Although the Titanic lies in 13,000 feet of water, the enduring story still captures minds and hearts throughout the world. To mark the anniversary, when a team led by American oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard and French diving engineer Jean-Louis Michel discovered the world’s most famous ship’s final resting place, here are 30 things you may not know about the Titanic and its home – Titanic Belfast:
The Ship Itself
Titanic Belfast – the Home of the Titanic
- Titanic’s design was conceived over a glass of wine and fine food! Lord Pirrie and J. Bruce Ismay decided speed would be balanced with quality of accommodation. It is rumoured that when Pirrie enquired as to the length of the ship, Ismay replied, glass of wine in hand, “build me a stable ship that will not disturb the sediment in these fine wines.”
- Titanic (271m) was long enough to span three tempestuous Atlantic Ocean wave crests.
- Due to the size of the Olympic-class ships, in which Titanic was one of three, the shipyard - Harland and Wolff in Belfast, had to prepare for two years to be able to build them!
- At the time, Belfast was the fastest growing city in the British Empire, it was the linen and ropework capital, with the largest ship building firm in the world. Evidence of this can still be seen throughout the city today.
- The ship had three wheels for steering!
- Titanic’s funnels were wide enough to drive a train through!
- Facilities on board included a gym, pool, Turkish bath, a kennel for first class dogs, and a squash court. The first class cabins on Titanic were the same standard as hotel cabins, while second class was as good as first class on other ships!
- The famous staircase, which was among the most luxurious appointments on the ship, was inspired by the staircase at Belfast City Hall, which can still be visited today.
- Titanic was stocked with literally tons of food and drink – including 40,000 eggs and 15,000 bottles of ale!
- Titanic was launched in 62 seconds on 31st May 1911. The Olympic, and the tender ships - Nomadic and Traffic also left Belfast the same day, drawing over 100,000 spectators and journalists travelling from London and America.
- Titanic now lies 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, nearly two and a half miles (4000m) below sea level overlooking a small canyon below.
- There is no light at this great depth and little life can be found. At Titanic Belfast, visitors can view Dr Ballard’s high definition footage of what Titanic looks like today and can learn more about individual items in the wreckage using our interactive pods.
What’s new at Titanic Belfast
- Titanic Belfast is built where RMS Titanic was designed and launched.
- The Titanic and SS Nomadic have been re-united again in Belfast. Visitors can experience both the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience together with SS Nomadic - an authentic piece of Belfast’s industrial heritage, as well as the award-winning Discovery Tour, which highlights the famous barrel-vaulted Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices, the slipways and the building’s iconic structure for one price.
- Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience.
- Since opening in March 2012, the attraction has welcomed approximately 2.5 million visitors from over 145 countries.
- Famous visitors to Titanic Belfast include HM Queen Elizabeth, film director James Cameron, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, former United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and singer Michael Buble - plus many more!
- The building can hold over 3,547 visitors at any one time - the same number as the capacity of Titanic!
- Titanic Belfast’s overall shape represents the bow of the ship.
- The hulls are the same height of Titanic from keel to boat deck!
- 40,000 tons of concrete was used in Titanic Belfast’s foundations, nearly the same as for Titanic.
Outside Titanic Belfast
- The world-class exhibition, which has been described by the Prime Minister as ‘absolutely brilliant’ and ‘magnificent and dramatic’ by TITANIC movie director, James Cameron, has recently redeveloped three galleries, which capture the excitement of launch day, as well as the ship’s maiden voyage. Utilising the 'Pepper’s Ghost' illusion that was featured in the James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever, as well as fellow world class attractions such as the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, Titanic Belfast recently introduced Fredrick Dent Ray, a dining room steward and survivor. Fredrick will interact with visitors telling them what it was like to work on board at the Palm Court Café!
- At Titanic Belfast, guests are now transported onto Titanic’s deck promenade as part of the experience. Guests can walk on deck, look out to sea, hear the ocean, hold onto the railings and feel the ships engines rumbling as if they were on the ship itself.
- The last letter ever to be written on board Titanic by Essex-born Esther Hart and her seven-year-old daughter Eva, just eight hours before the ship hit an iceberg and sank in April 1912, is on display. It recently sold at auction for a world record sum of £119,000.
- A note from RMS Titanic's assistant ship surgeon Dr John Simpson, which was believed to be long-lost, is also on display at the exhibition.
- Titanic Belfast is home to the historic plan, commissioned by the Board of Trade for the British inquiry, and designed and prepared by White Star Line architects. It is the second most expensive Titanic artefact in the world.
- It’s not only the galleries that tell the story of the Titanic but the surrounding buildings. On the plaza surrounding the Titanic Belfast is one of the largest maps of the Northern Hemisphere at 10,000 m2 and follows the route of Titanic from Belfast.
- The wooden benches encircling the building and are spaced in Morse code sequence. Moving clockwise around the plaza they read “DE (this is) MGY MGY MGY (Titanic’s call sign) CQD CQD SOS SOS CQD” – the distress message that Titanic sent after hitting an iceberg.
- On the slipways, there is life size plan of Titanic’s Promenade Deck which is inlaid in white stone, where the ship would have been constructed, outlining where the liner’s lifeboats and funnels and benches on board would have been.
- The Slipways also include a Memorial garden, where four grass lawns alternate with timber decking to illustrate the proportion of those who lost their lives and those who lived from each of the passenger classes and crew.
To delve deeper, visit the home of the story - Titanic Belfast.
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or take a look at our upcoming event here