Pocket Number-16: SeaCity Museum, Havelock Road

34033903_10100615924966097_2168090621913333760_nSeaCity Museum is housed in the west wing of Southampton’s civic centre in a space previously hosting a magistrates court and police station. The courtrooms are now exhibition halls, and the prison cells, toilet facilities.

I met Lucy at the museum’s ticketing shop and explained to her about what I was doing – I asked her if she’d left her lunch on the bus that day. She hadn’t.

33846179_10100615924881267_4713842197814837248_nI gave her time to think about where/who to send me to next while I explored SeaCity Museum.

SeaCity’s main permanent exhibition, is ‘Southampton’s Titanic Story,’ telling about life and work aboard the Titanic, which made its ill-fated maiden voyage from Southampton in 1912.

Three quarters (715) of Titanic’s crew had links to a34066788_10100615924801427_3944692758593142784_n Southampton address. Most of them died when the ship sank, resulting in unprecedented local impact. Printed on the floor of one of the exhibition rooms is a city map, speckled with red spots marking all the households who lost a family member in the disaster. There is also a poignant montage of pictures of all the  crew members, with their name, age and job descriptions provided.

34123101_10100615924861307_827342217403170816_nIn the disaster room the story of the ship’s final hours is told by local survivors via audio interviews.

Included among the rescued artefacts on 33995425_10100615924816397_4396286347606753280_ndisplay is the pocket watch beloved by Laura. It belonged to steward Sidney Sedunary and is stopped at ten minutes to two, half an hour before the Titanic sinks. The watch was recovered from Sidney’s floating body by the crew of the Mackay Bennett, a few days after Titanic’s sinking.

33901957_10100615924631767_8552827049520136192_nTitanic isn’t the only maritime tragedy memorialised at SeaCity; also displayed is the large bronze bell from the troopship SS Mendi, wrecked off the Isle of Wight in 1917 after a high speed collision with a Royal Mail packet boat. The ship sank in under 20 minutes with a loss of 30 crew and 616 African troops

But the museum isn’t only about memorialising maritime34033199_10100615924242547_1954985945392480256_n disasters, a further permanent exhibition showcases Southampton’s maritime history and tells how the34123124_10100615924262507_2227634077115088896_n city grew 34105149_10100615924282467_253402164225900544_nacross the centuries as a result of the impact of trade and migration.

My tour through SeaCity finished at the museum’s temporary Game Plan exhibition, featuring  games from the 34101813_10100615925025977_8620764953877413888_nV&A’s national collection of board games. There I played a quiz34274742_10100615924132767_6926414125270564864_n to determine my “game face” – was I a sore loser, a gloating winner, a cheater, a distracted gamer or a goody two-shoes? I self-categorised as a ‘gloating winner.’

34123073_10100615924142747_7257500183317970944_nI returned to Lucy at the ticketing shop. Lucy had decided on where to send me. She told me to visit the John Hansard Gallery when it opens in May and gave to the assemblage the “game face” pin badge of a gloating winner.

Pocket Number 17: Iga at John Hansard Gallery >>

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