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”!