Saturday, April 14, 2012

100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic


At 11.40 PM on Sunday April 14th, 1912 the Titanic, bound from Southampton, England to New York, struck an iceberg just off the coast of Newfoundland and became fully submerged within three hours, before dropping to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean at 2:20 AM on April 15, 1912.  The sinking of the vessel, which belonged to the White Star Line shipping company, caused the death of 1,514 men, women and children, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.



Passengers on board the ship included some of the world's wealthiest people, including millionaires such as John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim and Isidor Straus, and thousands of immigrants seeking a new life in America.  There have been many stories over the years recounting why the ship struck the iceberg and why two-thirds of the passengers and crew lost their lives.   Was it from faulty construction or the lack of lifeboats?  Was it from the absence of binoculars in the crow's nest during night watch or from the shortcomings of the radio operator?  The mystery will probably never be sufficiently solved.



When I visited Belfast, Northern Ireland, last year I saw the iconic Harland and Wolff shipbuilding gantry cranes nicknamed "Samson and Goliath" that have become city landmarks. This Belfast shipyard has built many ships; among the more famous are the White Star line trio of the Olympic, Titanic and Britannic.


The city of Belfast was constructing a large six story exploration center called Titanic Belfast at the time of my visit last April, which officially opened on March 31, 2012 to honor the legacy of the 100th anniversary of the launch and fateful first voyage of the RMS Titanic.


Built very close to the site where the Titanic was built, the Titanic Experience enables visitors to:

 "Immerse yourself in the amazing story of Belfast in the 1900s, take a spin in the Shipyard Ride, experience life on board and learn about Titanic’s maiden voyage, her tragic sinking, the many stories of human endeavour, and the technology and science that finally found her, and helped to solve some of the many mysteries surrounding that fateful night in 1912."



I toured the beautiful Belfast City Hall during my visit and learned there was one link between Belfast and Harland and Wolff’s most well-known ship that is a bit more obscure. It was the Lord Mayor’s dressing room in Belfast City Hall which you can learn about in this video:



"Dianne Leeman, Tour Service Operator in the City Hall, explains, ‘Viscount William Pirrie was Lord Mayor of the city as well as being director of Harland and Wolff for many years, including those when the Titanic was built. So he utilised his craftsmen down at the shipyards to work on the two big projects, the City Hall and the Titanic."


This is the replica of the Titanic in Belfast City Hall that she speaks about in the video as well as ....



... the brass memorial plaque that was taken down to the hull of the sunken Titanic and left on the bridge for a few moments and then returned to Belfast for display in memory of those lost with the ship.


There were also interesting placards outside Belfast City Hall that explained the role Belfast had in the planning, construction and launch of the Titanic.


Outside on the eastern garden grounds of Belfast City Hall stands the Titanic Memorial, dedicated to the Belfast men who were lost on board RMS Titanic. Designed by the acclaimed sculptor Thomas Brock, the memorial depicts the female figure of Thane, who looks down upon two sea nymphs as they rise from the waves with the body of a drowned seaman in their arms. Originally unveiled on June 26, 1920 in Donegall Square North, it was moved to its current location on March 24, 1960
The names of the dead include the ship's designer Thomas Andrews and doctor John Simpson.

Of course the Titanic's final destination was to be New York, before it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sunk, so there is also a Titanic Memorial in New York City 


It is a 60-foot-tall lighthouse built, due in part to the instigation of Margaret Brown (better known as the "Unsinkable Molly Brown), to remember the people who died on the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.  The lighthouse was originally erected by public subscription in 1913, and stood above the East River on the roof of the old Seamen's Church Institute of New York and New Jersey at the corner of South Street and Coenties Slip.

 

You can see the lighthouse on top of the Seaman's Institute building in the photo above.   From 1913 to 1967 the time ball at the top of the lighthouse would drop down the pole to signal twelve noon to the ships in the harbor. This time ball mechanism was activated by a telegraphic signal, from the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. In July 1968 the Seamen's Church Institute moved to its present quarters at 15 State Street and this building was demolished. That year, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse was donated by the Kaiser-Nelson Steel and Salvage Corporation to the South Street Seaport Museum. It was erected at the entrance to the museum complex, on the corner of Fulton and Pearl Streets, in May 1976.


I'd love to tell you a little more about Margaret Brown, of the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" legend, who was aboard the Titanic on its maiden voyage in my next post.


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68 comments:

Vee said...

Fascinating! I enjoyed the video clip. How wonderful that you got to see all these artifacts. Interesting how that piece of furniture didn't quite make it on time. It makes me wonder if NYC does anything to commemorate this day as it was the arrival port. Do you know?

(I have two connections to the Titanic. One is via my great-great Aunt Susie who had at one time been engaged to John Jacob Astor {yes, I have a post about that somewhere} and the other is through my great-grandfather who participated in rescue missions, which basically became body retrieval. He worked out of Halifax. My grandmother said that he rarely spoke of it. I can only imagine...)

Jojo said...

Very fascinating and I loved being able to take the YouTube tour! What a grand ship it must have been.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Yes, Vee there is an exhibit in South Street Seaport Museum to mark the 100th year of the loss of the Titanic, and also there was a Memorial cruise ship that left NYC and which will stop at the point of the sinking of the Titanic before continuing on to England.

Your connections are fascinating! A friend of mine's maternal grandmother survived the voyage.

diane b said...

A very interesting and informative post. The Titanic is a tragic and memorable story. When I was researching the ship on which we migrated to AustraliaI, I discovered that it was a sister ship to the Britannic, Olympic and Titanic. Our ship was called the Georgic. It firstly did the Liverpool to New York run then it became a troop ship during the war. After that it became a migrant ship between England and Australia.

Old Kitty said...

It's a truly fascinating tragedy! You do get a sense of the sumptuousness of the interior of the Captain's quarters in this lovely clip!!

Thanks for sharing, Pat! Take care
x

Halcyon said...

It's funny how fascinated we are by the Titanic. I would love to visit these places myself. But thanks for giving me a look through your photos. :)

Chatty Crone said...

I would love to visit these too so thanks for sharing. Guess what - we are going to see the movie today - bringing my grandson. sandie

Sandy said...

Hi Pat,
Very interesting post. Cable TV is running several Titanic specials this month since it is the 100th anniversary since the sinking. There's an excellent special showing now by James Cameron, who made the movie Titanic, exploring how the really ship sank and what was wrong with his movie version. We enjoyed it except for his liberal spewing moment at the end of the movie - which was laughable since he is one of the very very rich.

Barbara F. said...

I have always been fascinated with the Titanic. A friend's neighbor was a baby traveling that night, was rescued, and lived to be well into his 90's, he passed several years ago. I think it was a combination of all the factors you listed, and then, maybe, jinxing themselves by proclaiming it was "unsinkable". Who knows? I would be afraid to take a cruise that is duplicating this tragedy, just gives me the creeps. xo

Ginny said...

So this is a giant building shaped like the Titanic that is like a Titanic museum? Does it look just like the Titanic inside?

Betsy said...

What a wonderful post, Pat! I've watched several documentaries on tv in the last week that have been fascinating!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Ginny, click on the link I gave about the Titanic Experience building and it will tell you more about how it replicates the Titanic experience inside, from the designing, building and launch of the ship in Belfast, Ireland through it's disaterous maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. I'd love to go back to Belfast to viist the completed exhibit!

artymess said...

We took part in a march in Southampton to commemorate the sinking and to remember all who sailed that day most of the crew came from Southampton and it made a huge impact on the families left behind the link to my post is
http://lorna-artymess.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/titanic-centenary.html
it was very moving to be part of it ...

GailO said...

What a fascinating post Pat! The Titantic and all its stories certainly has captured our imaginations and interest.

The Gathering Place said...

I have been watching several specials about the Titanic and all the tragedy. It is a real shame. How interesting to get to see all the exhibits.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I didn't realize that it was the anniversary! Thank you for this wonderful post.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I didn't realize that it was the anniversary! Thank you for this wonderful post.

podso said...

Pat, thanks for the fascinating post. Indeed to see the movie as I hear it's come out again. Thanks for posting.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I guess we've always been fascinated with the Titantic. I've seen several people that family's survived interviewed on television. I look forward to your post about Margaret Brown.
Sam

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I'd like to see that museum in Belfast too Pat. Several years ago, we were in Halifax and toured an exhibit on the Titanic there -- they have loys of remnants from the ship, as you can imagine, since rescue missions were sent out from there.

Michelle said...

I would like to see this museum in Belfast as well. I have been to a Titanic exhibit and did enjoy it. Really such a tragedy. Looking forward to hearing more about Molly Brown.

Pamela Gordon said...

What an interesting post. I have learned so many things this past week about the Titanic that I had never heard before. Our national morning TV show, Canada AM, visited Belfast on Friday and showed the Titanic Belfast museum as well as other points of interest in the area. They interviewed several people with family connections to those on that fateful voyage as well. I find it all so facinating and sad too. Thanks for sharing. Pamela

Sarah said...

Another interesting and informative post, Pat. Thank you. I'll look forward to the one on Margaret Brown.

La Petite Gallery said...

Fantastic post. I have heard stories about this from childhood. WHY am I still fasinated?
I even have the old film with Barbara Standwick.
yvonne

The French Hutch said...

Hi Pat, a great post for the 100th year anniversary of the Titanic sinking. I find everything about this ship so interesting. We saw an exhibit and it's so hard to believe hoe that ship sank and I was looking at china recovered from the bottom of the sea without a chip!
I enjoyed your photos.

~Emily
The French Hutch

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I am looking forward to seeing more about the "unsinkable Molly Brown". Great post, Pat. And, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your encouragement and your prayers! They mean more than I can say... blessings ~ Tanna

Sylvia said...

Fascinating! Thank you for creating such an informative post and thank you for writing such nice comments on my blog. ( You asked me the other day, how I make these large collages; well, these are actually collages of two images posted very closely one under the other :)

Carol said...

Interesting and very informative post, Pat. I enjoyed reading about the history of the Titanic. I can't help but think of Debbie Reynold's when I hear the name "Unsinkable Molly Brown" :) I'm looking forward to your next post!

Lyndsay Wells said...

Hi Pat - new subscriber here! I'm a Canadian with a long time love and affinity for your great city and I look very forward to following your blog. This was an excellent post!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Such a timely and interesting post! We took in the Titanic Exhibition when it was at the B.C. Museum in Victoria a few years ago. It was time well spent...a learning experience. Thanks, Pat.

ellen b. said...

That Belfast city hall is really something. The history surrounding the Titanic is really fascinating. Such an interesting post...

Antiques And Teacups said...

So many wonderful facets of this iconic tragedy. Thanks for sharing yours! I haven't been to N Ireland...just the rest. Thanks for visiting!
Ruth

Jann Olson said...

I love the movie the Titanic. It makes me cry no matter how many times I watch it. Such a tragic day in history.
Hugs,
Jann

Riet said...

What a beautiful interesting post Pat. What a sad day it was in history. So many people died.
Hugs from Riet who never knew that historic day was on her birthday.

Mary said...

Pat~ The work and information as well as your beautiful photos never cease to inform or amaze me! The Titanic is so fascinating~ I would think think that the Titanic Experience would be a "must do" if you were visiting Belfast!

thestonerabbit said...

LOVED this post, Pat....as I do all of yours.

For some reason, the video wouldn't load...maybe another time it will. It's my computer....that happens with other blogs, too.

Anyway, I did not know the Titanic was built in Ireland..just assumed it was England. You always educate me! :) The Titanic is such an intrigue...BUT I can not bring myself to watch the movie. Dumb, I know, but it just upsets me to think about watching that disaster recreated. However, I did go to an exhibit of some of the artifacts that was in KC a few years ago. In fact..there's another one going on right now in our Union Station.

Molly Brown is definitely interesting..and I look forward to the post you do about her!

Loved the info about the lighthouse, too!

Hope you're having a great day. It's stormy in the midwest..tornados again near by last night. We were lucky and didn't have them.

L, Dana

Cindy said...

Very interesting! Hard to believe that something that happened 100 years ago is still such a fascinating subject for all of us.
Hugs, Cindy

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Ah yes...April 14th...Lincoln was shot on April 14th, the Titanic sank on April 14th, and I was born on April 14th. Doing my best to balance out all the disasters.

I have visited the "Molly" Brown house in Denver. She was an amazing woman.

camdesign said...

loved your post, just finished mine on the Titanic, check it out if you wish
camdesign-interiors.blogspot.ca

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

The story of the Titanic's voyage is such a horrific and sad story that I think it absolutely fascinates people - like a moth drawn to a flame. How wonderful to see the shipyard where it was built.

aliceinparis said...

So interesting! We've had a tremendous amount of titanic related events happening in the city this week.Most of the victims are buried here. This afternoon I was at a very moving ceremony for 120 of them. Sad as it was, I think they would have been touched to know so many people came to mourn them 100 years after their deaths. Last night there was a tribute called the night of lights that ended at 2:20 am. You can see a couple of pictures from today to my facebook. http://www.facebook.com/shelaghduffett.art

aliceinparis said...

Here is another link I think you will find interesting. http://thechronicleherald.ca/titanic/86598-memorial-cruise-marks-titanic-sinking
I would have been sobbing I am sure.

backroadjournal said...

A very timely and interesting post. You do such a wonderful job with history.

backroadjournal said...

A very timely and interesting post. You do such a wonderful job with history.

backroadjournal said...

A very timely and interesting post. You do such a wonderful job with history.

Vee said...

I enjoyed it all over again! Haven't been able to watch the ABC movie of last night and tonight. Too intense.

Snap said...

Fascinating. The MFAH here has a collection that the Strauss family started and then their grandson (I believe) donated part to the museum. All of these 6 degrees of separation. Guess we are all linked in one way or another!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Still a fascinating story Pat. You have so much good information for us. My husband took classes at Seaman's Institute, many, many years ago when he started working in international shipping. On a side note, I borrowed your blog today to do research for a trip to New York...it was so helpful.
♥, Susan

Lavender Cottage said...

A fascinating and most enjoyable post.
Judith

imquilternity said...

I would love to visit Belfast and immerse myself in the history of the city and the Titanic. We've been glued to the tv watching all the Titanic specials. Such a tragic story.

GrandmaK said...

Thank you for this most informative post and the wonderful pictures. You always have such wonderful insights. Wishing you a wonderful week. Oh, having been raised in Denver there were always grand tales about Mrs. Brown! I can hardly wait to read your stories! Cathy

GrandmaK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lorrie said...

Such a timely post, Pat. And how interesting to have visited Belfast and seen the construction of the museum.

A few years ago a traveling exhibit of Titanic artifacts came to our local museum. It was fascinating to visit. As we entered we each received a ticket with a name of someone on the ship. At the end of the exhibit we could discover whether or not "we" had survived or not.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Pat, what a great post on the Titanic. I did notice that the movie was being shown this weekend. I would love to visit Ireland and see the exhibit. It was a sad tragedy. Thanks for sharing, have a great week!

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Lots of great information there Pat. I watched a documentary last night on the History channel about finding the Titanic using special underwater robots to show that the ship came apart in two pieces; a fact that has been debated about for the last hundred years. It was a terrible accident. V

Tracy said...

AMAZING post, Pat...The film was shown here this weekend, but I didn't really want that 3-D experience...LOL... A huge Titanic display was in London when we were there last summer, but we missed it as it was a bit out of the way, we thought. Still, such a sad event in history, one can't help but think, consider and pray... ((HUGS))

Gracie said...

Last night on italian tv they broadcasted the movie (again) and me and my daughter enjoyed it (again)......

SmilingSally said...

What a tragedy! I've seen some remembrances on TV, and I even saw the finished memorial in Ireland.

Thanks for sharing the story and some blues.

Happy Blue Monday, Pat.

Theanne said...

I've always been fascinated by the Titanic...so many souls lost on a ship that was not meant to be able to sink!

While I believe the construction of the ship was most critical of the errors that lead to her sinking...I believe all the things you mentioned contributed to the loss of life!

Good one Pat...looking forward to the UMB!

Ingmarie We said...

Fantastic post. I have read about Titanic, seen films about a.s.o. Your photos and story is fascinating. Thank you for posting it.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Hi Pat, I love this perspective on Titanic, what a wonderful post! Still hard to imagine . . . I'm looking forward to your "Molly Brown" post!

RoeH said...

What an interesting subject.

Gary said...

What a great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

chubskulit said...

Wow, so colorful and beautiful!

Please come and see my BLUES, when you get a chance.

Jackie said...

Hi Pat, just catching up on posts. It was good to hear about your visit to Belfast a place I have visited quite a few times. My hubby Phil is a radio ham and was at an event over the weekend to commerate the Titanic as the Chief Radio Operator, Jack Philips lived near here.
There have been lots of films and documentaries on British TV recently on the Titanic, which is good for the younger generation to know what happened. The television does have some good points, tonight we have part 2 of 3 'The mighty Mississippi' presented by Sir Trevor McDonald, last week it was excellent!! Jackie in surrey UK.

cassandrasminicorner said...

Beautiful share of Blues!

Visiting for Blue Monday- hope you can stop by:)

http://www.sweetposh.info/2012/04/too-small-too-little-bye-summer-dress.html

Pondside said...

Another enthralling post, Pat. There has been so much about the Titanic but everything you've posted here is new and so very interesting. I look forward to reading a little bit more about Molly Brown!

Annesphamily said...

We saw the Titanic exhibit at the Museum of Natural History a few years ago. It was so sad because they played the music in the background and the history of it all is so sad. Your share is beautiful today.