The Ulster Queen, Woodstock, East Belfast.
Liverpool’s history is littered with forgotten and untold stories. I have eluded to some of these in past posts but today’s blog is one I only became aware of through my work with Stuart Borthwick.
We have started a Kickstarter project to raise funding for his brilliant book about the political wall murals of Northern Ireland – of which more later. The photograph and text below are from the his book The Writing on the Wall:
Liverpool has always been an outpost of Ulster loyalism, with a number of active Orange Order and independent loyal lodges. On 12 August 1971, three days after the introduction of internment, a report in the Liverpool Echo informed readers that supplies of food were being stored locally in preparation for “refugees from Ulster”. Although that day’s newspaper informed readers that no Northern Irish citizens had arrived on that date, a report the next day informed readers that a group of around 90 “Protestant women and children” from Springmartin in West Belfast had arrived on the Ulster Queen ferry at 6.30am, and were welcomed by members of the Liverpool Grand Lodges. The following day, a further 39 children and eighteen adults arrived from Springmartin and the Shankill on the Ulster Prince ferry “to escape sniper fire and threats of violence” (Liverpool Echo). By 17 August, the Echo put the number of evacuees at 35 – a figure later increased to 500 in a parliamentary debate a month later.
The dramatic mural shows the close connection between Northern Ireland and Liverpool and is just one of 150 examples illustrated in The Writing on the Wall. Stuart Borthwick’s book is the first major publication that looks at their context as a chronology of Northern Ireland’s troubled history as well as cultural expression of international importance and unique to the country. Please help fund the project if you are interested (or just to look at further images). The project is live on Kickstarter and all support is greatly appreciated.