WITH MARITIME MUSEUMS the letter from Jack Brotheridge. I recently met up with Jack to talk over his times at sea. I hope that you can include on your webpage some memories that jack and I evoked about the historic maritime city of Liverpool.

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Liverpool can trace its maritime history back to King John in the 13th Century. It was however in the 1800s when Liverpool reached its great height of importance as a seaport. There would be many hundreds of sailing ships berthed in the Liverpool docks after travelling from ports all around the world as the port of Liverpool became the second port of Britain. This prominent position was enhanced with the onset of steam and in the late 1800s the river would be a mix of 'sail and steam'.

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The Merseyside Maritime Museum situated in the Albert Dock complex has a comprehensive record of the history of the port of Liverpool. It would be better for the purposes of this letter to focus the letter on memories that Jack and I have of the sights and sounds of the river mersey.

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Jack was born in 1920 in Litherland. He lived less that 800 yards from the docks and his earliest memories are of the fog horn ' Barny's Bull' on the Gladstone Dock . This would signal a warning to ships coming and going - up and down the river. When Jack was 8 years of age he remembers that the river Mersey was frozen up in parts and all the ships were cased in ice, particularly on the masts and riggings. In 1939 Jack applied to join the Royal Navy but eventually signed on as a Merchant seaman in March 1940. His first ship was the Mardinian - an Ellerman & Papyianna ship that took Jack away from Liverpool on a voyage that lasted 4 months. This first voyage was the prelude to six years of sea going for Jack with a variety of shipping companies including, Blue Star Line, British Tanker Company, Athol Tanker Company, Baron Line (Hogarths). Many of the ships Jack sailed on at this time were parts of convoys from Halifax Nova Scotia. Jack also sailed aboard a Liberty Boat the Ocean Vespa that took him into the war fronts of Anzio, Malta and North Africa. His occupation was a ships carpenter (deck department) and he had to perform many feats of skill to ensure that the ships were seaworthy. Jack told me that on one voyage from British Guyana to Norfolk Virginia the waves were '4 to the mile' reaching up to 70 foot high. Can you imagine this? and can you imagine that Jack had to secure items of rigging, derrecks and hatch covers whilst his ship the 'Flaminian' was awash - the 'well decks' taking green seas over the rails. The Flaminian was just 2,000 tons and bobbed about like a cork.

The Flaminian was coal fired with a crew of 35 including 6 firemen and 3 coal trimmers. This memory of Jacks brought vividly to my mind just what my father would have endured during his 25 years at sea. He joined the Merchant Navy (then the Merchant Service) in 1917 at the age of 17. His first trip being the 'Coffee Run' to and from South America. Very often he was away from home for periods of over 3 months and sometimes 6 months.

Although he often took me down to the docks to show me the ships, he never took me 'down below' and it was not until 1960 when as a ship's carpenter I stepped foot into a ship's engine room and more emotionally the stoke hole. I can always remember the heat and I have great admiration for those men who worked 30 or 40 foot below the water line firing the boilers. Their period of time spent shovelling coal into the 6 or more greedy furnaces often reduced them to states of exhaustion few today could imagine. It was as a result of this hard work that my father's health deteriorated. He left the sea in 1942 'burnt out' and died aged 66 in 1966. For the last 10 years of his life he sought employment as a 'Night Watchman' - hence the origin of my story. My story is a tribute to those men just like my father who were the muscle of the engine room.

In my conversation with Jack Brotheridge we agreed that ships firemen spoke little of their voyages due to the fact that they were either 'down below' working or in their bunks sleeping. My father never spoke much of his work at home and for my story based somewhat on his life I obtained information on the technical side from a ship's chief engineer named Jim Pearce.

This is why both Jack and I feel that this webapge can be a very interesting and important means of recording Liverpool's Maritime History. The experiences and stories of former seafarers can be a great source of historic research material that can assist those who wish to record the life and times of ships and seafarers of and from Liverpool. It will also hopefully be a means of encouraging seafarers to record their sea going experiences for the interest and enjoyment of others from those times.

Jack and I wish you every success with your project.
Yours sincerely,

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