2012 is a big year for the Titanic ‘brand’. Being 100 years since the fateful sinking of the ship in the North Atlantic with the loss of over 1500 lives, 2012 has seen a number of events, announcements, and openings to mark this historic, tragic, event which is deeply rooted in the psyche of many western countries.
Belfast is where the Titanic was built during 1909-1911. The vessel was constructed in the Harland and Wolff shipyard. As a result the city of Belfast has a strong association with the ship and it remains close to their hearts even today. In fact inhabitants across the whole of the Irish isle feel strongly about the Titanic, this is because on her maiden voyage many Irish emigrants were aboard, off to make a new life for themselves in the United States.
Two notable things occurred in Belfast to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic 100 years on. One of these marked the launch of the Titanic from her dry-dock in May 1911. Last year at the exact moment Titanic was launched, a single flare was shot out over the shipyard recognising the ships eventual fate. Additionally the ships that were present for the event sounded their horns and crowds that had gathered to pay their respects cheered and applauded for exactly 62 seconds, the time that it has taken Titanic to make her way down the slip way back in 1911.
The second notable event to occur was the opening of the Titanic Belfast Experience earlier this year. The exhibition is housed in a brand new building which has been designed to reflect the maritime heritage of the city. The building itself is worth a visit as it’s an imposing and monumental building in relation to the surrounding skyline. The Belfast Titanic Experience has been built on the original site of the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The exhibition itself follows the ship through 9 areas and phases, from Belfast in 1909, to the rediscovery of the wreck in 1985 and its subsequent investigation.
Southampton is the port from where Titanic made her maiden voyage, this is where the majority of passengers boarded, and the place that is most strongly associated with her story. As many as 500 Southampton households lost a family member to the Titanic tragedy and as a result she is a lasting memory for the town. In April 2012 the impressive SeaCity Museum was opened in Southampton to mark 100 years since the sinking of the vessel. Although this museum provides general displays relating to Southampton’s significant maritime past, a great deal of the museum is in fact dedicated to the ill-fated ship.
In April of this year, perhaps the most ambitious Titanic memorial was announced by Clive Palmer, an Australian Billionaire. The project plan is to build an exact replica of the Titanic, called the Titanic II. The Titanic II will see the same opulence used throughout the vessel as in the original, from the luxury bedding of the first class cabins, to the grand dining room staircase. The new vessel is due to begin being built at the end of 2012 by a Chinese ship building firm, CSC Jinling.
The Titanic II will of course incorporate some modern designs to ensure the safety of the passengers, things like a larger rudder, a failing of the original Titanic, and the provision of modern navigational equipment.
- Photograph by Leslie Shaw [CC BY 2.0]
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