Belfast, the city where the most famous ship was designed, built and launched, marked the centenary of RMS Titanic's maiden voyage with the opening of the world's largest Titanic visitor experience, Titanic Belfast. Only in Belfast can you trace the Titanic story to its source, discover the passion and pride of those who designed and built her and relive the excitement of the Titanic era when the city was at the height of its powers.
- Built in Belfast, completed in 1912.
- One of three Olympic Class Ocean Liners which included RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic.
- The unsinkable ship has left a cultural legacy including James Cameron's Titanic, the second most successful film of all time.
Titanic: Built In Belfast
Belfast led the way in industry in the early 20th century, with rope works, linen mills and tobacco factories supplying the world. Ship building was reaching a peak and in 1909 there were over 15,000 workers working in Harland and Wolff, the world's greatest shipbuilders. They had a dream to build the largest and most luxurious ships for shipping giant, White Star Line on the trans-Atlantic route.
At 175 feet, RMS Titanic was higher than Nelson's Column. Weighing 46,328 tonnes, it was the largest man-made movable object the world had yet to see. The floating palace was to the first ship with steam baths, a heated swimming pool, electric escalators and hot and cold water in every cabin. It included a state-of-the-art gym, squash courts and a lounge and ballrooms inspired by Versailles. In fact, the cost of a first class (parlous suite) ticket was 870, equivalent to around 73,000 today!
On 2 April 1912 over 100,000 people lined Belfast Dock to cheer her off. Their pride still radiates today. "She was alright when she left Belfast!"
Those who travelled on Titanic came from starkly different worlds. Some came from humble stock while celebrities of the day filled the palatial first-class cabins. Colonel John Astor, America's richest man, boarded at Cherbourg, bringing his pregnant wife back from honeymoon. Along with others of this class, like fashion designer Lady Duff-Gordon and fabulously wealthy industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim, they were ferried to Titanic on tender SS Nomadic. The cream of society wandered miles of deck, took tea in the Cafe Parisian and enjoyed eleven sumptuous courses nightly at the first class.
On board was designer Thomas Andrews, as well as fitters and draughtsmen, instructed by Harland & Wolff to fix any problems that might occur. But they were powerless to prevent the tragedy that shook the world.
At 11:40pm on Sunday April 14th, while steaming south of Newfoundland, Canada at a speed of 20 knots, Titanic struck a huge iceberg, fatally wounding its hull. Less than three hours later, the survivors watched helplessly from lifeboats as the last of the great liners slipped beneath the waves. Within hours they would be rescued by RMS Carpathia and taken onwards to New York. But they left behind over 1500 crew and passengers, who had perished beneath the waves as there weren't enough lifeboats. The world mourned but nowhere was the grief more keenly felt than in Belfast.
For over 80 years Titanic lay hidden in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
On 1 September 1985, her wreck was finally discovered by Dr Robert Ballard and his team. A renewed pride in Belfast was intensified by the 1997 release of James Cameron's film 'Titanic', still the second most successful film of all time. Today, the not incomparable aura of Titanic and her story continues to captivate the imaginations of people of all ages.
Only in Belfast can you trace her remarkable story in the city of her birth. Relive the Titanic story at the world's largest Titanic visitor experience, Titanic Belfast.