Titanic-Themed Escape to Halifax
By Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb
Nova Scotia’s capital is a hip, harbor-hugging city and its 400,000 citizens know how to have some serious fun. But Halifax has a past that's been touched by tragedy, too: Most famously so in April 1912, when the RMS Titanic went down in the North Atlantic Ocean. Being the closest major port to the site of the capsized ship, Halifax became the base for recovery operations, and international attention focused on the city as wreckage and remains filtered through.
In this centennial year, the spotlight is being switched on again in Halifax as Titanic aficionados—from near, far, from wherever they are—flock in. Here’s the how-to for a perfect (and poignant) weekend escape.
What to Do
Start by boning through the backstory at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which houses a stellar collection of Titanic artifacts, ranging from a tear-inducing pair of baby shoes to one of the liner’s only intact deckchairs. From April 12 through October 31, it also hosts an exhibit highlighting two local ships that participated in the recovery process—and returned home with 205 bodies. Through June, another display is devoted to photos of grave markers erected for the 150 victims buried here.
To properly pay your respects, visit the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the final resting place for 121 of the Titanic's victims. Their simple granite headstones aren’t hard to find: Just follow the well-trodden path—or scan the grassy site for a curious pile of tchotchkes that fans of James Cameron’s film occasionally leave at the one honoring 23-year-old J. Dawson, an onboard coal trimmer.
Both the museum and cemetery factor prominently in special anniversary events, too. On the evening of Saturday, April 14, a candlelit public procession begins at the museum and winds up to the Grand Parade (a colonial military site) for a music-filled commemorative program. After a moment’s silence at 12:20am (the time Titanic started going down), flares will go off to symbolize her distress calls. The next afternoon a memorial service takes place at Fairview Lawn.
A boatload of other themed events is slated for April, as well: Concerts, lectures, tours, theatrical performances—like Celine Dion’s heart, the list goes on. Visit http://www.destinationhalifax.com for details.
Where to Stay
The Halliburton, a trio of 200-year-old townhouses near the harbor, is the top choice. Its boutique rooms mix period furnishings with 21st-century perks. All 29 have fluffy duvets and some have fireplaces, making this ideal on chilly spring nights.
Where to Eat
For true Titanic cred, no restaurant rivals Five Fishermen, across from the Grand Parade. Part of its splurge-worthy dining room was once Snow’s Funeral Home, where wealthy passengers—including John Jacob Aster—were "laid out." Today, wine bottles line the rope-pulled elevator, which brought bodies up, while the original embalming area has morphed into a room for private parties. Throughout April, the eatery offers a $46-prix fixe menu featuring dishes served at Titanic’s last supper (like salmon mousseline and Waldorf pudding).
For a quick nosh right on the water, try the Seaport Farmers’ Market. The architecturally striking venue sells finger food plus takeaway treats. Look outside for the statue of Halifax-born shipping magnate Samuel Cunard: His line’s Carpathia, the first vessel to reach Titanic, rescued some 700 passengers.
How to Get There
THINKING OF A TRIP TO HALIFAX?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, plus the best planning advice, check out our online Halifax Travel Guide.
Correction - John Jacob Astor
A survivor’s account of the sinking of the Titanic has been rediscovered after having been lost for decades and will be published next month ahead of the 100th anniversary of the disaster.
John B. “Jack” Thayer, who boarded the ship at age 17 with his parents, printed his recollections of the catastrophe as a family record in 1940 and made just 500 copies.
The tome was recently unearthed by Lorin Stein, editor of the Paris Review, who recalled a family tie he had to the Titanic after Luke Pontifell, who runs handmade-book publisher Thornwillow Press, said he wished he could track down documents from the ship.
“Suddenly, I half-remembered that a distant cousin of mine had written an eyewitness account and had given my great-grandfather a copy,” Stein said. “My mother found the book in my grandfather’s library when he died.”
In the pages, Thayer recalls boarding in Southampton as a first-class passenger. As the ship sank 800 miles off New York on April 14, 1912, he was separated from his parents but assumed they had made it into a lifeboat. He describes how he jumped: “The shock of the water took the breath out of my lungs. Down and down I went, spinning in all directions.”
Thayer clung to an overturned lifeboat as he watched the Titanic go down. “Suddenly the whole superstructure . . . appeared to split . . . and blow and buckle upwards,” he wrote.
“We could see groups of the almost 1,500 people still aboard, clinging in clusters of bunches like swarming bees; only to fall in masses, pairs or singly, as the great after-part of the ship, 250 feet of it, rose into the sky, till it reached a 65- or 70-degree angle.”
Thayer was rescued by a lifeboat. His mother survived, but his father perished.
Thornwillow is hosting a dinner April 4 at the St. Regis Hotel, where it has a library. The hotel was built by John Jacob Astor, who died on the Titanic. The imprint is making 5,000 copies of the book with a foreword by Stein.
“Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived,” by Andrew Wilson, Atria Books, 2012, 400 pages, $25.
The Titanic had its rendezvous with the iceberg 100 years ago this April, and more than 1,500 died after the ship sank.
The ship’s loss created a minor industry in publishing — the Titanic book. Books about the ship, the voyage, the sinking and its rediscovery have appeared during the century following Titanic’s loss.
The weight of the books printed on the subject likely exceeds the Titanic’s displacement by now.
Could there be room on bookshelves for yet one more Titanic book? Could any aspect of the sinking remain unexplored?
Andrew Wilson has found one niche with his new book: “Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived.” Instead of focusing on the ship and its sinking, Wilson traces the lives of the 705 survivors.
Wilson presents a kaleidoscopic collection of people. Titanic’s passenger list contained a wide selection of Edwardian society, from the wealthiest to the poorest.
Among the most famous survivors were Madeleine Astor (pregnant bride of one of the United States’ wealthiest men), White Star Line Chairman J. Bruce Ismay and silent-movie star Dorothy Gibson.
The unknowns included Marion Wright, Millvena Dean and the Navratil brothers. Wright became a farmwife in Oregon. Dean, then an infant, later gained fame as Titanic’s last survivor. The Navratil brothers, sailing under assumed names, had been stolen from their mother by their father.
Wilson tells their stories. Few survivors were unaffected by their experiences. Most survivors lost family members. All endured the trauma of watching those in the water die. This trauma often was compounded by guilt, as few of the lifeboats — even those that were not full — attempted to rescue those still struggling in the water.
Ten of the 705 survivors committed suicide. While this might not sound extraordinarily high, the suicide rate for the overall population is 11.3 deaths for every 100,000 people.
Titanic survivors were 100 times more likely to die by suicide than an average person. Others, like Ismay, were overwhelmed by survivor’s guilt.
While some went down to failure, others continued on to lead successful lives. Still others put their lives back together, only to be overcome by later crises: World War I, the Great Depression or World War II.
“Shadow of the Titanic” comes at an apt time. The last Titanic survivor died in 2009, so their story is complete. Wilson has produced a book that sheds light on a fascinating piece of the Titanic epic.
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.
First-class food on the Titanic
Dinner on the Titanic was a luxurious affair for first-class passengers and surprisingly fancy for those below deck, too.
7:00AM GMT 18 Mar 2012
'Titanic was called the ship of dreams, and it was – it really was.' James Cameron's Oscar-winning film from 1997 is back in cinemas in April, this time in 3D, to coincide with the ship's centenary. I can't wait. The script was hokum and it went on far too long, but the young Kate Winslet – just 21 when it was shot – is heart-breakingly good. And the whole thing remains such a spectacle.
Take the food. For me, it would be worth the price of a ticket just for a fleeting moment in the first-class dining-room when a waiter walks past pushing a dessert trolley. We glimpse: a platter of whole peeled oranges; a spiky pineapple; some garnet-red pears poached in wine; a tower of sticky brandy snaps stuffed with whipped cream; and a pyramid of plump profiteroles. Right here in pudding form is the full opulence of the Edwardian table.
I know we are meant to think it looks more fun below deck in steerage, where they swig beer and dance to Irish folk songs. When Jack – the Leonardo DiCaprio character – spunkily declines the offer of caviar in first class ('I never did like it much') we are meant to applaud. But I can't help swooning over the white tablecloths and silverware, the vases of flowers and the possibility of lamb with mint sauce.
On board the real Titanic the contrast between the classes when it came to food was less pronounced than in the film. It is true that the luxury of first-class meals was stupendous: filet mignon, oysters, pâté de foie gras. For luncheon passengers could choose from a buffet including lobsters and potted shrimps, with consommé to start and roquefort to finish. The ship set sail with 1,000lb of hot-house grapes and 800 bundles of asparagus to satisfy wealthy appetites.
There was a wonderful range of first-class rooms to eat in, from the saloon depicted in the film to an intimate à la carte restaurant decorated in Louis Seize style and a veranda café. A new Titanic museum opening in Belfast on 31 March will include banqueting rooms that aim to recreate some of the glamour of those first-class meals.
But dining second-class was not too shabby either. Harvey Collyer, a second-class passenger, wrote home to his parents in Surrey about how swanky it was: 'We can't describe the tables, it's like a floating town.' The second-class saloon had fancy napkins, elegant chairs and very plentiful food. For breakfast you could choose from grilled kidneys and bacon, ham and eggs, Vienna and Graham bread rolls, buckwheat cakes, maple syrup, soda scones, tea and coffee, with various fruits and cereals. Also, oddly, watercress.
The main difference from the first-class breakfast was that you could not have omelettes and steaks cooked to order. Even in third class the meals were far more luxurious than you'd expect. A typical day might start with porridge, liver and bacon, Irish stew and fresh bread and butter. A midday meal might be boiled mutton and caper sauce, with green peas and boiled potatoes, followed by plum pudding.
In the evening hearty dishes like sausages and mash or fish cakes were served, plus bread, butter, jam, fruit and tea. If you compare this to the standard meals on almost any form of transport today it sounds infinitely more nutritious and appealing. It really was the ship of dreams when it came to food. If only we didn't know how it ended.
NEW YORK, March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- A new book - TITANIC: THE TENNIS STORY by Lindsay Gibbs ($12.95, New Chapter Press) - tells the incredible stories of tennis players Dick Williams and Karl Behr, who survived the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago on April 15, met on the rescue ship Carpathia, and went on to become teammates on the U.S. Davis Cup team and, incredibly, faced each other in the quarterfinals of the 1914 U.S. Championships (the modern-day US Open). Williams nearly had his legs amputated after surviving the night in the frigid water and went on to win the U.S. singles title two years after the tragedy. Behr first asked his girlfriend Helen Newsom to marry him on the Titanic and survived by a stroke of luck, being allowed into the second lifeboat before panic and the passengers realized the gravity of the event.
"Everyone I talk to about this book simply cannot believe this story," said Gibbs, a New York University film school graduate and blogger for http://www.TennisGrandstand.com . "It's more fascinating, heroic and romantic than the James Cameron movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Here, the love interests survive and the hero wins the modern-day US Open."
Behr, from New York, was a standout player at Yale and a Wimbledon doubles finalist in 1907 . Williams, whose father was killed on the Titanic, became a star at Harvard, a two-time U.S. singles champion (1914, 1916) and a Wimbledon doubles champion in 1920. He was a long-time resident of Philadelphia.
The book is the first novel for Gibbs, originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, now a resident of New York.
Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is also the publisher of Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer, The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Education of a Tennis Player by Rod Laver, The Wimbledon Final That Never Was by Sidney Wood, Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion's Toughest Match by Cliff Richey, Tennis Made Easy by Kelly Gunterman, On This Day In Tennis History by Randy Walker, A Player's Guide To USTA League Tennis by Tony Serksnis, Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda among others.
The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic looms before us, bringing with it a flotilla of commemorative coverage of what is already the most obsessively scrutinized maritime disaster in history.
Our fascination is driven by a perfect storm of factors surrounding a sinking that occurred on a clear night and a calm sea. Among them:
It was the maiden voyage of the largest, most luxurious ship then yet built. The loss of life was staggering — 1,517 people died on April 15, 1912, including some of the world's richest and most influential people. The pride and self-confidence behind the "unsinkable" ship were overweening, down to the fact that there were far more passengers than lifeboat seats.
Beyond that, it was a stark reminder of the limits of technology in the face of nature.
One iceberg, an outsize chunk of frozen water, had destroyed the engineering marvel of the age, sending it 2½ miles to the ocean floor, where it sat unfound for nearly three-quarters of a century.
That is the stuff of myth and metaphor. And it is the anchor of our obsession.
"The human element continues to live on in this, and the disaster was just this terrible comedy of errors, both man-made and natural," says Mark Gumbinger, a Wisconsin-based documentary filmmaker specializing in maritime subjects. "We're still talking about it, and we'll be talking about it 200 years from now."
Gumbinger, who has made films about the Titanic and the Edmund Fitzgerald, the doomed Great Lakes freighter lost in 1975, listed a string of human errors in the Titanic disaster: the original 64 lifeboats reduced to 16 to save space, the shipbuilders' decision to use cheaper rivets, the press for a transatlantic speed record despite iceberg warnings, misplaced binoculars in the Titanic's crow's nest on a moonless night.
Simple bad luck was also a factor. The Titanic's launch was set back six weeks because of repairs needed on its sister
PERFECT STORM: A series of errors and bad luck contributed to the Titanic's sinking — the shipbuilders decided to use cheaper rivets, and the iceberg that presumably sank the ship, below, might not have been in the shipping lane if the launch of the voyage hadn't been delayed by six weeks. (Photos courtesy of The New York Times)
ship, the Olympic. Without that delay, icebergs would likely not have been in the Titanic's shipping lane.
The Titanic's sinking, and the snuffing and altering of so many lives, has triggered any number of intriguing "what-ifs." Think of it as a waterborne butterfly effect.
Consider: If mining heir Benjamin Guggenheim had not gone down with the ship, his daughter Peggy would likely not have inherited $2.5 million on her 21st birthday in 1919. Without that, she would have been unable to underwrite future art masters such as Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst, Man Ray and Paul Klee. Would the midcentury cultural landscape have been altered?
(In any event, we would have one less symbol for disasters fueled by hubris.)
Survivors of the sinking of the Titanic approach the RMS Carpathia in this April 15, 1912, photo. The Titanic had only 16 lifeboats onboard. (Photo courtesy of The New York Times)
disasters have since occurred that resulted from the collision of human pride with nature's caprice. Some have even changed national policy, as the Titanic sinking changed maritime law regarding safety measures.
The 1930s Dust Bowl was largely the result of agriculture policy that allowed farmers to plow under the wild grasses that historically anchored the soil in Oklahoma, Texas and southeast Colorado. Drought came, then sustained winds, and an entire region and livelihood were laid to waste.
Vast California metropolises have been built along the San Andreas Fault, despite assurances from seismologists that a devastating earthquake is merely a matter of time. The 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles exposed inadequacies
French brothers Michel, 4, and Edmond Navratil, 2, were called the orphans of the Titanic before they were correctly identified and returned to their mother. To board the ship, the boys' father assumed the name Louis Hoffman and called the boys by their nicknames, Lolo and Mamon. Louis was one of the more than 1,500 people who died when the massive ship hit an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in April 1912.(Photo courtesy of The New York Times)
in building codes.
More recently, the 2011 tsunami in Japan that killed thousands and crippled a nuclear power plant also showed how nature trumps human ambition. History has yet to tell just how far-reaching the implications will be.
The Titanic disaster happened before the age of social media. There were no iPhones to transmit photos, footage and goodbyes from the dying ship. Just a few frantic SOS transmissions from the ship's wireless room.
All that we have are the accounts of survivors, and the subsequent reconstruction of events based on examining the riven hull and shattered keel of the ship on the seabed.
Part of our fascination with the Titanic lies in the human psyche's ability to wrestle with the scale
An undated photo shows the grand staircase between the boat deck and the promenade deck aboard the RMS Titanic, which collided with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. (Photo courtesy of The New York Times)
of a calamity — and our cultural proximity to it. As Americans, we read stories about natural disasters in far parts of the world — 240,000 killed in the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in China, or 139,000 drowned in Bangladesh flooding in 1991 — and shake our heads. So ungraspable and far away.
But a space shuttle goes down, and some experts will tell you it's about a 1-in-100 chance on any mission, and the images are seared into the national memory. So intimate and near.They were us.
This connection is part of why we remain captivated by the Titanic a century later. In the North Atlantic's vast expanse, a luxury ship on its maiden voyage crosses paths with an iceberg in a placid sea. Less than three hours later, it shears in half and slips beneath the water.
Except in a legend that has already outlived the last survivor.
SAVING THE TITANIC, The Remarkable Untold Story of the Men Who Tried to Save the Ship, Premieres Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings) on PBS
NEW YORK, March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The following is being released today by WNET:
She was the Pride of the British Empire and a leading example of state-of-the art engineering in a time of groundbreaking scientific and technological innovations on a global scale. Yet the RMS Titanic sank less than three hours after striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912. Everyone knows about the many deaths in the icy waters, the fates of the rich and famous on the ship's maiden voyage and the dramas that played out in the Titanic's last hours. What is less known is how a team of shipbuilders and engineers attempted to save the stricken vessel. One hundred years after the sinking of the vessel considered unsinkable, SAVING THE TITANIC is the untold story of self-sacrifice and dignity of the ship's engineers, stokers and firemen in the face of impending death. With an ensemble cast in the roles of the valiant men below deck, SAVING THE TITANIC premieres on Sunday, April 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET with encore presentations on Friday, April 6 at 10:30 p.m. ET, Tuesday, April 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday, April 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS.
Additional PBS programs scheduled in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster include THE TITANIC WITH LEN GOODMAN (April 10) and NOVA "Why Ships Sink" (April 18).
Seeking to answer the question of what happened in the engine and boiler rooms after the collision, SAVING THE TITANIC tells the story of the disaster from below deck, with the action taking place between the time the crew embarked from Southampton until the eventual sinking of the ship. Based upon eyewitness accounts, this is the remarkable story of nine central characters from the engineering crew as they work among the huge, coal-fired furnaces heating the boilers and massive dynamos whirring to satisfy the ship's demand for electricity. These nine men -- among them 18-year-old electrical engineer Albert Ervine (Andrew Simpson) from Belfast and Chief Engineer Joseph Bell (David Wilmot) -- fought courageously to hold back the power of the sea and keep the power systems running, even when they learned that all was lost. Most of these men died but their brave actions saved many lives.
Vividly bringing to life the valiant struggle and last desperate hours of those who tried to save her, SAVING THE TITANIC features computer-generated imagery and high-end special effects. The program features an ensemble cast playing the key roles, including David Wilmot, Ciaran McMenamin, Owen McDonnell, Jonathan Byrne, Andrew Simpson, Hugh O'Conor, Douglas Rankine, Paul Kennedy, Stephen Hogan, Conor MacNeill, and Chris Newman.
SAVING THE TITANIC is a co-production of Tile Films Ltd. in Ireland and Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion in Germany produced in association with RTE, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland - Sound and Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme, Bord Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board, Windmill Lane Pictures Ltd., Section 481 - Ireland's Film Investment Scheme, AETN / History UK, ZDF, and ZDF Enterprises. Producer is Stephen Rooke. Co-Producer is Reinhardt Beetz. Creative Producer is Keith Farrell. Writers are Colin Herber-Percy & Lyall Watson. Director is Maurice Sweeney. Supervising Producer is Stephanie Carter. Production Assistant is Rachel Hartman. WNET Executive-in-Charge is Stephen Segaller.
With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy a month away, the ill-fated ship is still grabbing headlines from the U.S. to the U.K. and around the world. Ceremonies, remembrances, memorial coins and pendants are in the works and various special events are planned. For perhaps the most educational and enlightening experience to commemorate the Titanic’s maiden voyage, an eight-night, round-trip sailing from New York City on April 10, 2012 is offering scholars and enthusiasts an immersive learning experience 100 years later.
Adventurers still have the opportunity to visit the Titanic site aboard the cruise ship Azamara Journey. After a stop in Halifax to visit the cemetery where many Titanic victims have been laid to rest, the 694-passenger ship will arrive at the site at 2:20 a.m. on April 15 for a memorial service. Staterooms are still available, according to the vessel’s charter and organizer Miles Morgan of Miles Morgan Travel in the U.K., starting at $999 per guest, double occupancy.
A second voyage aboard the cruise ship Balmoral, also chartered by Miles Morgan, will meet Azamara Journey at the site of Titanic’s sinking and also pay their respects. Morgan said the Balmoral voyage went on sale five years ago in the U.K. and enthusiasm has been building since that time, while the memorial voyage aboard Azamara Journey went on sale only last year.
The Azamara Journey memorial voyage will feature two 90-minute lectures each day by noted Titanic experts and two formal, dress-up evenings—- one featuring an original Titanic dinner menu and the opportunity for guests to dress in period costumes. Lecturers include Swiss Titanic Society President Brigette Soar, Cunard Steamship Society Chairman John Langley, world’s foremost Titanic Artist Ken Marschall, the first master of the world’s current largest cruise ship Captain William S. Wright, celebrated author, historian and lecturer William H Miller, Jr., and Swiss Titanic Society Co-Founder and author Günter Bäbler.
OTTAWA, MARCH 20, 2012 — Canadian recovery efforts saluted in marking 100th anniversary of the ship's disaster
OTTAWA, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Canada Post unveiled today the images of the five stamps that will be issued on April 5 to mark the centennial of the sinking of RMS Titanic. The collection, created by Haligonian design team of Dennis Page and Oliver Hill, showcases the best-known ship in the world with depth and realism and adds some poignant Canadian attributes.
Canadians, and the citizens of Halifax, Nova Scotia, in particular, played a central role in theTitanic event through recovery efforts. "To this day, Canada, and especially Halifax, has an enduring and remarkably human connection to the Titanic story," says the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia. "The Canadian legacy of the Titanic still resonates strongly with everyone."
Creating a detailed image of a ship that has been under water for a century presented a wonderful challenge for Halifax-based designer Dennis Page. "This was the biggest man-made moving object on earth that after setting off on her maiden voyage hit an iceberg and ended in disaster. That really stuck with me and how I was going to show that feeling." Page basically put himself in the moment. "I imagined myself standing below her bow looking up which really gives that vantage point and perspective at how vast something like this could be."
Through this stamp collection Canada Post takes pride in respectfully marking an event in which so many lost their lives, and honouring the countless Canadians who helped in the recovery mission. "This is really our way of paying tribute to the Canadians involved," says Mary Traversy, Canada Post's Senior Vice-President of Mail. "With these stamps, we hope to preserve the legacy of the Canadians whose lives were deeply touched when Titanic sank off our coast."
The collection will be available on April 5 in all Canada Post outlets, online and via mail order. Pre-orders are also possible on canadapost.ca/shop.
The Titanic stamp collection The Titanic stamp collection is composed of five stamps, a stamp pane, a souvenir sheet, an uncut press sheet, prepaid postcards, framed prints, a collectible album and a stamp and coin collector envelope.
The four PERMANENT™ domestic-rate stamps come as two pairs of se-tenant stamps. Two show the Titanic's impressive bow and the other two feature the stern. The stern stamps are available only on the pane of 16 stamps, which includes eight stern stamps and eight bow stamps. The bow stamps are also available in a booklet of 10 and on the pane of 16 stamps. The international rate stamp shows a full-colour side illustration of the Titanic, sailing on a calm ocean with a layered map showing relevant locations. It is available in a booklet of six stamps, a souvenir sheet and a limited edition uncut press sheet. There will be two Official First Day Covers. The first will feature a photo from Father Brown's collection of the captain of the Titanic walking on the deck with the bow and the stern stamps. The second cover makes use of the international denomination stamp and features a photo of a paper boy in New York City announcing the disaster.
Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the news section of Canada Post's website, and photos of these new stamps are also available. Stamps and other products will be available at participating post offices, or can be ordered online by following the links atcanadapost.ca/collecting, or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA, call toll-free 1-800-565-4362, and from other countries, call 902 863-6550.
SOURCE Canada Post
Image with caption: "Canada Post unveiled today the images of the five stamps that will be issued on April 5 to mark the centennial of the sinking of RMS Titanic. (CNW Group/Canada Post)". Image available at:http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120320_C5975_PHOTO_EN_11300.jpg
Image with caption: "Canada Post unveiled today the images of the five stamps that will be issued on April 5 to mark the centennial of the sinking of RMS Titanic. (CNW Group/Canada Post)". Image available at:http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120320_C5975_PHOTO_EN_11306.jpg
Four days into its first (and last) Atlantic voyage, the seemingly impossible happened: the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank like a stone. That was 100 years ago this April.
How about we retrace the voyage - to visit memorials, museums and monuments - but this time, by plane?
Where do I to go to 'follow' the Titanic?
Belfast, Northern Ireland: Put Belfast at the top of your list. The city where the great ship was built opens a dazzling exhibit called "Titanic Belfast" on March 31 - a moving accompaniment to the city's beautiful new waterfront development.
How do I get to Belfast?
Fly into Belfast International: Located in Northern Ireland, this smaller airport features carriers like Ireland's Aer Lingus, European discounter EasyJet, andUnited Airlines, which offers flights from Newark.
Fly into Dublin Airport: Located in the Republic of Ireland, this busy airport sees more than 18 million travelers a year and is served by scores of international flagship carriers as well as Ireland-based discounter Ryanair. U.S. airlines include American, Delta, United and US Airways. Dublin is one of the cheaper cities in Europe to fly to, and it's only about 100 miles south of Belfast, a fairly easy drive.
Where else can I go for Titanic-related tourism?
Here's a listing of some of the great liner's ports of call and other cities with connections to the ship that offer museums or memorials worth a look:
Southampton, England: This city on the southern coast of England was the Titanic's first port of call and features two memorials. One honors the ship'sengineers and the other is dedicated to the fabled musicians who continued to play even as the ship went down.
To get to Southampton, you can fly into Southampton Airport on smaller airlines (it's a hub for discounter Flybe) or fly into London Heathrow, then fly or drive the rest of the way. (Southampton is just 82 miles from London.)
Cobh, Republic of Ireland: Back in the Titanic's day, this city was known as Queensland. It was the ship's final European port of call, where it took on scores of Irish immigrant passengers before heading across the Atlantic. There is a simple memorial in the town plus an exhibit on the ship at the Cobh Heritage Centre.
To get to Cobh, fly into nearby Cork, or fly to Shannon and savor the scenery during the 88-mile drive south.
Halifax, Nova Scotia: This was the closest major port to the spot where the Titanic sank, and it is where recovered bodies were brought for identification. View artifacts like a wooden deck chair at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and visit the cemeteries where 150 victims of the Titanic were buried, including many that were never identified.
To get to Halifax, fly into Halifax Stanfield International Airport. It's served by Canada's airlines as well as American, Delta, United and US Airways.
Indian Orchard, Mass.: The Titanic connection to this unlikely spot may simply be that two of its doomed passengers resided nearby - a well-traveled young man in first class, and an Irish domestic in third. It is home to the Titanic Historical Society, which operates a museum on Main Street.
To get to Indian Orchard, fly to Boston which is a JetBlue hub and one of the cheaper cities to travel to - or fly to Hartford, which is significantly closer.
Washington, D.C.: Go to Washington Channel Park just outside Fort McNair to see animposing statue honoring those Titanic passengers "who gave their lives that women and children might be saved." It was erected shortly before the 20th anniversary of the sinking.
To get to Washington, fly into one of three airports: Washington Dulles, Washington Reagan or Baltimore/Washington. Note: Several low-cost airlines, including JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America have all petitioned the Department of Transportation to begin flights into Washington Reagan this summer.
Page last updated on: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society's Titanic QSL card
Titanic Movie - The Last Signals
The Last Signals is the story of the sinking of the RMS Titanic from the point of view of its Marconi Telegraph Operators.
Harold Bride, the Junior Operator, is the focus of the film. John Phillips is the Chief Operator.
This film was put together attempting to be the most historically accurate representation of the sinking of the Titanic. The sets were painstakingly made to represent the real Titanic's Marconi room using several sources- ship blueprints, photographic evidence, and first hand accounts. The story was pieced together and recreated to be exactly as the real story was- and in many places the scene unfolds pretty much word for word as it did on the real Titanic.
Over two years in the making, this film is only the shortened version of the feature film (as of now still in post-production). The feature film depicts more scenes aboard the Titanic- specifically Father Frank Browne's photography (the only known photo of the room), the ice warning (which were almost entirely cut from this version), and more information about their personal backgrounds. In addition to showing more of the Titanic story, it also depicts more aboard the Carpathia, and large segments of the story take place in New York City during the weeks of the US Senatorial Investigations, where not only do we see the world's reaction to the sinking, but we also see Harold Bride's recovery from the disaster.
Written, Directed, and Produced by Tom Lynskey (also played John Phillips) http://www.youtube.com/jkilts
Harold Bride played by Jake Swing
Original Soundtrack by Joseph Falabella
TITANIC RESURFACES 100 YEARS LATER
To mark the centenary of the Titanic's fateful voyage, the SA Maritime Museum will open RMS Titanic: Voyage of the Century on 24 March 2012.
WHEN: 24/03/2012 to 31/10/2012
WHERE: SA Maritime Museum
2012 marks a major anniversary in maritime history. On 14 April 1912 RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. In the early hours of 15 April it sank with the loss of almost 1500 lives. Titanic was an emblem of the Edwardian era: a monument to ingenuity, extravagance, audacity and heroism. The disaster touched countless lives across the globe, including in South Australia, and it has gripped the imagination of generations. To mark the centenary, the SA Maritime Museum will open RMS Titanic: Voyage of the Century on 24 March 2012.
The exhibition will bring together objects from Australian institutions and private collections, many on display for the first time. It will tell the local story of South Australians on board. It will showcase mementos kept by survivors and keepsakes from crew passed down through generations, such as a medal given to stewardess Katherine Gold ‘In Memory of Titanic’ and personal objects used by Titanic hero Fifth Officer Harold Lowe. Clothing from the era will illustrate fashions from steerage to first class and provide a link to living spaces on the ship.
The exhibition will examine the construction of the ship and follow the events of its only voyage. It will explore the human tragedy, present scientific studies of the wreck, including video footage of the site and scrutinise theories about why the ship sank.
Visitors will be immersed in the scale of the ship and its riveted iron hull. Visitors can turn a great ships wheel to find out just what happened on that fateful night. Music played to memorialise the victims will be played. Visitors can even try their hand at transcribing a wireless message.
A series of events will also be held to allow visitors to experience the tragedy even more closely. On Friday 13 April, the Figurehead Gallery will be transformed into Titanic’s Café Parisien. At the Last Drinks on the Titanic event, guests will experience a menu reflecting food and drink served to Titanic’s young, aristocratic café crowd. A string quartet will play music of the era and tours of the exhibition
will be provided. This event is selling out fast.
On 31 March, renowned American forensic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick, the author of two best-selling books, will provide a FREE lecture at the Museum about the pioneering work using forensics to find the identity of an unknown child that died on the Titanic. The evening will also offer an exclusive viewing of the exhibition.
Bookings for both events are essential. Please call the Museum on (08) 8207 6255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.
RMS Titanic: Voyage of the Century exhibition
24 March to October 2012
Free with museum entry
Last Drinks on the Titanic
Friday 13 April 2012
Cost $65 per head
($70 per head when booked after 1 April)
Titanic – the Unknown Child lecture
Saturday 31 March 2012
As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic nears next month the public's interest in the tragedy has not diminished.
On April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage, traveling from Southampton, England, to New York.
It was nicknamed the "Millionaire's Special".
The ship was fittingly captained by Edward J. Smith, who was known as the "Millionaire's Captain" because of his popularity with wealthy passengers.
Onboard were a number of prominent people, including American businessman Benjamin Guggenheim, British journalist William Thomas Stead, and Macy's department store co-owner Isidor Straus and his wife, Ida.
Here is a look at the disaster and its aftermath:
-- The liner struck an iceberg late on April 14 and sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912. The ship's starboard side scraped along the iceberg. At least five of its supposedly watertight compartments toward the bow were ruptured.
-- After assessing the damage, as the ship's forward compartments filled with water, its bow would drop deeper into the ocean, causing water from the ruptured compartments to spill over into each succeeding compartment, thereby sealing the ship's fate.
-- Of the 2,223 passengers and crew aboard the ship, dubbed "unsinkable" before departure, 1,517 died. Third class suffered the greatest loss - of approximately 710 on board, only some 174 survived. Seventy-six percent of the crew died.
100 YEARS ON:
-- U.S. and British investigations proposed various safety recommendations just after the sinking, and in 1913 the first International Conference for Safety of Life at Sea was called in London. The conference drew up rules requiring that every ship have lifeboat space for each person embarked; that lifeboat drills be held for each voyage.
-- In September 1985, the first underwater images of the Titanic were recorded as its giant boilers were discovered. Later video showed the ship lying upright in two pieces.
-- In addition to being the subject of numerous books, the ship inspired various movies, notably "A Night to Remember" (1958) and James Cameron's blockbuster "Titanic" (1997).
-- Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the 1912 sinking died in June 2009. She was 97. Dean was just nine weeks old when her family sold a pub they owned in London to travel on the maiden voyage of the passenger liner and begin a new life in Wichita, Kansas, in the United States, where her father Bertram hoped to open a tobacconist shop.
-- Researchers assembled in March 2012 a field map of the wreck. The mapping team snapped 130,000 photos throughout 2010 using two underwater robots and using solar imaging to create the most in-depth picture yet of the 3-mile by 5-mile swath of wreckage.
A professor at downtown Brooklyn’s City Tech is trying to vindicate survivors of the Titanic whose testimony was discredited after its sinking a century ago.
Fifteen eyewitnesses told investigators the mighty ship broke in two before its death plunge into the icy North Atlantic.
Politicians in the United States and Great Britain who led disaster probes did not believe them — and sided with the Titanic’s highest-ranking surviving officer, who said it slid into the sea in one piece.
“It’s like seeing someone in trouble and being able to help,” New York City College of Technology Prof. Rich Woytowich, 61, said about his high-tech defense of the now-dead witnesses.
Just ahead of the 100th anniversary of the sinking on April 15, he and a colleague will present a computer model showing the Titanic split apart on its way to its watery grave makes perfect sense.
“Originally, it was believed the survivors were under a lot of stress and weren’t in command of their faculties — and their testimony just wasn’t credible,” he said.
“It turns out the problem was with the listeners.”
The computer model, which Woytowich devised with technical historian Roy Mengot, shows the breakup of the Titanic likely started when two pieces tore off the bottom of it.
After that, their computer model indicates, the ship broke in half. Then the back portion, or stern, stood on end before sliding into the water — which gives credence to testimony from survivors like crew member Edward Buley.
“(S)he snapped in two, and the bow part went down and the afterpart came up and staid up five minutes before it went down,” the Titanic seaman told disbelieving U.S. Senators during their 1912 investigation. “(W)e were quite near her and could see her quite plainly.”
Woytowich and Mengot created the model after seeing photos from an expedition to the Titanic’s underwater wreckage that show two large pieces of the bottom of the ship.
Their torn edges looked neat and clean, as Woytowich would expect if they were the first bits to break apart instead of the last.
The pictures appeared to contradict a widely believed theory — alluded to in James Cameron’s blockbuster film “Titanic” — that the ship ripped apart from the top down, beginning with the uppermost decks.
Woytowich will present his research about the survivors’ testimony on April 4 at the International Marine Forensics Symposium just outside Washington, D.C — where the Titanic will be a major topic on the agenda.
More than 1,500 people died aboard the Titanic in its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City 100 years ago.
The ship, deemed unsinkable, hit an iceberg at night. It had only 20 lifeboats for 2,200 passengers and crew. Among its victims were rich, powerful New Yorkers including John Jacob Astor IV and Benjamin Guggenheim.
The Eltingville, Staten Island resident has been doing Titanic research since 1998. The projects are a labor of love, separate from his City Tech academic obligations; he isn’t paid for them, and never tried to get funding.
“I never wanted to be obligated to anybody,” he said.
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – You know when you're in the White Star Line plot at Fairview Lawn Cemetery because the tombstones are lined up in military precision. There are 121 of them, all bearing the identical date of death: April 15, 1912.
Fairview Lawn Cemetery is one of 24 spots in Halifax with links to the world's most famous shipwreck. Of 150 Titanic victims buried in three of the city's cemeteries, most are here.
On a gray, drizzly day, retired school principal Glenn Taylor pauses before a stone inscribed J. Dawson. The grass in front is trampled. Faded flowers lie at its base. It has been this way since 1997, when Titanic first hit theaters.
"The gardeners can't get the grass to grow since the movie came out," Taylor says. "People think the J. Dawson buried here was the basis for Leonardo DiCaprio's character (Jack Dawson). He wasn't. This was 23-year-old Irishman Joseph Dawson, a coal trimmer on the Titanic."
But with 2012 marking the centennial of the maritime disaster that killed 1,523 passengers and crew, the city is poised for a flurry of Titanic-related activity that will continue even after solemn ceremonies on April 14 and 15.
By Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY
Two commemorative Titanic cruises bound for the wreck site 700 miles offshore are planned in April. And Titanic-themed events, including theater performances, lectures and exhibits, will play into summer.
"People are drawn to the Titanic like no other disaster," says Taylor, who comes to this conclusion after six years conducting tours of Halifax's Titanic-linked sites for Ambassatours Gray Line.
In the two hours and 40 minutes from the time of the first distress call to being rescued or enveloped by the North Atlantic waters, "people faced so many consequences. Individuals can ask themselves, 'What would I have done? Would I have been brave?' How do you say goodbye to your husband or your wife?" Taylor muses.
"It draws out so many emotions, and that's why I think the Titanic story will go on forever."
Halifax was an unwitting participant in that story. St. John's, Newfoundland, was closer to the wreckage, but because Halifax had reliable rail connections to America, Titanic's owner, White Star Line, chose to stage recovery operations from here.
An exhibit opening April 12 at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic will explore the role of cable ships (used to lay trans-Atlantic communications cable on the ocean floor) in recovering bodies.
In its permanent Titanic exhibit, the museum displays a wooden deck chair from the ship (it was picked up by the cable ship Minia and given to a local clergyman who had performed many of the services at sea for victims). Part of the ship's Grand Staircaseand a newel post are on display. So are a pair of tiny leather shoes belonging to a victim dubbed "the unknown child."
Transcripts of the distress calls, the first of which came at 12:05 a.m. April 15, are here, along with details of personal effects found with the victims. For instance, records show that financier John Jacob Astor wore a blue serge suit, gold watch and gold diamond-inlaid cuff links, and he carried 225 pounds in British currency and $2,440.
Related sites walk 'a fine line'
If passengers were divided by class onboard the ship, those distinctions persisted as the bodies were brought ashore in Halifax, Taylor notes. First-class passengers' bodies were transported in caskets to John Snow and Sons Undertakers on Argyle Street. (Forty or so outside embalmers had to be summoned to handle the workload.)
Today, the former mortuary is home to Five Fishermen, an upscale seafood restaurant near the waterfront. As they tote mussel-filled plates from the salad bar past the central wine cage, most patrons are unaware that it once was an elevator used to transport the bodies of Titanic victims for burial prep.
Second- and third-class passengers were transported in body bags to the Mayflower Curling Rink. Because those bodies would not be embalmed, they were literally put on ice at the rink until burial, Taylor says.
Today the building houses an Army-Navy surplus store. Owner Erick Corkum hasn't exploited the Titanic connection, though he has considered "maybe doing a T-shirt. But it's a fine line. You don't want to insult someone."
Halifax is no stranger to maritime disaster. In 1917, two ships, one loaded with ammunition, collided in the harbor. The explosion flattened the northern end of the city, killing thousands.
Nor are tragedies uncommon off Nova Scotia, one of Canada's stormiest provinces. TheAndrea Gail, the doomed fishing vessel at the eye of The Perfect Storm, came to its end 200 miles or so off this coast.
But it is the Titanic tragedy that resonates with many on his tours, Taylor says. "There's an incredible spirit to the Titanic. One hundred years later, people still want to connect."
Making it personal
They do so by learning the stories of those who died. And there's no better place to hear them than at Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Of 150 Titanic victims buried in three Halifax cemeteries, most are here.
They include the clothes presser. The butcher. The assistant boot polisher. The unknown child. There's Luigi Gatti, who ran the ship's à la carte restaurant, and James McGrady, a saloon steward whose body was the last to be recovered.
There is John Law Hume, a violinist in the orchestra. An admirer has left a bouquet of fresh flowers and a poem at his grave on what would have been his 121st birthday.
"People are drawn to him," Taylor says after reading the anonymous heartfelt poem to his tour group. "This young man, 21 years old, who was going to see the world, meet the rich and famous, make a name for himself. And four days after his job on the Titanic started, he's at the bottom of the Atlantic."
At Fairview Lawn, third-class passengers are buried next to other third-class passengers; crewmembers' tombstones abut wealthy victims' graves. If they weren't equals in life, they are in death.
"The 100th anniversary is coming up, and you'll be inundated with Titanic stories," Taylor says as he wanders along the straight, white rows of headstones toward the cemetery's exit. "But because you've come here, you've met some of the passengers and the crew."
He pauses and adds, "It's about this time in the tour when I ask if anyone needs grief counseling."
Will Titanic Belfast do for the city what the Guggenheim did for Bilbao?
The £100m Titanic Belfast visitor centre will raise the city's profile on the centenary of the sinking. But there are fears that its costs will not be recouped in tourist numbers
The Titanic visitor centre in Belfast. Photograph: Paul McErlane for the Guardian
One hundred years ago next week, the largest moving man-made object on Earth eased into Belfast lough and set off for New York City. For three years, Belfast had watched the RSS Titanic's enormous hull come together, rivet by rivet, in the Harland and Wolff dockyards, and the launch was a big day for the city: thousands of ticket-holding spectators were joined by a clutch of dignitaries and more than 100 members of the press to wave it farewell.
Thirteen days later, the Titanic lay at the bottom of the Atlantic, and 1,517 people were dead. "It was such a shock for people [in Belfast]," says Susie Millar, whose great-grandfather was on board, and drowned. "They felt that their pride had been dented. They felt perhaps they were being punished for having that pride in the first place."
For two generations, she says, the city felt "a sense of shame and of embarrassment, and instead of dealing with it, in true Northern Irelandstyle we swept it under the carpet".
If Belfast was once ashamed of its connection with the Titanic, it is fair to say it has got over it. Next week will see the launch of the Titanic Belfast festival, "a fusion of international-scale events" to mark the centenary of what was once merely a terrible tragedy, but has become a source of pride to the city – and potentially a very lucrative cash cow.
At least seven different plays related to the sinking are being staged in the city, alongside Titanic: The Musical at the city's Grand Opera House. Two separate choral works have been commissioned, and a memorial garden will be unveiled at the City Hall.
The slipways from which the ship was launched will host an interactive light show and an MTV pop concert, and serve as the start of a new stage of the Circuit of Ireland motor rally.
Locals can host on-board Titanic-themed hen nights on Belfast lough, take tours on Titanic-liveried buses around the city or even tuck into the Titanic-themed crisps on sale in local shops – "All aboard: only 60p".
Biggest and showiest of all, next week will also see the opening ofTitanic Belfast, an enormous £100m visitor attraction built on the slipway itself, which its cheerleaders hope will do for the city what the Guggenheim did for Bilbao – and what the film-maker James Cameron did for the marketability of what was once seen principally as a terrible tragedy.
It's not hard to see where the money has been spent. Using original photographs and video, CGI animation, 3D imagery, recreated cabins and a ride in suspended carts, Titanic Belfast's nine galleries tell the story of the ship's construction in what was then the busiest shipyard in the world, its fit-out, launch, its catastrophic end – and its second life as possibly the most famous ship that ever sailed.
The building in which it was housed is no less arresting: a sparkling behemoth that consciously evokes the White Star Line logo, the ship itself and, perhaps oddly, the iceberg that proved its comeuppance. "I'm looking forward to hearing the nicknames Belfast gives it," says its lead architect, Angus Waddington.
The building towers above the now ramshackle Edwardian drawing offices in which the Titanic and its sister ships were designed, but ambitions for Titanic Belfast are even higher. It's flattering, says Waddington, if people compare the building to the Guggenheim: "I think people want to mention that simply because it was such a catalyst for Bilbao and it was seen as a turning point in its reinvention, a shipbuilding, industrial city getting a new lease of life."
Tim Husbands, Titanic Belfast's chief executive, is equally bullish, describing the attraction as "a product that could transform the face of tourism in Northern Ireland. I don't say that without evidence. We have been marketing it for the past nine months or so and we already have some 80,000 tickets sold. The new emerging markets of China, India and Australia are showing significant interest in us as a product, and Northern Ireland has never had that – in fact Ireland doesn't have a tourism product that is marketed in that way." The centre's estimates predict a £24m boost to the local economy in 2012 alone.
Others, however, are considerably more sceptical. In a downbeat assessment in December, the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) expressed concerns that the attraction could struggle to attract the 290,000 visitors it needs each year just to break even. "If predicted visitor numbers do not materialise," it found, "the long-term future of the building would be doubtful." At least £60m of public money had been spent on Titanic Belfast, noted the NIAO; its total spend meant that "compared to other world-class attractions, the Titanic Signature Building will be one of the most expensive relative to the number of visitors it expects to attract".
Husbands, whose team describe Titanic as the second-biggest brand in the world after Coca-Cola, is unwavering, however. "There are Titanic visitor attractions all over the world doing very good business with absolutely no link at all to Titanic. We have a very authentic story to tell, and that's why we're very confident that we will have longevity." It will rely not only on visitor revenue. The top floors of the building – and its best views – are given over to a conference and banqueting centre. It is here that organisers have situated a painstaking replica of Titanic's sweeping staircase, lent particular fame by Cameron's 1997 blockbuster. Ordinary visitors paying the £13.50 entrance fee won't get to see it. In the narrow, redbrick terrace streets of Protestant east Belfast, from which many shipyard workers – 15,000 of them in 1912 – were drawn, the shiny new building just down the road in what is now termed Belfast's "Titanic Quarter" is seen as an almost distant curiosity.
John Keenan has a few commemorative teapots in the window of his "Union Jack Shop", but "we've always done that. I'm selling a few more than usual, but there's not that much money about."
Despite living in the shadow of Harland and Wolff's famous yellow cranes – "you can't open your eyes in the morning but you see the cranes" – he says local people have been "badly left behind" by the Titanic commemorations. "Obviously in this part of Belfast, if you go back into your family history there's someone who worked in the shipyards back then. But all the pensioners who live on this road, they are not going to trek over to see a Titanic museum. The tourist buses go about here, they slow down at the murals, click click click click click, but they don't stop. So how is it helping east Belfast?" For Susie Millar, however, who will spend the centenary on board a ship at the north Atlantic wreck site, the renewed global interest in Titanic, and in Belfast's part in its story, is only to be welcomed.
"We've a lot to thank the diving team who found the wreck, along with James [Cameron], Kate [Winslet] and Leonardo [DiCaprio]. They helped us recognise what an appetite there was out there in the world for Titanic stories. That's when we started to think: 'Hang on a minute, we have a great story to tell here in Belfast.'"
This is a familiar photograph, taken by R J Welch, of workers streaming out from Harland -amp; Wolff shipyard at the end of the day's shift. Hundreds of men fan out past packed trams setting out for north and west Belfast.
The walkers stride towards (and under) the camera on their way to east Belfast. You can sense the rough energy even after a hard day's work.
The offices in the middle-ground are nondescript and anonymous. In the dusky background we can just make out the adolescent Titanic in her gantry.
The scene could not be farther from the scenes that came to symbolise Irish culture in the 20th century - rural and romantic.
Yet the duncher-clad workers in the foreground came to represent the only alternative to the poetry of the Irish countryside.
Writers have tried to wring literature out of urban working-class life, using sectarianism, labour agitation and domestic troubles as their chief engines.
Indeed, working-class life and values have come to dominate our cultural life in Belfast.
With the rare exception of St John Ervine, writings about the shipyard have ignored life inside those offices in the middle-ground of Welch's photograph and in the boardrooms in which Titanic and other marvels of technology were conceived.
This has carried over to our human interest in Titanic: we are preoccupied with the 'reality' of steerage passengers and the 'falsity' of idlers in the first-class cabins and ignore second-class, to whose stories we are indifferent.
Certainly those workers fanning out in an orderly fashion as befits a workforce could become an unruly crowd and then a mob, as they sometimes did in the riots in the shipyard.
But we and the artists have preferred to see Belfast working-class and factory life as undifferentiated even as a workforce, the urban equivalent of a rural peasantry.
But Welch's photograph of the shipyard workers belies the impressive diversity of expertise hidden by the uniformity of cloth caps and durable three-piece work-suits.
Those are caulkers, riveters, platers and drillers walking towards us. But they are also those who have just spent their day where specialty work was done - the pattern shop, the turning shop, the coppersmiths' shop, the joiners' shop, the brass foundry, the moulding-loft, the boiler shop, the machine shop, the timber store, and so on.
Out of sight in Welch's photograph are the countless machines that whirred all day long in Harland -amp; Wolff and Workman Clark's. Harland -amp; Wolff even made machines that made machines. And when they needed others, they bought them from the manufacturers of England and Scotland - from Rhodes, Shanks, Bennie, Bateman, Buckton, Hulse and Arrol among others. There was a huge industrial complex of which Harland -amp; Wolff, itself a complex, was a giant component.
Now that the whole enterprise has wound up, to get an idea of the scale and intricacy of operation, one needs to read the long, detailed and wonderfully written articles of the day in such journals as Engineering, International Mercantile Marine, The Engineer and The Shipbuilder. We in Belfast, indeed in Ireland, have never properly appreciated our heritage in industry and industrial art.
Yes, art. Welch, who was Harland -amp; Wolff's official photographer, took some extraordinary photographs of turbines, rudders, shafts, propellers and other machines and ship parts.
What strikes you is the beauty of these, particularly the engines. Only a few artists and philosophers abroad, from John Ruskin to Ezra Pound, appreciated at the time what one historian, writing about American industry and design, has called 'the machine aesthetic'.
It is partly because of this that I have called more than once for a dedicated Museum of Industrial Art and Archaeology in Belfast.
Such a venue would celebrate the hardware of manufacture, the achievements in design and the aesthetics of the manufactured product. It would commemorate what was, for the most of a century, the genius of the Irish north. The sheer beauty of Edward Harland's "ocean greyhounds" alone are worth hymns of praise.
And to celebrate our achievements in industrial design would be to raise Harland, W J Pirrie, Alexander Carlisle and Thomas Andrews to the level of local cultural heroes, which they deserve to occupy.
Francis Sheehy Skeffington, in Dublin, attacked Andrews as embodying materialist and dehumanised Belfast. Certainly there were poverty and misery in parts of Belfast, but he was nevertheless betraying a narrow idea of what constitutes culture and beauty. But then Skeffington wasn't seeing past those workers in Welch's photograph and we haven't been much more perceptive.
Aesthetic matters aside, the sheer scale of endeavour deserves commemoration since we in Belfast have often been accused, rightly, of provincialism and narrow-mindedness.
The most famous journalist of the time, W T Stead, said that Pirrie had built "the greatest business that has existed in the world since men first began to go down to the sea in ships".
That business stretched into the distance beyond the growing Titanic in Welch's photograph. Nevertheless, the knocking-off workers had just helped play their indispensable part.
Titanic at teh Movies-
Nigel Richardson describes the impact of the Titanic disaster on Southampton, the city from which she sailed and home to more than a third of those who lost their lives when the ship went down on April 15th, 1912.
The sinking of RMS Titanic traumatised the city of Southampton, the port she sailed from, rendering it nearly mute on the subject for many years afterwards. George Bowyer, the harbour pilot in charge of the liner as she embarked on her maiden voyage, omitted the most significant event of his life, when in 1931 he published his memoirs (Lively Ahoy: Reminiscences of 58 Years in the Trinity House Pilotage Service). Titanic became a taboo subject in the offices of its owner, the White Star Line, and was spoken of discreetly, if at all, on Southampton’s streets, few of which escaped association with the most infamous disaster in maritime history.
A total of 549 people (including 12 passengers) with Southampton addresses lost their lives, more than a third of the overall death toll. Southampton provided the bulk of Titanic’s crew and for many Sotonians the tragedy became a family memory. Not all of them were permanent residents but 360 were listed in the 1911 census as living in the city. The last living survivor, Millvina Dean – just nine weeks old at the time of the disaster – died as recently as May 2009. Her family was moving to Kansas where they planned to open a tobacconist shop. Her father died in the sinking and Millvina, her mother and brother returned to Southampton, where she remained for most of her life.
Southampton’s fate and prosperity have been built on the sea. A hundred years ago it was the home port of more than 20 steamship companies and a sizeable proportion of its 120,000 inhabitants, some originally from other parts of Britain and Ireland, found work on the ships. In the early months of 1912 a coal strike had led to several vessels being confined to the docks and their crews laid off. Consequently jobs on Titanic’s maiden voyage were particularly prized.
There were no permanent crews aboard passenger liners at the time. The captain and officers received a salary from the shipping line but the deck crew, stokers, stewards and others signed on before each voyage, were paid for that voyage only and had to enlist afresh for subsequent trips.
Most of Titanic’s crew came from the neighbourhoods of Northam and Millbrook and from the slightly more prosperous district of Shirley. Here six of the victims lived in one short suburban street, Hanley Road, and their fates tell a wider story about the disaster and its aftermath.
At No. 1 lived a man in his early 20s, Cyril G. Ricks, who signed on as a storekeeper. According to a fellow crew member, he jumped from the stern of the ship just before it sank but was hit by falling debris and died shortly afterwards. His body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett, one of the ships that sailed to the disaster scene from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ricks was buried at sea on April 24th. Another victim, 28-year-old Ernest Roskelly Olive, lived at No. 37 with his parents and sister and signed on as a ‘clothes presser’. He died in the disaster and his body, if recovered, was not identified.
No. 5 was the address of Ernest Edward Samuel Freeman, who joined the Titanicfor the delivery trip from Belfast, where she was built. She arrived in Southampton on April 3rd and spent the following week taking on provisions, some 900 crew and, finally, 1,300 passengers. Freeman, in his mid-40s, signed on as a ‘deck steward’ for a monthly wage of £3.15s. However, he is usually referred to as the secretary of J. Bruce Ismay (the Old Harrovian chairman of the White Star Line) due to the recognition that Ismay later accorded him.
Doubt over Freeman’s status lingers because Ismay, who often joined his ships on their maiden voyages, was accompanied in this instance by his official secretary, William Henry Harrison, listed as a first-class passenger. The confusion may shed light on one of the controversies of the Titanic tragedy: the conduct of Ismay as the lifeboats were being filled and lowered.
The overriding reason for the massive loss of life on Titanic was the lack of lifeboats. The 20 she was equipped with (including four collapsibles) could accommodate only half the number of people on board and some were not even filled to capacity. In the aftermath of the disaster much was made of the principle of ‘women and children first’, but the truth is that nearly as many men in first class were saved as children in third class.
Ismay survived by boarding the lifeboat known as Collapsible C and, along with the other survivors, was picked up by RMS Carpathia and taken to New York. Both Freeman and Harrison drowned. When their bodies were recovered by the Mackay-Bennett Freeman’s personal effects were listed as memo book, glasses, pipe, pouch, knife and gold watch. There was sixpence in the pocket book. Harrison had on him £10 in gold, nearly £2 in coins and £10 in banknotes.
The Mackay-Bennett was one of several cable ships – usually used to repair underwater telegraph cables – chartered by the White Star Line in Halifax to retrieve the dead. It was a grisly business. Loaded with ice, coffins and embalming fluid, they took three days to reach the site of the sinking. The Halifax ships recovered 328 bodies of which 119 were buried at sea. The rest were returned to Halifax, which now fulfilled the roles of undertaker and mourner. Church services were held, bells tolled and graves were dug. Fifty-nine bodies were reclaimed by their families. The remaining 150 were buried in three cemeteries: Fairview, Mount Olivet and Baron de Hirsch. Ernest Freeman and William Harrison lie in Fairview, two of just a handful of identified victims – most of the granite grave markers are simply inscribed ‘Died April 15th, 1912’, followed by a number that corresponds to the order in which they were pulled from the sea.
Freeman’s headstone is one of the largest in Fairview. It bears the inscription:
He remained at his post of duty
seeking to save others
regardless of his own life
and went down with his ship.
A further line tells us that the stone was erected by Ismay ‘to commemorate a long and faithful service’. Conceivably this was part of an effort by Ismay to assuage his guilt, for he was denounced as a coward when news began to circulate of the circumstances of his survival. No one can be sure of his actions or motives on the boat deck of Titanic but many people made up their own minds. Ismay kept a low profile for the rest of his life and died in London in 1937.
Back in Southampton a relief fund was set up for the widows and orphans of the victims and money-raising events were held throughout Britain. Ernest Freeman’s family were beneficiaries of the fund and Ismay also provided them with a private pension. The parents of Cyril Ricks were in receipt of £218 from the White Star Line under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. Under the same act the father of Ernest Roskelly Olive claimed he had been partially dependent on his son to the tune of £1 a week but his case was dismissed. In 1954 there were still 94 dependants of the Titanic Relief Fund.
The following year Walter Lord’s classic account of the Titanic disaster, A Night to Remember, was published, based on interviews with survivors. It was followed in 1958 by the film of the book. These helped to revive a worldwide interest in the Titanic story. After almost half a century the hush that one resident recalled descending on Southampton, as news filtered through of the enormity of the tragedy, began to lift.
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s first and last voyage. 1320 passengers and 907 crew members boarded the magnificent vessel in Southampton in a bid to journey to the new world - New York City.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s journey, Marriott Beijing and Tianjin Hotels will play host to a memorable charity gala dinner on April 7, 2012 in the Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel. And all the profits raised will be directly donated to Operation Smile to help children and young adults with cleft lips and cleft palates throughout China.
Guests will re-live the luxury enjoyed by first class passengers; Welcome back to 1912! Renaissance Associates will carry you on the most famous ship in the world! Boarding will commence 6:30 pm where every single detail has been created to make this event unforgettable.
Guests will sip on pre-departure drinks on the promenade deck - serenaded by string quartet…. Guests will then set sail on an evening of decadent degustation and be invited into the Grand Ballroom - 8 course menu created by Executive Chef Brendan Partridge inspired by the “First Class Menu” that was served 100 years ago - with free flow wine and beer to compliment the menu.
Back in 1912 guest paid 124 USD for this luxury menu and the experience of a lifetime…. Apart from the splendid food and wine, guest will enjoy band, dancing, auction and lucky raffle draws with all proceeds going to the wonderful Operation Smile.
Prepare to be immersed in a world of luxury! We encourage you to wear “Cruise elegant 1912 dress” code Don’t forget your boarding pass and join us to help Operation Smile collect as much money as possible.
Operation Smile is an international medical humanitarian organization providing reconstructive surgery to the children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. China Operation Smile’s Mission moved to China in 1991 and since then over 17,000 children has received free reconstructive surgery. The Marriott Beijing/ Tianjin Cluster Hotels have chosen Operation Smile as 2012 Charity of the Year which complies with Marriott’s “Spirit to Serve the Community”.
Activities including: Pre Cruise Cocktail, String Quartet, Silent Auction, Live Entertainment, Raffle Draw, Live Auction.
Date: 2012 April 7,
Place: 3rd Floor, Capital Ball Room, Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel
Boarding Time: 5:30pm
Dress Code: Cruise Elegant 1912
For those to wishing to stay in First Class Luxury - you are welcome to book a first class Cabin and stay overnight!
Despite greatly improved safety records in the century since Titanic, the maritime industry faces new challenges driven by the continued growth of worldwide shipping, specialist marine insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has advised.
In the 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic, the world commercial shipping fleet has trebled to over 100,000 vessels, yet overall shipping loss rates have declined from one ship per 100 per year in 1912 to one ship per 670 per year in 2009.
While factors such as new technologies and regulation have tremendously improved marine safety, new risks have emerged. AGCS’s comprehensive report, ‘Safety and Shipping 1912-2012: From Titanic to Costa Concordia’, based on research from Cardiff University’s Seafarers’ International Research Centre (SIRC), highlights several key challenges for the industry including the growing trend to ‘super size’ ships and cost pressures pushing ship-owners to source crews from emerging economies where standards of training and assessment can be inconsistent.
Other significant safety risks include reduced crewing numbers which may compromise margins of safety and encourage ‘human error’ risks; increasing bureaucracy on board ships; the continued threat of piracy off Somalia and elsewhere; and the emergence of ice shipping and its associated navigational and environmental complications.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Sven Gerhard, AGCS’s Global Product Leader Hull & Marine Liabilities, says: “While the seas are safer than ever today, the industry needs to address these new risks proactively. For example, ultra-large ships pose challenges for insurers due to their sheer size and value, while others raise concerns on structural integrity and failure. While scale alone does not make these ships riskier, the increased sizes introduce specific risks that need to be addressed, such as salvage and recovery considerations and emergency handling.”
The largest modern container ships under construction are so big that there is space below deck for a basketball court, a full-sized American football stadium, and a spectator-filled ice hockey arena. Ships of this size raise questions of adequate loss coverage in the event of an incident and of potential structural limitations, says AGCS.
Human error – the weakest link
The report also highlights the continued challenge of human error in maritime operations – a factor which remains critical despite a hundred years of technological and regulatory improvements in safety. Over 75% of marine losses can be attributed to a wide range of ‘human error’ factors, including fatigue, inadequate risk management and competitive pressures, as well as potential deficiencies in training and crewing levels.
Dr Gerhard explains: “As technological improvements reduce risk, so does the weakest link in the system – the human factor – become more important. This is where the industry should focus most closely, so that best practice risk management and a culture of safety becomes second nature across the world fleet.”
Shipping disasters spur safety improvements
While technologies such as RADAR or Global Positioning Systems have driven improved safety, it has often been major accidents that have been the catalysts for key changes: for example, the 1914 SOLAS convention was triggered by the loss of the Titanic, and included regulations for ice navigation and life-saving equipment while the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987 spurred on the adoption of the International Safety Management code, which the International Maritime Organisation adopted in 1993 and which has done much to improve best safety practice.
“Historically, high profile shipping disasters have led to improvements in marine safety. And Costa Concordia is certain to be no different, whatever the result of the official investigations into this cause will be”, says Dr. Gerhard.
Key facts & figures from AGCS’s research on safety and shipping from 1912-2012:
* Since 1910, world fleet tonnage has increased by a factor of 23 and now approaches one billion gross tonnes (2010).
* World seaborne trade has trebled since 1970 to over 8.4 billion tonnes of cargo loaded per annum.
* Cruise passenger numbers have shown significant growth in recent years, and are forecast to grow by 7.4% year on year from 1990-2015. It is estimated that in 2015, over 22 million passengers will be carried on cruise vessels worldwide (2011: 19.2 million).
* Marine transport is one of the safest means of passenger transport overall with far lower fatal accident rates than car, motorcycle, bicycle or walking in Europe.
* Professional seafarer fatality rates have fallen in many countries: for example, in the UK, in 1919 it was estimated that there would be 358 fatal accidents for every 100,000 seafarer years spent ‘at risk’ – a rate which had fallen to 11 by the period 1996-2005. However, this fatality rate is still twelve times higher than in the general workforce.
* Accident ‘black spots’ include South China, Indo-China, Indonesia and Philippines with 17% of total losses in 2001-2011, followed by East Mediterranean and Black Sea (13%), and Japan, Korea and North China (12%). The seas around the British Isles also show relatively high loss concentrations (8%).
* Technical innovations over the last 100 years include improved construction techniques, echo-sounding, RADAR, Very High Frequency radios, Automatic Radar Plotting Aid, satellite communications, GPS positioning finding, and Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems – all of which have supported marine safety.
A hundred years ago, the sinking of the Titanic was a tragic disaster. Today, it's fodder for an entertaining outing with the kids.
There are replica ships in Tennessee and Missouri, graveyard tours in New York and Nova Scotia, traveling exhibits from Las Vegas to Atlanta, and two brand new museums in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Southampton, England. Bars and restaurants are serving Titanic dinners, and ships are even heading to the disaster site -- including an anniversary cruise that slashed prices last-minute from nearly $5,000 to $1,000. Here's a roundup of notable Titanic events and attractions here and abroad.
TITANIC BELFAST: Titanic Belfast, an interactive attraction that tells the story of the doomed ship, opens March 31 in an ultra-modern building whose shape and silvery color evoke ship hulls on the water. Exhibits include 3-D projections, audiovisual displays, artifacts and even an indoor ride. A marine exploration center describes the work of Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor in 1985. Titanic walking tours and other attractions are also located in the new neighborhood, Titanic Quarter, that includes the defunct shipyard where the ocean liner was built,http://www.titanicbelfast.com/.
SEACITY MUSEUM: SeaCity Museum opens April 10 in Southampton, England, the same day the ship departed from that port a century ago. The city lost 549 locals when the ship went down, mostly crew members. The new museum tells the story of Southampton's connection to the sea, with a focus on the Titanic story, including an interactive model of the ship and the London courtroom where an inquiry was later held. Southampton is about 90 minutes from London by train, http://www.seacitymuseum.co.uk/.
CHERBOURG, FRANCE: The Titanic stopped in Cherbourg on April 10, a few hours after leaving Southampton, to pick up 281 passengers, including American Margaret Brown, whose ordeal as a lifeboat survivor was made into a movie, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Cherbourg's maritime museum, the Cite de la Mer, located in the port's 1933 Art Deco terminal, is opening an exhibit April 6 called "Titanic 2012," http://www.citedelamer.com/uk/. Cherbourg is in Normandy, about 225 miles northwest of Paris.
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA: Ships dispatched from Halifax, Nova Scotia, recovered more than 330 bodies from the disaster site in the North Atlantic, and 150 are buried in three Halifax graveyards, including 121 at Fairview Lawn Cemetery. The city's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is also home to an extensive permanent Titanic exhibit as well as special exhibits that will continue into the summer. Other events include ceremonies, tours, book talks, a concert, dinner theater, a photo exhibit, and even a Titanic toy model workshop,http://www.destinationhalifax.com/visitors/titanicevents.
PIGEON FORGE AND BRANSON: It's a long, long way from any ocean, but Titanic museums in Branson, Mo., and in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., have hosted more than 7 million visitors since 2006 and claim to house some of the largest permanent collections anywhere of Titanic artifacts and memorabilia. The museums are actual half-scale replicas of the Titanic and are co-owned by John Joslyn, who was co-leader of the first private expedition to visit the shipwreck. Museum visitors get the boarding pass of a Titanic passenger or crew member when they enter, and at the end of the tour, they learn whether their passenger lived or died,http://www.titanicpigeonforge.com/ or http://www.titanicbranson.com/.
Both museums will have special ceremonies April 14 marking the anniversary, and they're also sponsoring a Coast Guard cutter to take 1.5 million rose petals to the North Atlantic site where the ship sank. The cutter will leave Boston April 10 and joins several commercial cruises in the area for the occasion.
MOLLY BROWN HOUSE MUSEUM, DENVER: More than three decades before Kate Winslet's fictional character Rose survived the Titanic in the 1997 blockbuster film, Hollywood made another movie about a real-life passenger who survived in a lifeboat, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," starring Debbie Reynolds. Brown lived in Denver, and her home, a museum that tells the story of her life, offers special Titanic-themed tours: http://www.mollybrown.org.
NEW YORK: The Titanic never arrived in New York but many New Yorkers were onboard and are buried here -- both those who survived as well as those who perished. John Jacob Astor IV, said to be the richest man on the ship, is buried in Trinity Church Cemetery in Lower Manhattan. Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is home to graves and memorials for 12 people who were onboard. Among them were Isidor Straus, owner of Macy's department store, and his wife Ida, who chose to stay with her husband rather than get in a lifeboat without him,http://www.thewoodlawncemetery.org/site/.
Nine more are buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn including Douglas Spedden and his parents. When the Speddens were rescued by lifeboat, Douglas, then 6, lost a beloved teddy bear, which was later found and sent to him. The bear, purchased at FAO Schwarz, was manufactured by the famous German Steiff company, which then created a popular Titanic "mourning bear." Douglas died at age 9 after being hit by a car. His tombstone reads: "Titanic Survivor." A Titanic tour of Green-wood is sold out but you can visit the cemetery on your own,http://www.green-wood.com/.
An eight-night Titanic anniversary cruise leaves New York April 10 headed for Halifax and the disaster site, where a memorial service will be held. Bookings were still available as of March 26, and prices for a windowless stateroom had been reduced from $4,900 to $999,http://www.titanicanniversarycruise.com/.
ELSEWHERE: Considering that the ship sank to the bottom of the ocean 100 years ago, it's remarkable how many Titanic artifacts (and replicas of artifacts) are on display in what seems like every corner of America. There's a Titanic Historical Society museum in Indian Orchard, Mass.; a "Titanic -- 12,450 Feet Below" show at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., opening April 12; and "Titanic: 100 Year Obsession" opening at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., March 29, highlighting dives to the wreck site by Ballard and Cameron. The National Geographic exhibit will include replicas and props from the film as well as models of the ship, engine room and a radio room,http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/exhibits/2012/03/29/titanic/.
And from Premier Exhibitions, Inc., the company that brought you "Bodies: The Exhibition," Titanic exhibits are also on display at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the Natural History Museum in San Diego, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., on International Drive in Orlando, at Union Station in Kansas City, at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and opening soon at Atlantic Station in Atlanta.
Many hotels and restaurants are offering Titanic-themed packages and menus. The St. Regis Atlanta is hosting "100 Years & 100 Bottles," an April 10 reception featuring champagne, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres inspired by the last dinner aboard the ship. A $95, 10-course Titanic menu at the Blackfish restaurant in Philadelphia on April 15 includes oysters, squab and poached peaches. Molly Brown's great-granddaughter will attend a six-course Titanic-inspired meal April 14 at Denver's Oxford Hotel.
If you can't make it to Belfast, Southampton, or even Pigeon Forge or Denver, don't worry. Your chance to take part in the anniversary is coming to a theater near you with the April 4 re-release of Cameron's movie, now in 3-D.
To commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, a tour company is offering a glimpse of the iconic ship’s wreckage. Passengers will descend into the blue abyss in Russian ‘Mir’ submersibles, the only vessels able to withstand the crushing pres
“Descend 12,500 feet into the North Atlantic to the deep-sea plain where Titanic lies at eternal rest. Explore the ghostly wreck and her debris field aboard the Russian 'Mir' submersibles,” advertises the company Deep Ocean Expeditions on their website.
At the moment the company says they have 80 people already signed up to take the plunge.
But such an experience does not come cheap. A trip into the deep blue will set visitors back by no less than $59,680 for a two-week cruise, which includes one eight to ten hour dive to the ship’s wreckage. Tours will set off from Newfoundland off the coast of Canada to the point where the Titanic sank in 1912, 380 miles out to sea.
In spite of the astronomical price, tour leader Rob McCallum says that it is not just the uber rich that have signed up for the tour.
“They’re people who have worked hard for their money and not made this decision lightly,” he said.
The tour offers participants expert lectures from specialists, practical marine biology sessions and five-star dining during the duration of the trip.
In order to be able to conduct a tour to such bone-crunching depths, the company Deep Ocean
Expeditions had to solicit the services of two Russian 'Mir' submersibles. Among the most advanced vessels in the world, the 'Mir' are capable of diving to depths of 6,000 meters, giving ti access to 98 percent of the ocean floor.
The submersible’s large viewing screens and capacity to stay below the surface for a total of 18 hours make it ideal for the task. However, with a cabin space of a mere 7 feet, the experience is certainly not for the claustrophobic.
Tours to the wreckage of the Titanic are very rare, the last one taking place in 2005 in spite of high demand.
The Titanic sank during its maiden voyage in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg, killing 1,517 of the 2,000 people onboard. Weighing in at 46,000 tons, the Titanic was a technological marvel of the age and the largest vessel ever to be built.
Today the ship is a shadow of its former glory, its condition having deteriorated during the past couple of years due to the accidental damage caused by submersibles and the presence of iron-eating bacteria on the hull. Scientists and specialists hope to use the 100-year anniversary of the iconic ship to push for a worldwide agreement for its protection.
Titanic (ITV Drama Miniseries TV Review)
Reviewed by Monica Hall
Titanic (ITV1, UK, Sunday 25th March, 9.00pm)
This four-part drama comes to us from the pen of Julian Fellowes, who created and wrote Gosford Park and, most recently, Downton Abbey. Both these well-known works are based on class divisions in Edwardian times, so when it comes to Titanic, I think we know what to expect.
Mr. Fellowes in an interesting chap. Born a mere commoner, albeit a well-off one, he married Emma Kitchener, who is the great-grandneice of the first Earl Kitchener (of WW1 Your Country Needs You fame), and also a Lady-in-Waiting. In 1998, he changed his name to Kitchener-Fellowes, and in 2011 was created Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, and sits in the House of Lords. The family chooses for their scions names like Peregrine, Launcelot and, obviously, Julian. So when he takes up his pen to describe class tensions, I think we must accept we are in the hands of an expert. One of the more interesting aspects of Julian’s scripts is that we are never sure exactly whose side he is on. He seems to identify sympathetically with, say, middle-class lawyers, but they are moving into / among the aristocracy – much to the alarm of those already there. He likes to portray some servants as having an unusually close relationship with their masters and mistresses, leading to highly unlikely situations as when, in Downton Abbey, a footman devotedly follows the heir into the WW1 trenches, and matily inquires whether his master has heard from (Lady) “Mary” recently, as they plough through the mud and bullets. The young master doesnot haughtily correct this breach of etiquette – because he’s not a proper toff, you see? However, the real point is that even if the middle-class (and reluctant) heir didn’t reprove the matey servant / batman, the latter would never have referred to her as just “Mary” in the first place.
However, leaving aside such deconstruction, it is of course impossible to write a spoiler review for anyTitanic production, but you may be alarmed to hear that the great ship is going to sink no fewer than four times in this drama. Every week, down she goes. I only hope that the teenage girls, to whom I had to supply Kleenex in the cinema during Cameron’s Titanic, are better-prepared this time. Somehow, however, I don’t think they’ll need the tissues, quite apart from the fact that they must now be nearing 30. There isn’t really anyone to care about in this drama. That is not because there are few characters. Indeed, over the series we are to be overwhelmed with over eighty of them, all with different backgrounds, prejudices, intrigues, and secrets, which is bad news for those of us with low-attention thresholds. However, their situations in life are very heavily telegraphed indeed by the script, so we are not likely to get in a muddle with dialogue like this.
“No-one is as morallyindignant than a beauty on the wrong side of 40.” (a foxy Mme. Aubart on the impossibly-odious Lady Manton).
“I am not a Democrat, as you know, but at times like this, you may sit.” (Guggenheim to his valet as they await their doom).
“Nobody stops you going into second class.” (lawyer’s Irish wife with massive chip on shoulder, after enduring a ghastly tea in first class with her husband’s employer, when asked sweetly by Lady Manton if she can find her way back to where she belongs).
I could go on.
The production values cannot compare with Cameron’s Titanic, of course, as it was apparently filmed in land-locked Hungary, and only had a budget of £11m – which seems a staggeringly profligate amount to me as I scratch through my pennies trying to keep body and soul together, but I know it is comparatively small. This leads to a rather closed-in feel, and there is a definite lack of water, which is something of a drawback. We get a few shots of glassy sea, and a stoker stares in horror as the sea bursts in, but it doesn’t seem very much worse than when my cistern overflowed through the kitchen ceiling last summer. It is easy for Titaniacs to carp, of course, especially as the usual clichés are there in abundance; locked gates, keeping the boat deck free of “unnecessary” lifeboats, rotten Ismay, someone pointing out that it is women and children first, not women and children only etc. But these are necessary dramatic devices, without which it would be even more anodyne than it is. Great hats, though.
You may still be wondering why everyone has to stagger through the disaster four times. Well, every week, the sinking will occur to illustrate the different lives, perspectives and fates of the 80+ characters, and the last episode will tie up all the loose ends. We hope. I can see that a new approach is obviously needed by anyone making yet another version of the tragedy, but I think this one could contain within it the seeds of its own downfall. Certainly, I was bewildered from start to finish.
I was heartened, however, by the reappearance of Downton Abbey’s evil Mrs. Bates – reprised magnificently by Maria Doyle Kennedy, as the lawyer’s bitter Irish wife. She looms threateningly over her much smaller, uglier, and deferential husband, so this could run and run. Downton’s Lady Sybil also seems present and correct, albeit now as part-time suffragette Lady Georgiana Grex, daughter of the despairing Lady Manton, and daringly falling in love with American “new” money which she should, of course, despise on principle. Not because it is new, but merely because it is money. But there are three weeks to go, and there are plenty of chauffeurs on board. So she may yet see the error of her ways, live up to her principles, defy her mother, and do a “Rose”.
I understand the series will show in the USA and Down Under closer to the Anniversary . You’ll all probably watch it anyway, but don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Titanic anniversary: the day Southampton went silent
Nowhere was the sinking of Titanic more keenly felt than in the city that provided most of the crew. Nigel Richardson reports on how they are being remembered with a new museum and a visitor trail.
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3:04PM BST 28 Mar 2012
In the ruins of Holy Rood Church, on the high street in Southampton, there is a memorial fountain to the stewards, sailors and firemen of the city who lost their lives when RMS Titanic sank, 100 years ago on April 15. In front of the fountain is a stainless steel "listening post" – push the buttons and Sotonians who were alive at the time will tell you what they remember of this dark day and its aftermath.
"The town went absolutely quiet," recalled one resident, Charles Morgan, who was nine years old in 1912. "A great hush descended… I don't think that there was hardly a single street in Southampton that hadn't lost someone on that ship."
The sinking of Titanic in the North Atlantic was the most infamous and emblematic disaster in maritime history. The centenary is being marked by events across the world (see "Titanic 2012", right) – not only in Belfast, where she was built, but also in Liverpool where she was registered, in her ports of call in France and Ireland, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where most of her dead are buried and in other places eager to maximise tangential associations with the doomed passenger liner.
But nowhere was the disaster felt more keenly than in Southampton. The city provided most of the ship's crew and 549 people with Southampton addresses lost their lives – more than a third of the overall death toll. Ever since, the sinking of Titanic has been a sensitive subject and the city has hardly trumpeted its association with a name that has become a byword for failure and tragedy.
In May 2009, the last living survivor of Titanic, Millvina Dean, died (she was a babe in arms at the time, and subsequently grew up in Southampton), and now, at last, the events of April 15 1912, are truly history for this proud maritime city.
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Southampton's centenary commemorations will centre on the new Sea City Museum, which will open at precisely 1.30pm on April 10, 100 years to the day since Titanic set sail. The museum, which cost £15 million, promises to "tell the largely untold and fascinating story of Southampton's [Titanic] crew and the impact the tragedy had on families in the city", as well as featuring other aspects of the city's seafaring past. In addition, a temporary exhibition entitled Titanic the Legend will examine the "industry" that has grown up around the ship and her sinking.
Before visiting the museum it's worth mugging up on the story by guiding yourself on a walk through the city, using the "Titanic Trail" leaflet available for the wallet-busting sum of £1 from the tourist information centre. The trail takes in the Titanic memorials dotted around the centre – to the postal workers, to the musicians, who continued to play as the ship was going down, to the engineer officers and to the rest of the crew – and various buildings and sites associated with the days before and after the disaster, including hotels, the old docks railway station and a pub.
Southampton is and was a thriving port. A century ago, more than 20 steamship companies were registered here and a good proportion of the population of 120,000 worked on the ships or in associated trades. Most of Titanic's crew of stokers and stewards came from the neighbourhoods of Northam, Millbrook and Shirley. As news of the sinking filtered through these streets, carried there by newspaper sellers ("Disaster at sea! Titanic sunk!"), families converged on the offices of the White Star Line, the ship's owners, in Canute Road, near the docks.
"There were panic stations everywhere," one eyewitness recalled in another of the archive recordings available in Holy Rood Church. "Women were running out and going down to the shipping office." Canute Chambers, the Edwardian red-brick building that served as the White Star offices, is now an employment training centre and not open to the public. A plaque on the gatepost records that "It was here that hundreds of local people waited for news of their loved ones."
A week earlier, on April 10 1912, many of those same people had gathered in a lighter mood at White Star Dock, a short walk to the west (past the former South Western Hotel, now private apartments, where many of the first-class passengers stayed on the eve of embarkation). At noon precisely the band struck up, the crowds waved and Titanic cast off on its terrible voyage into history. The dock, renamed Ocean Dock, is closed to the public but the security guard will let you pass just beyond the barrier of Dock Gate 4 to see the memorial plaque.
It is the role of chance that makes Titanic such a compelling story. Millvina Dean survived to a ripe old age. A 19-month-old boy from Wiltshire called Sidney Goodwin perished. And three brothers called Slade from Southampton had the luckiest of escapes. If, as I was, you are delayed at the level crossing on Canute Road by a train passing from the docks, it will give you time to reflect on the fate of the Slades.
The brothers Bertram, Tom and Alfred Slade had signed on as firemen on Titanic. On the morning of departure they had been drinking in the Grapes pub in Oxford Street (it is still there and contains bits and bobs of Titanic memorabilia), until 11.50am, 10 minutes before Titanic's scheduled departure. Staggering out, they had to wait for a docks train to pass and when they reached Titanic the gangplank had been raised and they missed the voyage.
The Grapes makes the perfect finale to the Titanic trail. Raise a glass to the Slades, and honour a community that became – and remained for many years – a city united in grief.