IT IS the story of Southampton’s lifeblood which tells the story of its maritime past.

An exhibition showcasing the city’s rich seafaring heritage of ocean liners has been opened.

SeaCity Museum’s Port Out, Southampton Home display tells the story of ocean liners, revealing old travel posters, items that were used aboard famous ships and huge and intricately detailed models.

The collection’s oldest items are from the 1890s, a collection of watercolour paintings showing people boarding a vessel.

Lead exhibition officer Dan Matthews said: “We have been planning the exhibition for about two years and it has taken thousands of hours to put together.

“Everything has to be prepared for display and some of these items are more than 100-years-old so you need to be careful.

“If you are from Southampton it is such a fundamental part of the city’s history, it is not just about the ships but about all the people who worked on them.”

One of those people is John Newton, who got to see the exhibit first hand and said: “When you first come in there is a big model of the Andes which I worked on back in the 1960s.

“I was on it three times as a deck boy, an ordinary seaman and as an able bodied seaman.”

The 64-year-old from Southampton added:”I love the models, you can even see where my cabin was right at the bottom.

“That was a good place for dolphin spotting as you had the closest view.

“This exhibition is fantastic, it is good for everyone but for me, and people like me, it brings back a lot of memories.”

Also taking in the sights was Cllr Satvir Kaur, the cabinet member for communities, culture and leisure, who said: “You can’t talk about Southampton without talking about the port and the liners and you can’t be a Sotonian without being passionate about our port.

“This exhibition looks to really tell that story and is probably the most ambitious heritage project we have undertaken in Southampton.”

Taking in the sights was Stephen Payne, the designer of the Queen Mary 2 who said: “The exhibition is really good and shows all the different eras of liners and cruise ships, there is so much here that I have never seen before.

“Southampton is the home of the liners and it really is nice to see a proper exhibition about them.”

Port Out, Southampton Home is open now and will be on display at the SeaCity Museum until June 4, 2017.