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Way to go

Posters of Liverpool shipping liners go on show

Published on February 28th 2014.

Way to go

THE days when Liverpool liners ruled the transatlantic wave are, sadly, long over but they remain in light in many glorious and exotic posters that advertised their services.

You will rarely go wrong if you buy a print of one, as a gift from the Merseyside Maritime Museum shop, but to see a fuller range is rare.

Now curators at the Albert Dock venue are preparing will show a little bit more leg.

Sail Away: Liverpool Shipping Posters opens on 16 May and contains 14 posters used between 1880 and 1997 to publicise transatlantic travel. 

Early posters show matter-of-fact departure times from the Pier Head to Canada and America when ships were simply a means of getting from A to B. 

The exhibition looks at different eras including a golden age of sea travel in the 1950s; a time when people boarded liners to relax and unwind as cruising became popular. All the posters are from the Merseyside Maritime Museum collections and many are on display for the first time. 

Ian Murphy, Deputy Director, Merseyside Maritime Museum: “This exhibition is a fascinating insight into the way shipping companies advertised their services and shows how Liverpool was a gateway to the world. 

“It’s interesting to see the different roles shipping lines played over a period of 120 years. In the 1880s, posters simply stated destinations and times. Thirty years on shipping posters were giving different messages – about emigration, golden opportunities and a fresh start in the New World.

Cunard Golden Prospects Copyright National Museums LiverpoolCunard Golden Prospects Copyright National Museums Liverpool

“The latter images in Sail Away: Liverpool Shipping Posters give visitors a glimpse into a golden age and the romance of ocean travel.” 

The exhibition comes a time when Liverpool is enjoying its busiest year ever for cruise travel, say organisers: to be more precise, 48 ships and 64,000 passengers. 

One of the more colourful and exotic posters in the exhibition is from 1935. Blue Star Line’s Arandora Star to South Africa, Java, Malaya, Ceylon and Egypt. The poster depicts the vessel berthed alongside palm trees swaying in a tropical paradise. Another, advertises Ellerman’s City Line to India. A majestic liner portrayed with a backdrop of the Taj Mahal. 

The exhibition will also explore the artistry and style of individual designers and illustrators like Kenneth Shoesmith, Dorothy Newsome and Odin Rosenvinge using original artworks from the collection. 

Elder Dempster National Museums LiverpoolElder Dempster National Museums Liverpool

Blue Star Poster 1935 - National Museums LiverpoolBlue Star Poster 1935 - National Museums Liverpool

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