Tracking down U-534 was the order of the day on Sunday. We had previously seen the boat at the Warship Museum in Birkenhead. Since then it has been cut up and transferred to somewhere else. All I knew was that it was the ferry port in Liverpool. Sounding easy enough we set out and wandered about near the Liver Building until we were distracted by a bus tour of Liverpool.
£20 and 50 minutes later we were no nearer but hey we had seen a few of the things to see in Liverpool such as ”Turning the place over” a piece of artwork that is intriguing because you have to marvel at the fact that it could be done but left me feeling only on thing. I just wondered... why?
So the hunt was back on an after talking to the bus driver we found that we were the wrong side of the Mersey. So a trip in the Birkenhead Tunnel and just when I was beginning to think the signs for Woodend Ferry port were going to end us up on the road back through the tunnel the signs delivered on their promise with the Uboat Story. It's an interesting Museum. Perhaps I missed it but a little info on how they put the exhibit up would be nice such as how they are going to stop the thing rusting to nothing and why the chose to do what they did. I assume that fact that they didn't reconstruct it was for two reasons, the first being space and the second being that you would not be able to get the interesting views of the inside of the U-Boat.
What's strange is that it looked so much bigger at the Warship Museum but I assume that was to do with the fact that there the boat was above you, at the Uboat Story you're at the same level as someone would have been working in the boat. With so little space, it's amazing how they fitted 52 men and all that equipment into it.
On the way back through the tunnel the radio was interrupted by a Tunnel Police message which caused me to wonder how they did that, closely followed by the thought as to why we were getting radio down here in the first place. Along with all of this came the worry that if this was a Police message then what the heck was going on and what emergency had occurred until the scary clipped female voice announced that it was a test message. Personally I would have preferred the message to start “This is a test message” rather than “This is a Mersey Tunnel Police message” as the stern woman wasn't the quickest speaker.
This is a picture of the U-Boat on the Warship Museum in Birkenhead. Quite a small museum, but it's a good place to go if you have never even been on a warship, which sounds a stupid thing to say, because I suspect most people won't think of doing it. We didn't have a look at the U-Boat, the place was closing, but did get a chance to walk through a submarine HMS Onyx, and strange to think you could live in the cramped conditions for 90 days. I did try out a bed and being 6ft 1ins it wasn't my style, but strangely enough I didn't feel claustrophobic, but then again we weren't deep under the sea with goodness knows how many other people rushing about at battle stations. HMS Plymouth was interesting and being a boat had more room, but only a little more, but the U-Boat U534 (pictured) did evade us, so we shall have to go back and go for that tour next time.
Update 26/8/2006: I found out yesterday that the museum closed in February this year which it a great pity, I know the boats were scattered but the whereabouts of the U-Boat I don't know. If anyone does I would appreciate them emailing. I can't help thinking that the demise of the Museum was to do with the luxury apartments being build behind which is understandable, after all we definitely need more of them!
Update 25/3/2008: Found at last at Woodend Ferry Port