Sunday, 30 September 2012

Titanic

Marking the centenary year of the launching of the legendary liner, the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast has been three years in the making; exactly the same length of time that it took for the ship to be built. The exhibition is housed in a specially designed building constructed on the very same spot as the ship was built 100 years ago.
Part of the Titanic window in Belfast City Hall
The city was known as Boom Town Belfast at the beginning of the 20th century with it's famous Harland and Wolff shipyard, the perfect location to build the biggest ship in the world.
The whistle has blown and it is time to get to work in the bowels of the ship.
Launch day dawns, and is greeted by hundreds of excited spectators. The launch is shown on film in exactly the same spot as it happened 100 years ago.
A birds eye view of the interior of the new building which has nine galleries including the Fit-Out: The Maiden Voyage: The Sinking: The Aftermath: Myths and Legends: Titanic Beneath - shows a journey to the bottom of the sea where Titanic still lies in her watery grave.
On her maiden voyage at 23.40 on 14th April 1912 Titanic struck an iceberg; 2½ hours later all was silent.  
She sank beneath the waves with the loss of over 1500 lives.

38 comments:

  1. Many of my primary school students are fascinated by the TItanic.
    Their wide reading on the subject leads to interesting conversations when they come to visit me in the Library. They have become somewhat expert on many aspects of the ship.
    I am going to tell them about this as I think many of them will want to go and visit!
    As for me, when we were in Melbourne a couple of years ago we went with my Mother, My sister and her children to see the Titanic Exhibition. It was amazing. What astonished me was the collection of plates that they found on the seabed, exactly where they had landed, and all completely intact.
    Each person attending the exhibition was given a 'passport' belonging to a passenger who travelled on the fateful ship. As you journeyed around you could see the sort of the cabin your passenger had, what they ate etc etc.
    At the end of the tour visitors were presented with a huge board listing all the passengers and crew, and whether or not they made it. We had all become so attached to our passengers, that I found myself surprised at how sad I felt when I discovered that my man (a travelling perfume seller) had drowned.

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    1. I am sure your primary school students would enjoy the exhibition.
      You take a flight capsule ride all around the inside of the boat where they have cleverly incorporated film of men constructing Titanic. A 3D film screen takes you from the bottom of the ship upwards to the top going along corridors and around the rooms. You are introduced to the crew and the passengers; hear their stories, their dreams and learn about their lives on board Titanic as they set sail for America.
      As you mention it is very sad, and brings the whole experience to life in a very moving way.
      I really like the passport idea, a very novel way of engaging people in the fate of those onboard.

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  2. What an incredible looking exhibition Rosemary, I like the way they have given the exhibition space great height to give the illusion of being on deck. It'll be a huge success.

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    1. Dear Paul - the exhibition has been open almost six months, and they are very pleased that already it has hit the half million mark for visitors outstripping their proposed annual target of 425,000.
      We were impressed with Belfast it wasn't at all like we imagined. Good Victorian architecture and new architecture, lots of green spaces, and the city is nicely surrounded by hills.

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  3. A beautifully laid out post, Rosemary! I felt the momentum increasing from image to image....all the way to the unfortunate ending. If I am near the area, shall make a visit. The exhibition house is quite impressive ~

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    1. Dear Loi - Thank you for your kind comment. It is not possible in a single post to convey every aspect and so I just stuck to the beginning and the ending. It is particularly interesting that the building is surrounded by the old docks and cranes which adds to the atmosphere.

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  4. Hello Rosemary:
    When exhibitions are done well, they really do last in the memory for a lifetime. This looks to be exactly one of those. Imaginatively presented, Titanic in scale and so much to interact with in order to make the viewing experience more immediate. It looks excellent and we are sure that we should love to see it.

    When we taught in Southampton, the Titanic was a constant source of intrigue amongst the pupils and a Titanic survivor who lived in Southampton would often be brought in to school to tell the story that still sounds totally incredible!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - Kirk has also expressed how much his pupils are fascinated by the Titanic. It seems to capture their imagination.
      I understand that there is an exhibition in Southampton at the moment as it too was at the heart of the story. It is not on the same scale but shows a collection of photos, memorabilia and relics from the liner.

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  5. A wonderful collection of images as usual and indeed the building and the exhibition look amazing. I do feel that all the publicity surrounding this year's events and the commemorative Atlantic cruise had a little to much of a celebratory feel. I can't help empathising with the horror and panic those caught up in the Titanic disaster must have felt & I'm sure this will affect me if I ever visit the museum.

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    1. Dear Nilly - when you leave the exhibition the feeling is one of reflectiveness at how awful it must have been for all of those trapped on the liner and surrounded by icy waters. I couldn't help but think about it as we caught the ferry back to Scotland homeward bound at the end of our stay.

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  6. Rosemary, I'm so sorry not to reading and commenting, but I'm afraid our broadband and phone line are so poor at the moment that I can't read picture-heavy blogs at all. They are just not loading and neither is video. Sigh. I'll be back as soon as technology lets me.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - so sorry to learn that - I do hope I am not responsible in anyway as I do show a lot of photos. I always reduce the pixels in order to try an alleviate the loading problems.
      It good to know that you are now back safe and sound from France again, and nice to hear from you anyway.

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    2. Not your fault at all, Rosemary, but BT's. The engineer wasn't very happy after the repair was done and the connection is now much slower than before. If it doesn't improve after a few days, we'll have to start badgering BT again. Sigh....

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    3. Do hope that they sort you out soon.

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  7. Dear Rosemary -

    Your interesting post reminded me of my maternal grandmother, who came to the United States on the White Star line one year after the Titanic sank. The ship she was on took the exact route of the Titanic, and you can imagine that my grandmother was so scared that she went to bed each evening fully dressed.

    Because she was from a little Swiss village, my grandmother had her room far below the decks, and she could hear the steady growl of the engines all through the night. One night she slipped off to an uneven sleep and awoke with a start because the whole ship was completely silent!

    Horrified, she put on her coat and made her way to the deck. It was about 1:00 a.m. and the ship was drifting exactly where the Titanic had sunk the previous year. Unbeknownst to the rest of the passengers, relatives of Titanic victims were on board and had requested that the captain allow a memorial service at the site of the sinking. This the captain did, but in secret and timed to be in the middle of the night. And so my grandmother watched from a distance as the captain and a small cluster of people sang a hymn and then dropped a huge wreath into the ocean. My grandmother said the wreath was about five feet in diameter, but as she looked over the railing, and as the ship continued to glide along, it seemed very small.

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    1. Dear Mark - what a very moving tale, and thank you for sharing it with us all here. Such an atmospheric recounting of her story, which has obviously made a lasting impression on you.
      I can picture it all, and see your grandmother watching the little memorial service in the night, the size of the liner being revealled by the wreath looking so very small on the water as it glided away. A very moving story.

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  8. The Titanic tragedy is remarkable in the way it enters our consciousness and engages our empathy at the deepest level, even 100 years later. Exploring these feelings would be a good reason to attend this exhibit.

    It also would be fascinating to learn how those large ships were built and operated, and the Belfast docks would be the ideal place for this. By the way, I noticed that the message read "his power may be gone", although in literature at least ships are usually called "she".
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Dear Jim you are right, ships are always known as 'she'.
      At the docks they still have the huge cranes in situ called Samson and Goliath which gives some indication of their enormous size. They dominate the Belfast skyline and are landmark structures of the city. They have a span of 459ft and can lift loads of up to 840 tonnes to a height of 230ft, making a combined lifting capacity of 1,600 tonnes.

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  9. Dear Rosemary,
    The exhibition in Belfast looks incredible and must have brought the story so much to life. I am hoping to get to see the one in Southampton although it won't be as large or as impressive as the one in Belfast. Reading other blogs I am surprised how many Titanic exhibitions there are worldwide. It's a story that touches us all.
    Sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - the exhibition was a moving experience, and it really portrayed how quickly the ship sunk after hitting the iceberg. It must have had an impact on me, as I felt much more nervous on the return ferry home than I did on the one we went out on.
      I think that the Titanic exhibition in Southampton is important because many people local to the area lost their lives or knew of people who had.

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  10. What a very special building especially designed for this exhibition. That and the whole exhibition sounds and looks worth while! Thank you for taking us with you and letting us have a glimpse of it since I'm pretty sure I won't be visiting Belfast or the exhibition any time soon. Thank you for sharing Rosemary.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the building and getting a little flavour of the exhibition. It is the first time that we have been to Northern Ireland, and I was pleased to see that the city and surrounding area are becoming popular as a tourist destination after all of the troubles that they have had over the years.

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  11. Hi Rosemary! It's me again. TESTING from my desktop, this time. Will my comment appear?

    ANNA
    xxx

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    1. Dear Anna - so lovely to hear from you after your long sojourn in Italy - I have missed you. I have just received a message from Val saying that you have been having difficulty commenting here - so sorry about that, but thankfully your latest one has come through.
      I wonder what has been the matter, may be it is because blogger has now gone over to the new format, not sure, but anyway very happy that we are now connected♥

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  12. Dear Rosemary,
    My heart started to beat and beat, as I read on . Your photo images are so well presented, i was glued as i read on.
    Some 4 months ago, on National Geographic.. there was a whole documentary of the new building you have shown us. Housing all the memorabilia and story of the Titanic. It was fascinating.
    I am not sure that i would go to visit it. I remember seeing the very first film about the Titanic as a young child and reading about it too, over the years. I also watched the whole two documentaties with Cameron..when he found her..
    My mother often talked about the poor people. She was 7 when it happened.
    It always left me very sad, listening to the awful tragic stories , and the thought of all those trapped soul's..
    A few months ago again.. A whole documentary on how the Iceberg had ended up where it was, and how it had left the main ice flow.! To this day, It haunts me , how those poor people suffered on that fateful night. "How could it have happened" She was " unsinkable ".. great post..

    Anna has tried to comment on your posts.. but says her comments are not appearing. she is worried. She would like you to know that..
    val x

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    1. Dear Val - as you will see above, Anna has now managed to comment, so hopefully the problem has now been resolved.
      It is interesting that you have seen a documentary on the making of the new building - it really is a remarkable feat of architectural engineering.
      It was a terrible disaster, and it must have been unimaginable to those onboard who went through the nightmare.
      I suppose that it was never envisaged that a large iceberg would hit the ship in the middle of the night, and as usual procedures for people to clamber into lifeboats was dealt with in panic mode. Apparently a lifeboat drill should have taken place the day the Titanic was hit, but was cancelled.

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  13. This must be an extraordinary exhibition, from the look of your photos Rosemary.
    The Titanic story, always reminds me of the arroganse of human beings and how dangerous it can be...

    I am wishing you a lovely October : )

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    1. Dear Demie - a profound remark and you are so right. We think that we can do anything we want in this world but as such we are nothing against nature.

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  14. What an incredible exhibit! How I would love to take my daughter as it is a current subject of interest. The Titanic!
    Thank you for sharing what you have. I will share with her.
    I never knew it was built in Belfast.
    Wow.

    ~ Rachel

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    1. Dear Rachel - The Titanic story seems to be of perennial interest to children it captures their imagination. Hope that she may see something on this post that she finds interesting, it is a shame that you live so far away.

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  15. Hallo Rosemary!A wonderful collection of images !The building and the exhibition look amazing.All your photos are so professional!Wish you a great October month!
    Dimi..

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    1. Thanks Dimi for your very kind comments, the exhibition was very interesting and housed in an amazing building,

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  16. What an interesting exhibition Rosemary. Never realised so many lives were lost. 1500 is quite something!

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

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    1. It really was a tragedy on a large scale Madelief, it must have been an horrific and frightening way to die for all of those poor people.

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  17. What an architecture. That's an amazing building.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Dear Filip - I think that the architecture would appeal to you very much. It is rather wonderful the way it reflects the Titanic liner itself.

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  18. That is an awesome exhibition.

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    1. Because the building was especially designed to hold the Titanic exhibition it certainly does make it awsome.

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