The SS Politician ran aground off the west coast of Scotland on 5 February 1941 with 28,000 cases of malt whisky aboard. She had been bound for Jamaica and America .
People came in small boats from near and far to help themselves to the whisky a rationed wartime luxury. The story of the wreck and subsequent looting of whisky by islanders is legend and was immortalised in book and film Whisky Galore in 1949.
Now as the 70th anniversary of her last voyage approaches, two bottles of scotch salvaged from SS Politician are going on show. Amazingly one bottle still contains whisky. The whisky was acquired recently by curators UK Border Agency Museum.
Other artefacts from the Harrison Line vessel will be on display including a wage book and deck log recording the stranding.
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.
Seventy years after the ship met her end, there is still so much mystery and debate about the exact purpose of the voyage and looting of the cargo. Islanders felt they were entitled to the salvage while customs officers tried to stop the looting.
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 coincide with the SS Politician artefacts going on display and Burns Night (25 January), the restaurant at the Maritime Museum is serving up a very special menu.
From Saturday 22 January, The Maritime Dining Rooms will offer Scottish themed dishes including:
Scottish oak smoked salmon with capers, lemon mayo and whole meal bread.
Haggis neeps and tatties with whisky cream.
Raspberry Cranachan (toasted oats layered with whisky and honey cream and raspberries).
Burns Night celebrates the birthday of famous Scottish poet Robbie Burns who was also an excise officer based in Dumfries .
Ben Sheeran, head chef at the Maritime Dining Rooms said: To coincide with the SS Politician artefacts going on show we wanted to evoke the spirit of Scotland with some fabulous traditional dishes from north of the border. Well also have a few wee drams of whisky available too.