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The Vote Road Trip: Days 6 and 7 Liverpool

Mary Bamber, A Revolutionary Woman

8/1 We are reveling in the fact that we are staying put for two nights. Liverpool is wonderful and interesting. We walked to the dock where there are wonderful views and excellent museums. The Museum of

Liverpool, an architecturally stunning building, has a small suffrage exhibition with a mosaic sculpture by Carrie Reichardt and Nick Reynolds of Mary Bamber, A Revolutionary Woman. A suffragist, socialist, trade unionist, and social worker, Bamber was known as one of the “finest and fiercest platform speaker in the country.” The base is tiled with the names and deeds of her sister suffragettes. (Click on a picture to enlarge it.)

Serendipitously we discovered another powerfully emotional exhibit in the museum, Double Fantasy: John and Yoko, a chronicle of their life together and quest for world peace. Next we went to the nearby Tate Liverpool to see the astonishing-in-its size exhibition of the pop art and graffiti-like work and activism of the artist Keith Haring.

Untitled by Keith Haring

8/2 We started the day at St. George’s Hall, a massive building with a magnificent, three-story high main room with an extraordinary tile and mosaic floor, and a grand organ. We went to the top balcony to view the awesome space. In 1908, the local Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage held a demonstration and set up speaking platforms for suffragists and suffragettes. Inside, in May 1909, Mary Phillips hid in the organ loft, stayed awake for 24 hours, then disrupted a ceremony, protesting the arrest of a local suffragette Patricia Woodlock.

St. George’s Hall and young Queen Victoria statue

The nearby Wellington Column was the site of many suffrage demonstrations.

Wellington’s Column


Walking back to the docks, we spent hours immersed in the building that housed two museums: the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum. Opened in 2007 to mark the bicentennial of the Slave Trade Act that abolished the slave trade in the British Empire, the Slavery Museum was fascinating and painful. The Freedom! sculpture took my breath away. It was created from recycled objects—metal car parts and raw junk— found in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, by young Haitians and sculptors Eugene, Céleur and Guyodo from Atis Rezistans, in collaboration with Mario Benjamin, an internationally renowned Haitian artist.

The Maritime Museum had excellent exhibitions on the Titanic and Liverpool; the Lusitania; and the War in the Atlantic, i.e., the German Navy’s ruthless attacks—U-boats (submarines), mines, surface warships, armed merchant ships, and aircraft—on  British and its allies’ merchant ships. I was fascinated to learn about those topics from the British perspectives. The images and artifacts were excellent. The Children’s Ship display told this story: Over 250 people, including 81 evacuee children (on their way to safety in North America) drown when a U-boat torpedoed the City of Benares on September 17, 1940. Mary Cornish (bottom image), a London music teacher was awarded the M.B.E. (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, i.e. for “chivalry”) for tending to six boys during their eight-day ordeal in a crowded, open lifeboat.

We ended by bumping into a statue of the Beatles by Andrew Edwards with a mob of people taking turns posing for a photograph. I had a great time taking pictures of the various poses. Another accidental discovery was the plaque to “Diana Princess of Wales,” located on a low wall outside our hotel.

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