Home high days & holidays Titanic


by greenrabbitdesigns

My husband and I took a trip out yesterday, the weather was typically April, sunshine one minute, showery the next but this was something I had wanted to do for a while now, visit the birthplace of the Titanic.

You may wonder why, as I have lived here in Northern Ireland my entire life, I’ve never done this before. Well the truth is that it is only in recent times that there has been somewhere to visit. For years the building of the Titanic was never celebrated probably due to it’s untimely demise and the tragic loss of life. However the wonderful shipbuilding industry we had here was something to be proud of and thousands of magnificient vessels where built here offering employment to thousands of people. As it is the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Titanic a big effort has been made with everyone now being able to visit and experience the history.

Titanic was built in the Harland & Wolff shipyard, the home nowadays to the two giant yellow cranes Samson & Goliath. Anyone arriving in Belfast will be greeted by these two landmarks which now have a historical preservation order. However these two giants weren’t around in the days of Titanic and Olympic, it’s sister ship. Shipbuilding in those days was an altogether different and harder task.

This is the drawing office which is in need of a lot of work but this is where the plans for the Titanic would have been drawn. There are plans, thankfully, to restore this lovely building.

This photo is of Thomas Andrews who was the principle architect on the Titanic and who sadly went down with the ship.

This is the famous Thompson dry dock which in it’s time was the largest of it’s kind in the world and where the Titanic was fitted out. It is 44 feet deep.

The Titanic would have been brought in here and when her keel had rested on the keel blocks the water would have been pumped out so that work could begin on her.

This is a photo of Titanic in dry dock, she was simply known as hull 401!

This is an original capstan at the head of the dry dock which turned under steam power and would have pulled Titanic up the dock and into place.

And these keel blocks are the very ones that Titanic would have rested on in the bottom of the dry dock.

Still as it was in Titanic’s day is the pump house which was responsible for pumping the water out of the dry dock. 21 million gallons of water were pumped out in 100 minutes, which 100 years ago was quite a feat.

A lot of time and effort has been put into restoring the Nomadic which is the only ship of the White Star Line still in existence, it was used to ferry passengers from Cherbourg out to the Titanic on her first and final journey.

This is a new statue which has been erected to honour the many shipyard workers who worked at Harland & Wolff, it is in East Belfast where the majority of shipyard workers lived. It was hard work and many lost their lives doing their jobs.

The future of the Titanic Quarter is this new building, four-sided with each side the size of the bow of the Titanic.

The Titanic story is told in full inside here and there is even a replica of the Titanic’s famous grand staircase. I haven’t visited here yet as it is booked up well in advance but when things calm down a bit, I’ll be there.

On Saturday Belfast along with many other places will be remembering the 1512 lives lost one hundred years ago in the Titanic disaster.

Thank you for indulging me this long post about something that has always facinated me. I really enjoyed my day at the docks and I’m so glad that Belfast has been able to move on and not only remember those lost but to also celebrate it’s engineering and shipbuilding history. As a lady said on the radio today, “what happened to the Titanic was a disaster not the Titanic herself”!

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Mia April 11, 2012 - 2:06 pm

Hi Vivienne,

What a great post! And funny that we just watched some documents from telly last week and a few days ago about Titanic and they were filmed in those same places you just visited! Titanic is quite a big news here also these days and that 3D film is in theathres too…I think I will pass that and stick with the memories I have from the “original”.

Happy day!


Fleur Cotton April 11, 2012 - 2:53 pm

Hi Vivienne,
What a great day out, it must have been so interesting and also poignant this week to visit the shipyard.
I’ve been watching the BBC three part series hosted by Len Goodman which featured many of the places you have photographed.

Hope you have a lovely week.
Fleur xx

Jane April 11, 2012 - 4:20 pm

What an interesting post Vivienne. I really enjoyed reading about all the history of shipbuilding. It must have been a hive of activity in it’s time. The new Titanic building looks stunning, what a great design. I hope you get back there soon as I am sure the exhibition inside will be great. Milly and Tom live in Southampton…another part of the sad tale of Titanic. What a shock it must have been for such a ship to go down. Have a great week,
Jane x

maggie April 11, 2012 - 5:03 pm

Hope you a had great time! I’ve always fancied visiting but living in Yorkshire it’s a bit of a trip… Thanks for sharing it! Maggie x x x

Gill April 11, 2012 - 5:09 pm

What a great post Vivienne! It was amazing really how they built all those enormous ships in those days with steam power and a good labour force, and what a tremendous industry it must have been then.
Thanks for sharing the photos and history, it looks a great place to visit, and the new building housing the exhibition looks incredible.

Gill xx

Ailsa April 11, 2012 - 6:21 pm

Fantastic! and so interesting!

Patty April 11, 2012 - 10:12 pm

Hi Vivienne, I’ve found this really interesting and the pictures really bring the story to life. On our local news teatime show we are having a Titanic story every evening as quite a few of the crew were from Hull & East Yorkshire.
I have always been fascinated by the docks, probably as Hull was our local port for our family ferry trips to Europe as a kid.

That angular new building has a similar look to a structure we have called The Deep in Hull which is an aquarium.

I’ve seen your Samson & Goliath on tv, probably on Coast or something like that, amazing things.
Have a good week x

Susan April 11, 2012 - 11:35 pm

Hello Vivienne…I have found your post so interesting to read and your photographs are wonderful…the new building looks amazing and I would love to visit the exhibition too one day…..The statue in honour of the shipyard workers is very special…..Thanks for sharing your day…
Susan x

Jenny April 12, 2012 - 9:15 am

That was a really interesting post to read Vivienne – I have to confess I was obsessed with all things Titanic when I was younger, being only about 13 when the film came out!!! (A certain Leonardo Dicaprio had something to do with it!) But it is now the history of it all which interests me most…. It looks like a really good day out, thanks for sharing the pics with us, Jenny xx

Helen Philipps April 12, 2012 - 1:47 pm

A really interesting post, Vivienne. I enjoy visiting places of historic interest too, and feel as if I went along with you on this visit! Thank you for sharing the pictures and information.
Have a happy day!
Helen x

Simone April 12, 2012 - 3:42 pm

A very interesting post Vivienne. The titanic was a magnificent looking ship. My Nan was born the year the titanic went down. She would have been 100 on 31 May. x

lily April 13, 2012 - 4:16 pm

Titanic was a fascintaing feat of engineering and such a beautiful ship, Viv, it’s a shame it had such a sad fate awaiting it. x

jooles April 13, 2012 - 4:36 pm

what a fab post, so interesting and what a wonderful trip out.
I have been watching the len goodman programme on the titanic and really enjoying it…it generally ends in me in tears though.
have a super lovely weekend
love jooles x

julie April 13, 2012 - 6:40 pm

what a fascinating place to visit Vivienne, thanks for taking us on a tour with you x

tinajo April 14, 2012 - 3:13 pm

Oh yes, Titanic… Many swedes dreaming of a new life who went under with that ship – such a tragedy for everyone! It’s interesting to read about.

Kay G. April 15, 2012 - 4:14 am

Interesting post. Thank you for sharing all the photos and background information.

Karen April 15, 2012 - 5:49 pm

Hi Vivienne, They reported this on the German news this week and now you actually are nearby and visited – really enjoyed your interesting post! Despite the tragedy I think you are right to point out positive reasons to honor the Titanic. Sweet Sunday evenign greetings to you & a great start to the new week xo Karen

barb April 18, 2012 - 2:29 am

What a great tour. Thank you.

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