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Shipwrecked whisky to go on display at Liverpool Maritime Museum

by Jennifer Cordingley. Published Tue 18 Jan 2011 15:16, last updated: 19/01/11
The bottle of Whisky from the SS Polititian
The bottle of Whisky from the SS Polititian

Two bottles of whisky recovered from a shipwreck 70 years ago has gone on display at Liverpool's Maritime Museum.

The scotch was salvaged from the doomed cargo ship, The SS Politician, which ran aground off the west coast of Scotland on 5th February 1941.

The ship, which had 28,000 cases of malt whisky aboard, had been bound for Jamaica and America.

Looters were punished by Customs and Excise for stealing the duty free drink which was a rationed wartime luxury.

The story of the wreck and looting of whisky by islanders is legendary and was immortalised in book and film Whisky Galore in 1949.

The two bottles, which were aquired by curators UK Border Agency Museum, will go on display to mark the 70th annirversary of the SS Politician's last voyage.

Amazingly, one bottle still contains whisky.

Dawn Littler, curator of Archives at Merseyside Maritime Museum, said: "SS Politician was a famous Liverpool ship.

"We are very excited to be telling her story because everyone remembers the film about her grounding."

Karen Bradbury curator of the Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered gallery at the Maritime Museum, said: "We are delighted to acquire these enthralling new additions to our collection.

"At the time of the stranding local Customs officers believed the looting was
theft because no duties had been paid on the goods as they were bound for export.

"Some of the residents who looted bottles from the wreck received prison sentences."

To coinside with the display, the museum resteraunt is serving up a special, Scottish menu.

Ben Sheeran, head chef at the Maritime Dining Rooms, said: "We wanted to evoke the spirit of Scotland with some fabulous traditional dishes from north of the border.

"We’ll also have a few wee drams of whisky available too."

The bottles are now on display and the special menu will be available from Saturday 22nd of Febuary.

For more information on the story of SS Politician go to:


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"Does the bottle have the words "No resale without Federal approval"? Bottles can be seen at the Politician Pub on Eriskay, Outer Hebrides." John Bingeman, Chichester around 4 years, 6 months ago

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