Few voyages have captured the imagination like that of RMS Titanic. One hundred years ago she sailed from Belfast on her maiden trip that, sadly, lasted only 4 days. On the night of 14 April 1912 the “unsinkable” ship collided with an iceberg and, in just two-and-a-half hours, sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.
There are many key sites on the Titanic trail and some, geographically more distant, that are marking the anniversary with exhibitions and events. Here are some of the highlight events happening in Blighty:
The Northern Ireland city is the birthplace of the Titanic and Belfast is staking its claim to the legend with a £97 million centre. The Titanic Belfast visitor attraction opened on 31 March and a car rally (6 April), light show (7 and 9-11 April) and MTV concert (13 April) at the Titanic Slipway will follow. On 14 April Titanic: A Commemoration in Music and Film will be staged at the Waterfront Hall and broadcast on BBC2 and a new play will be staged from 22 April to 19 May.
The Titanic sailed from Southampton Dock on 10 April. Staffed by many local men, more than 500 households lost at least one family member. Interactive exhibits at the new £15m SeaCity Museum will allow visitors to captain the ship as Edward John Smith did, see how they’d cope fuelling the boilers with coal, and find out if they could spot an iceberg using 100-year-old equipment.
As the ship’s home port, Liverpool has strong links with Titanic. J Bruce Ismay, chairman and managing director of the White Star Line, was born and lived there, it was the site of the head office of the White Star Line, many crewmembers were from Liverpool and the bell and portholes were made in Merseyside. A new exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum opened on 30 March and explores Liverpool’s place in the tragedy. It draws on the museum’s unique collections including the only known surviving First Class ticket.
In addition, Little Girl Giant, a 30-foot-high marionette, will tour Liverpool in a three-day street spectacular. Inspired by a letter from a daughter to her father, a passenger on Titanic, Sea Odyssey will tell the story of love, loss and reunion.
Titanic images are from Titanic Belfast
Southampton image is from SeaCity
Liverpool images are © National Museums Liverpool