Wednesday, 22 July 2009


No, our engine hasn’t seized nor has the boat been seized by Customs and Excise but we have been through part of the Maritime Museum which is a display all about taxes, contraband and smuggling. With hands on displays to keep not only the kids amused but adults as well there is plenty to see,read and inwardly digest.

Liverpool 159 These guys are about to climb the building in the Bosuns chair.

Dating back to the 1700’s when Tea smuggling was all the rage as is tobacco, alcohol and drugs in today’s era the ingenuity of smugglers to evade tax was at times very inventive. There was the case of 16 steel box girders that were assembled in Europe but before the ends were sealed they were stuffed with 80,000 cigarettes and then shipped to the UK but somebody in Customs smelt a rat and had one of them cut open and bingo, what do we have here then? Anything from toys to ornaments and souvenirs they have all been used.

Liverpool 167 Modern Art and Old architecture in Liverpool.

One form of tax evasion that we don’t often think about is forged brand names in cosmetics,perfumes, toys, clothing and would you believe batteries. Duracell plus was the brand on display but they were not the genuine article. All of these are made with inferior ingredients and occasionally poisonous materials so buying cheaper products doesn’t always pay off.

Liverpool 168 Modern Art and New architecture in Liverpool.

The display about the Customs and Excise rummage squads who search ships and occasionally aircraft was a real eye opener in the fact that they are very much a self contained unit because if they get into difficulty the ships crew won’t help them. Crawling into small spaces were the air is foul or poisonous they have to wear a divers suit with an air line as air tanks on their backs would make it impossible to get into narrow passages. They also are trained in Fire Service rescue techniques so if they are injured on the job they can rescue each other. Not a job for the faint hearted.

Liverpool 155 Alone in Salthouse Dock

The last part was all about the 9 million immigrants that have passed through the port to America, Canada and Australia in the 18 & 1900’s. Many of these came from Europe to Hull or Grimsby travelled across England to Liverpool and sailed from there as it was cheaper than their home country ports. There was also a mock up of the accommodation that was provided in the old sailing ships in which these immigrants had to live for up to 16 weeks and it doesn’t bare thinking about. Perhaps the conditions in their homeland were so bad that they would endure anything for a better life elsewhere.

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