HM Customs & Excise National Museum: Annual Report 2005/6 with financial summary



Mission statement


How we have performed against our Funding Agreement for 2005/6

Capital development


Our collections

Visitor services and public programmes


Marketing campaign

Joint marketing with National Museums Liverpool

Joint marketing with HMRC

Press coverage

Visitor evaluation


National networking and professional support

International networking and professional support

Management programme

Our contact details

Summary of running cost grant-in-aid: main account 2005/06


Mission statement

HM Customs & Excise National Museum seeks to promote the public enjoyment and understanding of the history and work of HM Revenue and Customs (formerly HM Customs and Excise) and related subjects through the collection, preservation and interpretation of material culture and related information.


The HM Customs & Excise National Museum was established in 1994 by National Museums Liverpool (NML) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) under trust deed arrangements. We can be found on the ground floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, in the Albert Dock estate of Liverpool.

In 2005/6 we welcomed 256,946 visitors.

This report shows some of our key achievements during this time. Targets were set in the Museum’s Funding Agreement and we will show how we have delivered against these performance indicators.

This annual review is divided in to:

  • How we have performed against our Funding Agreement.
  • Capital development.
  • Learning.
  • Our collections.
  • Visitor services.
  • Managing the Museum.
  • Financial summary.

In April 2005 HM Customs & Excise and Inland Revenue merged, to become HMRC. This merger is reflected in our activities.

How we have performed against our Funding Agreement for 2005/6

Headline relevant specific qualitative measures targets and strategic objectives were agreed between NML and HMRC in our Funding Agreement. These are the full details of how we performed against our targets.

Strategic objectives and specific quantative targets

Museum’s activity in 2005/6

Comparison between target and activity

Comparison with last year (where appropriate)

Comprehensive redisplay of the Museum by 2009, as part of a wider development plan of Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Designer appointed. concept and scheme design presented to NML and HMRC.

Key milestones achieved.

In 2004/5 gallery structure established and draft tender prepared to appoint designer. Significant progress made and working to timetable.

Balanced coverage of the Museum’s displays, education and marketing activity across HMRC themes and activities.

The designer used our preliminary work from 2004/5 to establish a coherent story line for the gallery development. It provides a visitor focused approach while representing a cross section of HMRC’s work. This is driving all other areas of our work.

Target achieved.

In 2004/5 Focus Groups, Hall Tests and discussions with visitors, non visitors and HMRC helped us ensure the new gallery structure represents the department.
Education activities cover tax morality, drugs, CITES, tobacco smuggling, 18th C smuggling, war time black market smuggling, gauging, rummage, officers lives and fakes.

Increased awareness amongst customers of HMRC activities and role.

No specific question of increased awareness was asked.
However the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service assessment report showed that the “Museum provides a very good overall experience”. This provides a very strong basis for visitors to learn about HMRC.

Target illustrated.

In 2004/5 gallery evaluation centred on proposed themes for the new galleries, rather than looking at existing displays.

Evaluation also looked at some education provision. This showed that their knowledge had increased and they were clearer about the work of HMRC.

240,000 visitors to the Museum.

256,946 visitors came to the Museum.

6% above target.

In 2004/5 we received 298,464 visitors, showing a reduction of 41,518 in 2005/6. This was due to a 2004/5 being an unusually high year with a very successful temporary exhibition. In the following year there were number of access issues getting to the Museum, however the visitor numbers still higher than the previous 3 years.

16% share of visitor footfall to the Museum against National Museums Liverpool.

1,608,133 visitors came to National Museums Liverpool. Museum received approximately 16% of NML’s visitor footfall.

We hit the target perfectly.

In 2004/5 we were also on target with 17%.

55,000 website hits.

73,786 website hits.

34% increase on target.

In 2004/5 we had 53,336 web hits.

Growth in web access through links to other sites.

Using the google search engine 62,634 references were found for “Customs & Excise Museum” in 2005/6.

No number was provided as a target.

More than 130 sites and links were located through searching for “Customs & Excise Museum” in 2004/5.

34 references to the Museum in print and publicity.

We had 34 references in the press. This does not include promotional tools originated by NML.

This represents hitting the target perfectly!

In 2004/5 we had 77 references in the press.
The reduction is probably because the galleries are now old and don’t attract the level of press interest they previously did. There are also a number of other new developments taking place in Liverpool attracting press interest.

14,000 people participating in formal and informal learning activities.

18,021 visitors took part in formal and informal activities.

29% increase on target.

16,530 visitors participated in 2004/5.

Ensure that Museum resources are appropriate and readily available to formal and informal groups.

We evaluated:
The Museum’s:
(1) Marketing campaign.
(2) RUSH, the drugs awareness programme.
(3) Public Service days.
(4) Visitor profile.

Target achieved.

In 2004/5 we evaluated:
(1) Drugs awareness.
(2) French Pack.
(3) Sniffer dog demonstrations.
(4) Public Service days.
(5) Visitor profiling.
(6) Focus Groups and Hall Tests.

96% of visitors thought the Museum was excellent/ very good or good.

80% of visitors thought the Museum was excellent or very good.

16% difference.

In 2003/4 90% of visitors thought the Museum was excellent, very good or good, showing an increase in 2004/5. It is recognised that the displays are old and out of date. However the reduction in 2005/6 was also illustrated in the Merseyside Maritime Museum, possibly indicating visitors responding to their overall experience. There have been problems getting to the museum over the last year.

66% of visitors to MMM are aware of the Museum’s existence.

70% awareness ranking.

4% difference.

There was an increase in awareness of 6% since 2004/5.

Analyse the Museum’s contribution to wider understanding.

During 2005/6 the Rush evaluation received the comment “Made our young students more aware” about drugs and alcohol.

Target achieved.

During 2004/5 this question was not asked specifically related to the existing galleries. However evaluation of learning resources, such as the French Pack showed increased understanding by students.

Reliability of relevant statistical data.

390 interviews achieved. The confidence level was therefore the same as in 2004/5.

Target achieved.

Sample size for Visitor Profiling was 344 in 2004/5 giving us a good confidence level of +/- 5%.

Promote staff exchanges.

International exchanges:
(1) Swedish and Romanian Customs.
(2) Queens Town researcher from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
National exchanges:
(1) History Network Newsletter.
(2) Familiarisation session with Archive Section of Inland Revenue, Somerset House.
(3) Mentoring Gary Smith for his AMA.
(4) North West film Archive survey of moving images.

Target completed.

International exchanges in 2004/5:
(1) Indian Customs.
(2) Irish Revenue.
(3) IACM.
(4) German Intern Student.
National exchanges in 2004/5:
(1) Liaison meetings between Curator and Museum Liaison Officer.
(2) Curator acting as a mentor.

Regular liaison meetings between HMRC and NML’s marketing teams and agree joint marketing strategies.

Liaisons include:
(1) Head of Strategic Communications in HMRC and NML’s Head of Marketing.
(2) Sarah Moore, Assistant Marketing Officer, HMRC.

Target achieved.

In 2004/5 liaisons included:
(1) Head of Communications in National Museums Liverpool and HM Customs and Excise.
(2) Portcullis staff.
(3) Sarah Moore, Assistant Marketing Officer.

An efficiency measure of cost per visit against the GiA will be £1.40.

The GiA cost for 2005/6 was £321,389 and we received 256,946 visitors. This was a cost of £1.25 per visitor.

We made a saving on target of £0.15.

The GiA for 2003/4 was £325,000 or £1.52 per visitor.

% of visitor footfall. Figures were collected through percentage to Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Capital development

Specific qualitative measure

  • Commencement of a comprehensive redisplay of the Museum as part of wider redevelopment of Merseyside Maritime Museum.
  • Balance of coverage of the Museum’s displays across HMRC themes and activities.

The focus of this year’s work has been driven by the planning process for gallery development, which is due to open in 2008. This links in with Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year, provide a unique window of opportunity for raising the profile of the work and role of HMRC.

There have been a number of significant milestones during the year:

  • Preparing the tender document.
  • Interviewing external short listed designers.
  • Appointing external designer.

The selected designer is called At Large, who are based in London and were appointed in July 2005.

Series of workshops held

These were led by the designer to ensure we have a shared vision. The workshops concluded that:

“We are dealing with a contemporary story, rooted in the present and supported by the past.

HMRC help to ensure that our way of life is fair, safe, civilised, protected.

We have a story that can be approached through issues of fairness, safety, etc.

This is a subject that affects everyone in Britain.

We have a very appealing core theme of anti-smuggling. This is an exhibition about detective work, fighting crime, patrolling frontiers, catching criminals, undercover surveillance and sometimes a sneaking admiration for the bad guy.

For people involved in formal learning it touches on p.h.s.e. citizenship, environmental awareness and ideas of public service.

We can afford to be provocative in both the exhibition and the marketing in order to make the exhibition engaging and active.

A variety of visitor experience is essential - a desired reaction is ‘I’ve never thought of it in that way’.

Some of the themes are thought provoking and challenging, yet visitors need to feel secure with the information, so consistency is important.

The narrative structure is thematic.”

(Source - HMRC Exhibition Scheme Design Technical Report, At Large, May 2006)

Management of the project

The content team is made up of curatorial and education staff from NML, representatives from HMRC and At Large. Their purpose is to build a coherent and exciting story line.

The project team monitors progress linking across NML. The chair of this group is the Project Manager, and the group is made up of staff within NML and At Large.

Concept design

This was presented formally to NML’s Executive Team and HMRC at the consultative committee in November. It gave an exciting and enticing overview of content, space and feel for the new gallery.

Scheme design

This was the next formal stage, and was again presented to HMRC and NML in April and May 2006.


To help us develop the content and ensure our accuracy we have communicated with a variety of people. The more significant individuals are - Dr Will Ashworth (Senior Lecturer at Liverpool University) for historical back ground; Mark Poacher (HMRC, Stamp Office) discussed the work of the Stamp Office; Various serving and retired officers on the subject of smuggling (HMRC’s Research and Development); John Neal (Merseyside Police) and Clive Royce (Weapons Policy) about weapons of choice; Gilbert Denton (Retired Archivist) and John Pink (retired Excise Officer) about historical information.

Forth coming key dates

The planning process is aimed at us meeting the following dates.



19 June 2006

History gallery closes

October 2007

Contemporary gallery closes

Early 2008

New gallery, with new name, opens in the basement of Merseyside Maritime Museum


Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Number of people participating in formal and informal learning in 2005/6 - 14,000.
  • Balance of coverage of education across HMRC themes and activities.

Number of people participating in formal and informal learning in 2005/6 – 18,021.
This represents a 29 per cent increase on target for the year.

Coverage was balanced over the following HMRC activities - tax morality, CITES, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, 18th C smuggling, black market smuggling, tools of the job, cutters, uniforms, rummage, gauging, careers, history of department, the staff, overview of activities and dangers of the job.


The programme offered events throughout the year during weekends and school holidays. These included rummage, drama, story telling, art and craft sessions, activities and drop in activities, workshops, tours, the handling collection, live demonstrations and competitions.

We also linked in with the time of year, as well as regional and national initiatives.

National Initiatives

Regional initiatives

Times of the year

Big Draw
Science Week and Set Point
Sure start month
Heritage Open Days
50’s Festival
National Archaeology Week
Big Draw

River Festival
Children’s First Conference

Summer holidays

Drop in

  • Rummage in our interactive cabin has been renamed as Smuggled Good Search. It continued to run over weekends and at peak visitor times and received 969 visitors in 2005/6.
  • Explore Customs was held in the Long Room (education space) at our busiest times (school holidays). The session continues to be developed and incorporates several activities including object handling, dressing up in the Sniffer character costumes and Customs uniforms, art and craft activities, puzzles, a computer with CD ROM’s containing relevant subjects such as endangered species, a reading corner, Early Year’s tables and Customs related toys.
  • Family art and craft workshops were held on the themes of endangered species (Animal Art, Model Magic, Glass Painting, Accessorise, Sea Sick Souvenirs and Designer Print), Customs cutters and tools of the job (e.g. Hidden Hoards and Top Secret Tools), 18th C wool smuggling (Felt Making), and protest (Cartoon workshops).
  • The Dog Team at Manchester Airport came to the Museum during the summer holidays. They gave 24 sniffer demonstrations over 6 weeks to 1,244 visitors. The sessions proved hugely popular, giving visitors the opportunity to meet working officers and their dogs. Overtime costs for the dog handlers were funded outside the grant in aid by Library Services (HMRC).
  • Drop in sessions with the handling collection were linked in to local events, for example Dock Watch during the River Festival in June, received 5000 visitors. The remote operated vehicle was flown in the dock while working with colleagues in the Natural History Centre who talked about the wild life in the dock. We described the work of HMRC.
  • A new family arts and crafts workshop was developed called Discovering Smuggling, were visitors made smugglers hats and origami boats.
  • Smuggling Rhymes looked at poetry related to smuggling endangered species and Customs.

Adults talks and tours

  • Adult tours on the gallery were offered by a member of our Learning team. They were called Fakes, Fags and Fiends Tour.
  • For the 50’s Festival we provided a talk based on drugs issues.
  • In October Stroll Through Time was launched as a reminiscence session for the more mature visitor. This was supplemented with the introduction of memory sheets to capture visitor’s recollections.
  • The Friends of National Museums Liverpool presented 3 illustrated talks to external groups about the Museum.
  • Ron Sanders, (retired C&E Officer) gave a talk called Smuggling can be a Funny Business in March 2006 as part of the lecture series for an adult audience.

Drama and role play

  • We welcomed 656 adults and 371 children to role plays during the year.
  • Dodgy Dan the Booze and Fag Man had a new script launched in July, and looks at modern tobacco and alcohol smuggling.
  • Officers who died in the line of duty and smugglers who lost their lives while doing their trade are commemorated in Grave Tales. This was re-launched with a new script in October in time for Halloween.
  • Mother Redcap - 18th Century local smuggler.
  • Rogues and Rations - war time smuggling and the black market.
  • The life and works of Robbie Burns - an Excise officer who discusses his work.
  • Role players, Smugglebuster, Sniffer and Mr Smuggs support the marketing campaign at busy times of the years, such as the River Festival in June.

On gallery resources

  • Crazy Curiosity Coats are brightly coloured coats with activities in each pocket, and are aimed at guiding a family group around the gallery. They are administered by the Friends of NML.
  • A trail stand holds gallery trails using word searches, crosswords and quizzes aimed at the family audience. It also holds trails for Early Years on the themes of transport and animals.
  • A Large Print Guide looks at 10 key objects around the galleries. It is available on request from Reception.
  • Over the extended Christmas period, from November to January, NML offered trails around the various sites. In the Museum we asked visitors to find sniffer dogs and then answer questions. This trail was later adapted to become suitable for all year, especially school holidays.

Formal education

  • 789 children took part in schools activities during the year (this excludes Rush and Public Service Days).
  • The Drugs Awareness school programme (RUSH) received 1,446 key stage 3 students over 10 days, which shows an increase of more than 600 students since last year. RUSH is a highly topical school programme covering national curriculum areas in Citizenship and Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE), supported with a teachers pack. The programme received its annual evaluation (taking in to account the students and teachers views), to help us ensure that it remains relevant and up to date. The programme is now being considered for developments, and additional funding is being sought by the Development Office in NML. This will allow the programme to be taken off site because of reduced gallery provision in 2006 and none in 2007, due to gallery development.
  • The French Pack is aimed at French students to help reduce the language barrier, and enhance their visitor experience. This pack can be supplemented with a tour.
  • A Public Service was offered to Further Education students, who were studying a BTEC in Public Services. The days were extremely well received, with colleges travelling from outside the North West to attend. 728 students attended over 3 days. This was also evaluated to see where, and how, it could be improved for next year.
  • A new local history pack looking at Liverpool Custom House was launched for Key Stage 2. It is suitable for the existing galleries, as well as the new displays. This uses the history national curriculum area, looking thematically at the history of where students live. It is supplemented with Warehouse Tours, for Key Stage 2.
  • Little Smugglebuster and story telling session is for Early Years (pre school) and Key Stage 1 (aged 5-7), and explores issues surrounding endangered species. This is supported by Teachers Notes.
  • The Children’s First Conference Workshop in October included the early years session Little Smugglebusters, looking at how HMRC protect endangered species.
  • We developed the public programme Animals In Danger for pre booked groups (ESOL) and formal school groups (key stage 2 and 3). The session explores issues around the endangered species handling collection.
  • Gossipy Parrot tells naughty stories about other animals including endangered species, and is aimed at Key Stage 1.The subject areas are science, history and geography.
  • The school session called Weights and Measures looks at the maths curriculum using the hydrometer and other excise gauging tools as a basis for key stage 2. Students carry out practical experiments, measuring weight and capacity.
  • Merseyside Setpoint during Science Week in June used the Weights and Measures session.
  • We continue to receive school and prebooked groups for Smuggled Goods Search (or Rummage) for Key Stage 2 and 3.
  • Skills for Life Maths Pack is aimed at an adult audience for people who need help with reading and writing.
  • Gallery trail CD Rom of the existing gallery helps support teachers in their work.


  • 932 adults and children took part in outreach activities.
  • As part of NML we have built a strong relationship with the Education Action Zones across the city including Toxteth, Dingle, Granby and Fazakerley. The Zones have been set up in the less affluent areas of Liverpool, with the aim of providing opportunities for family learning. We were represented in Scientastic (an open science day) at Broadgreen Healthy Schools in Liverpool. 153 people attended. This was organised by Excite Education Action Zone. The project works with feeder primary schools targeting key stage 2 students and looks at the citizenship area of the curriculum. We looked at drugs awareness issues, with the fake drugs box and games.
  • Using the endangered species display as a starting point we worked with Wirral Young Carers, and ran a poster competition for key stage 2 students in conjunction with the Museum. Posters were designed to help prevent this illegal activity. The posters were then displayed in the Long Room in Merseyside Maritime Museum.
  • As part of DaDaFest (Deaf and Disabled Arts Festival) we worked in partnership with special needs groups such as Liverpool Voluntary Society for the Blind (LVSB) and offered Mother Redcap with British sign language.
  • We also provided the sessions Animals in Danger, Weights and Measures and Smuggling Rhymes for pre-booked groups off site.

Our collections

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Balance of coverage of the Museum’s displays, education and marketing activities across HMRC themes and activities.
  • Implement comprehensive redevelopment of Merseyside Maritime Museum, incorporating major update of HMRC content.

The collection is the Museum’s fundamental foundation on which we do all our developments. The collection consists of objects and related information reflecting the work of HMRC in the past and the present.

Star acquisitions

  • Three prints showing Custom Houses around the UK. These were gifted by Verity Brack (CEM2005/10 to CEM2005/13) and fill gaps within the collection.
  • False leg (drugs concealment) was transferred from Gravesend Regional Museum (CEM2005/20).
  • Ship model of the modern Cutter Vigilant made by Damen was transferred from Marine Branch (CEM2005/22).

Strategy for collecting

Approximately 57 items were collected for the national collection during the year.

  • The collection currently consists of objects related to the activities of the former C&E, and not Inland Revenue. Objects held by HMRC are currently been audited by HMRC in order for us to be able to accurately assess the implications of collection Inland Revenue material. Until this review is complete Inland Revenue material is being collected for display purpose in the new galleries.
  • Our collecting strategy is being driven by the needs of the gallery development, identifying gaps in our collection. For example a fake Lacoste mans shirt in its box with a carrier bag.
  • The Regional Museum in Gravesend Custom House closed in April 2005, and in consultation with relevant staff we visited and surveyed the objects on display. 42 significant objects were transferred to Liverpool.
  • Significant objects are still in HMRC offices, but not represented in the Museum. Surveying offices however, has taken on a lower profile in our work load this year, due to other work commitments.
  • Gifts offered by individuals outside HMRC.
  • The final way of collecting is through purchase of objects identified at auction. This has taken a low priority this year due to other work demands.


Entry procedures

All objects that come in to our national collection, handling collection and library go through the Museum’s entry procedures. This includes NML’s entry forms and a day book (manual register). 40 items were added to the day book.

Accessions register

We have added 8 new acquisitions to the accessions register, following the Museum’s entry procedures. The accessions register contains 5,344 objects.

Photographic evidence

We are digitalising images and objects in the collection. This year we have completed 168 objects and 84 images.

The images are being stored at a high resolution. Low resolution images will ultimately be stored in the accessions register. The aim of this is for (1) including in the design brief for galley development and to (2) increase access.

Photographic archive

This year we continued sorting and scanning images from the department’s photographic archive on to computer. Leonie Reynolds from Library Services (HMRC) has been spending 1 day a week helping in this process.

We currently have 4,973 records on the data base and Leonie has completed 651 records.

Listing the handling collection

The handling collection now has 494 objects reflecting the work of HMRC. 5 objects were added.


  • Platform sandals used to conceal cocaine in the sole of the shoe (CEHC2005.6.1-2).

The handling collection was established in 1998 for educational purposes, and is not part of the national collection.

Listing books in the library

We listed 20 books. The library now holds 2,642 items.


  • Slide rules. Their history, models and makers by Peter M Hopp, published by Astragal Press, 1999.
  • 18 published board reports dated between 1857 to 1980.

Data cleaning of data bases

IT assisted us in streamlining and data cleaning the data bases for the:

  • accessions register
  • photographic archive
  • handling collection.

The software was also upgraded to Office 2000, which has helped to quicken up the speed we can operate.


Active conservation

Active conservation is when objects require treatment. This may be to clean, repair or stabilise.

  • 5 prints were removed from acid rich mounts and remounted on acid free board by Paper Conservation. Example - A Smuggler dated 1831 by William Heath (CENM2003.75).
  • Organic Conservation deep froze approximately 30 CITES objects as a pest control measure. Examples - Bob cat skin (CEM2005/15) and feather head dress (CENM2000.639).
  • Technical Services repaired 2 objects in the handling collection - turtle shell guitar (CEHC2001.42) and Indian Star tortoise shell (CEHC2000.27).
  • Paintings conservation cleaned an oil painting by Thomas Luny called Smugglers unloading barrels at a rocky cave entrance.
  • In April we had an infestation of carpet beetles. This was resolved through a number of measures. IGROX sprayed insecticide to remove the beetles which was supplemented by freezing relevant objects. At risk objects were sealed and frozen to reduce the risk of re-infestation. We increased the level of good house keeping and cleaning in store. Extra insect traps were placed around the store to monitor the arrangements. The situation has been fully resolved.

Preventative conservation and storage

  • Storage arrangements for birds and skins were reviewed, and objects that were particularly rare and significant were relocated to another store within NML. Our storage is designed for a mixed collection. The new area is specifically organised with appropriate relative humidity and temperature for birds and mammals.
  • From October Education had a volunteer (Jackie Kerr) for 4 weeks. She looked at the handling collection with the aim of improving storage conditions and listing on the data base. Michelle Marsden (our Assistant Curator) gave a briefing session to the volunteer and Education staff at the beginning of the project.

Environmental monitoring

  • Stable environmental conditions for temperature, relative humidity and light are essential for the long term care of the objects. They are monitored in the Museum and in store through remote telemetrics, which are down loaded by NML’s Conservation Science.
  • Pest control measures are important for objects long term care. This is carried out by an external company called IGROX in conjunction with NML’s Conservators.

Visitor services and public programmes

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Number of visitors to the Museum for 2005/6 - 240,000.

We welcomed 256,946 visitors in 2005/6.
This was 6 per cent above target.

Free admission was introduced to all national museum in December 2001. From 2000/1 to 2004/5 NML saw a huge 129 per cent increase in visitor numbers!


Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Number of website hits for 2005/6 - 55,000.
  • Develop effective website linkages.

Web hits

Number of website hits in 2004/5 - 73,786.
34 per cent increase on target!

Linkages on the web

Under a general “Google” search on the web using “Customs & Excise Museum” 62,634 references were located.


Liverpool city guide

The Independent - online edition

Capital of Culture website

International education site

Web address

NML’s corporate web site ( has a unique URL to the Museum (

Links on NML’s web site to other related sites include: - HM Revenue and Customs - International Association of Customs Museums - World Customs Organisation

25 related website addresses are listed under the section Useful information for Researchers.

Additions to the web

NML promotes and regularly updates the Museum's website with events and features in the What's On section.

NML has developed a programme of themed cross site temporary exhibitions online. These were:


Topic or object


Sniffer dogs at work


Ski boot concealment (CENM2002.26)

The Museum’s Annual Report for 2004/5 was placed on the website as a down loadable PDF and Rich Text format (word document).

A section called Useful information for researchers was added.

The gallery concept design was added under NML’s Capital projects

HMRC’s web page

A page for the Museum can be located on the new HMRC ( website, under About us, Our history and then Museums.

The page shows:

  • a link to Our What's on section
  • a link to our new developments
  • our contact details and general information
  • the Museum’s annual report for 2004/5.

Marketing campaign

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Reference of HMRC’s topics in NML publicity and print.
  • Balanced of coverage of the Museum’s displays, education and marketing activities across HMRC themes and activities.

The primary aim for the Museum’s 2005/2006 marketing plan was to increase market penetration of core audiences (family groups and CDE’s), to attract new visitors from the C2 target group and cross-market visitors between the Albert Dock site and World Museum Liverpool in central Liverpool.

The marketing mix included promotional literature, outdoor and press advertising and role players. Advertising and literature distribution created a continuous flow of promotion throughout the year to generate interest amongst the target audience segments and aimed to generate word of mouth recommendations.



External Banner on the triple banner site at the Albert Dock - Throughout year

4 outdoor Lampposts - March to April 2005

Bus street liner campaign with 52 sides - July and August 2005

10 taxis with 20 super sides - May to August 2005

Escalator Panels at Mersey rail Stations - March to April 2006


Daily Mirror, the Ticket - July, March

Daily Mail - March x 2

St Helens Reporter - July, Oct, Feb

Wirral News - July, Oct, Feb

Families Liverpool - Sept, Oct

Liverpool Echo - March

Liverpool Metro - March

Liverpool Weekly News - March


Promotional literature (posters and bookmarks) were distributed throughout Liverpool City Centre, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Chester and North Wales through the services of From Me to You.

Editorial, website and press listing also formed an integral part of the overall marketing campaign.

Role play

Smuggle buster and Sniffer role players were contracted throughout key holiday periods including summer, half term and Easter to attract visitors into the Museum from the Merseyside Maritime Museum and around the Albert Dock.

Joint marketing with National Museums Liverpool

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Reference of HMRC topics in NML publicity and print.
  • Balance of coverage of the Museum’s displays, education and marketing activities across HMRC themes and activities.

The gallery was also featured in the Guide (circ:60000) which was produced quarterly, and distributed to NML venues, tourist information centres, hotels, train stations, student accommodation and other visitor attractions.

Learning Live the schools pack produced by NML was distributed to 700 schools in the North West. It includes a section about us highlighting the sessions we offered.

During February half term NML trialled a pilot bus to encourage visitors to travel from central Liverpool to the Maritime site. Its success was reflected in the visitor numbers.

Joint marketing with HMRC

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Undertake regular liaison meetings with HMRC marketing team and agree joint strategies.
  • Reference of HMRC topics in NML publicity and print.
  • Balance of coverage of the Museum’s displays, education and marketing activities across HMRC themes and activities.

The annual meeting was held to discuss possible links between HMRC and NML. NML’s Head of Marketing met with HMRC Head of Strategic Communications. This was aimed at integrating us for the benefit of all.

A presence on HMRC’s web page was maintained.

Press coverage

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Reference of HMRC topics in NML publicity and print.
  • Balance of coverage of the Museum’s displays, education and marketing activities across HMRC themes and activities.
  • 34 references to the Museum in print and publicity.

We received 34 references in NML publicity, matching our target perfectly!

This covers a range of promotional print from listings and editorial, etc. It does not include advertisements, leaflets or other promotional material which has been originated by NML marketing, this is purely press references.

NML’s press office has worked to support the marketing campaign while maintaining our profile in local and national media aimed at local residents, tourists, and group travel organisers. Our programme of events and activities has also received regular coverage in the listings section of regional papers.


  • BBC Radio Merseyside in December 2005 - arts and craft workshop making Christmas lanterns.
  • The Times in November - feature about the Museum.
  • Blackpool Gazette in January and February - feature about rummage.
  • Families Magazine in May - listing.
  • Liverpool Echo in August - feature.

Visitor evaluation

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Comprehensive redisplay of the Museum as part of a wider development of Merseyside Maritime Museum.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
  • Increased awareness amongst customers of HMRC activities and role.
  • Feedback as to effectiveness of joint marketing campaigns.
  • Proven capacity within visitor research activity to analyse the Museum’s contribution to wider understanding.
  • Qualitative evidence through surveys of internal and external users that customer awareness and satisfaction is increasing.

Purpose of visitor evaluation:

  • To inform the gallery development.
  • Meet the needs of the Funding Agreement.
  • Inform learning programmes.

Various surveys have been conducted this year:



Customs & Excise Museum Visitor Survey 2005, by Mott MacDonald evaluated the success of the Museum’s marketing campaign.

Help inform future marketing activities.
Inform branding exercise.
Meet the needs of the Funding Agreement.

Visitor Profiling year 3, by Mott MacDonald.

(1) Inform the gallery development.
(2) Meet the needs of the Funding Agreement.

Public Service Days 2005 looked at the formal education programme for BTEC students.

(1) Inform learning programme.

Rush, drugs awareness programme 2005 assess the formal education programme for key stage 3 students.

(1) Inform learning programme.

To give a flavour of some of the findings:

The Customs & Excite Museum Visitor Survey 2005 found that “57.2% of respondents who had seen any of the promotional material for the HM Customs & Excise Museum stated the promotional material had prompted them to make a visit”. Also “96% visitors stated that they would revisit it in the future, while only 68.4% of non visitors said they would visit it in the future.”

Visitor profiling showed that 47 per cent of visitors (the highest score) came in family groups with an average length of stay reaching 59 minutes. The highest percentage of visitors were in the age ranges of 35-44 (24 per cent) and 45-54 (24 per cent), and 27 per cent were repeat visitors.

Visitor evaluation by students and lectures found the Public Service Days were most useful to allow students to hear talks about HMRC (78 out of 486). The most popular “career ideas that students cited were Police and HMRC”, with more than half of the responses.

The evaluation of RUSH showed that 60 per cent of students and tutors who responded said they are “very likely” to do the programme again, and nearly 90 per cent said the programme influenced their students “very much” or “quite a lot”.


Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Comprehensive redisplay of the Museum as part of a wider redevelopment within Merseyside Maritime Museum.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
  • Balance of coverage of the Museum’s displays, education and marketing activities across HMRC themes and activities.

To ensure that visitors are attracted to the new Museum, its name is key. Branding has been incorporated in the gallery designer’s brief, to ensure that the Museum’s brand and identity are developed along side the displays.

Loans in

We encourage access to the Museum's collection through loans. We have loaned objects to the following places for display:


  • The foyer of New Kings Beam House has the coat of arms from Swansea Custom House, dated 1666 (CENM2002.119).
  • Greenock Custom House has an oil painting depicting a Scottish Collector.
  • A false leg drugs concealment (CEM2005/20) was loaned to London Custom House for their open day in September.

Other Museums

  • The Maritime Museum for East Anglia have a caviar tin (CENM1998.439) and a book Halsbury Statutory Instruments Vol 9 (CENM1995.11). Both of these were concealments.

National networking and professional support

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Promote staff exchanges.

The HM Customs and Excise History Network exists for people who have an interest in C&E history. Membership currently stands at 181, and we circulated two Newsletters. Mark Bullen (serving officer) is the editor, with the Museum acting as distributor.

Karen Bradbury acts as a mentor for Gary Smith (Curator of Regimental History, Museum of the Manchester Regiment), who is working towards his museum professional qualification - AMA (Associateship membership of the Museums Association).

Steve Butler met Jenny Coombes, Tass Montgomery and colleagues from the Archive section in Somerset House for a familiarisation visit, following the merger of C&E with Inland Revenue.

North West Film Archive and the Manchester Metropolitan University undertook a survey of moving image material in Merseyside. We participated in this process.

International networking and professional support

Targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Promote staff exchanges.

Steve Butler met Ms A Cedarlund (Swedish Customs) and four colleagues from the Romanian Customs who were in the UK to look at information management systems.

A researcher from Queens Town (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) carried out some research using our library.


Another important service is to answer pubic enquires. We answered 84 enquires. These were a diverse range from contemporary issues to historical research, including family history, requests for images and clarification of roles and responsibilities of officers.

Management programme

Strategic partnership

The joint partnership between HMRC and NML provides a unique opportunity for the Department to have access to professional and specialist museum services. At the same time HMRC offer subject expertise. This results in two government organisations having a close working relationship, maximising and sharing skills and expertise, and providing best value for money.

We are controlled through a Deed of Trust, Financial Memorandum and Service Level Agreement, which are renewable on a five yearly basis.

The Museum’s trust deed was established with C&E. However on 18 April 2005 C&E and Inland Revenue officially merged to become HMRC.

GiA arrangements

Performance against it’s targets, specific qualitative measures and strategic objectives

  • Efficiently measure of cost per visit against grant in aid for 2005/6 was set at £1.40.

The GiA for 2005/6 was £321,389 and we welcomed 256,946 visitors. This was a cost of £1.25 per visitor, or a cost saving on target of £0.15. The GiA for 2004/5 was £321,374 or £1.08 per visitor. So when comparing the cost per visitor between 2004/5 and 2005/6 there was an increase of £0.17 per visitor in 2005/6.

The Museum is funded through an annual grant in aid bid provided by HMRC. The bid for 2005/6 was submitted in August 2004.

A Business Statement for 2005/6 was presented to the Consultative Committee (formal link between HMRC and NML) with the grant in aid bid in August 2004.

The Business Statement was supported by a three year Funding Agreement. The purpose of the Funding Agreement is to provide challenging, relevant headline qualitative measures and activities along with quantitative targets. This assists both HMRC and NML to show that they are achieving their objectives.

The Museum’s activities are monitored and reviewed by the Consultative Committee, which met once in 2005/6. In addition to the formal meetings, further bimonthly informal meetings were held during the year between the Curator and the HMRC Museum Liaison Officer.

Capital funding

In addition to the grant in aid arrangements the Museum received capital funding in order to support the capital programme. This funding is divided in to four equal instalments, paid over four years. 2005/6 was year one.

As with the grant in aid, the capital funding is monitored and managed under NML accounting procedures. HMRC receive formal reviews regularly on spend.

The Museum's role

  • To ensure the content of the Museum and associated learning material remain topical through active research, informing the maintenance and updating of displays.
  • To provide formal and informal learning and marketing resources reflecting, as far as possible, the range of services which HMRC provides.
  • To ensure marketing maintains appropriate links to HMRC.
  • To ensure relevant displays and learning resources contribute effectively to public understanding of their civic responsibilities.
  • To ensure HMRC financial commitment is applied efficiently and effectively.



Karen Bradbury BSc, PGCE, AMA

Curator of Collections

Steve Butler BA, PGCE

Education Officer

Mary Roberson BA - job share

Education Officer

Liz Stewart MA, PhD - job share (until June 2005)

Assistant Education Officer

3 days per week

Administrative Assistant

2.5 days per week

We also have a temporary full time Assistant Curator, part time role players, actors and a demonstrator who help deliver the programme. These non established posts are necessary to meet the needs identified by the Business Statements and were funded from within the grant in aid bid.


At a time of great change and as part of NML’s Investors in People status we see professional development as an essential element of staff development.

Key training

  • Karen Bradbury (Curator) completed NML’s Management Development Training programme, which was developed with the consultants McKechnies.
  • Steve Butler (Curator of Collections) has started the Management Development Training.
  • Michelle Marsden (Assistant Curator) completed NML’s new collection care training which covers various aspects of collection management. The presentation lunch was held on 22 November 2005.
  • Curatorial staff provided site visits for new staff as part of the programme to give new members of staff an understanding of how NML operates.

Risk management

In August NML carried out its annual risk assurance exercise, and the 4 principal risks for the Museum were identified below, and having been identified this allowed them to be managed.

  • Risk 1 Funding.
  • Risk 2 Trust deed extension.
  • Risk 3 Merger of C&E with IR.
  • Risk 4 Staff time.

In the case of an emergency NML has identified priority objects which need protecting or removing in the instance of a major incident. 7 objects, or groups of objects, on display and in store were identified as significant. Examples:

  • Ship model Revenue cutter Speedy (CENM2001.384).
  • Oil painting - A fishing lugger and customs boat off Hastings, by Charles Martin Powell, 1823 (CENM1996.24).

Supplementing these written plans we also took part in an emergency planning exercise at the Conservation Centre. This was aimed at ensuring procedures were in place and understood.

Awards and acknowledgements

The Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme run by Visit Britain (formally English Tourist Board) aims to assess the quality of visitor experience, and any aspects of an attractions operation that may impact on the overall quality.

Visit Britain evaluated the Museum in July 2005. The Quality Assessment Report stated:

“The Customs & Excise Museum comfortably merits the initial Visit Britain accreditation as a Quality Assured Visitor Attraction.”

Our contact details

HM Customs & Excise National Museum
Merseyside Maritime Museum
Albert Dock
L4 3AQ

Web address:
Telephone: +44 (0) 151 478 4417
Fax: +44 (0) 151 478 4590

Summary of running cost grant-in-aid: main account 2005/06

Financial summary

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