The RMS Titanic – designated RMS for ‘Royal Mail Ship’ – was one of the biggest ships ever built. It sank in the freezing North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in 1912, after hitting an iceberg, and it went down quickly – within three hours of the collision. The ship only carried enough lifeboats for about half the number of people on board and over 1,500 people drowned, with another 700 eventually pulled from the water.
It’s a famous story, but the bare facts lose their power over time. The last survivors – babies on the voyage – succumbed to old age and not an icy sea, and the Titanic story has largely become one of myth and legend. Fiction intrudes upon memory, so that Leonardo and Kate speak to us – “I’ll never let go, Jack” – in a way the actual passengers never could.
For the real story, you need to go back to the place where it all began – Belfast.
Titanic was built in the Harland and Wolff shipyards, and it’s there – on the actual slipway – that Titanic Belfast tells the tale. It’s a stirring story of industry, commerce and design, laced with personal testimony, heroism and heartbreak. The people who built Titanic, and those who sailed on her, and died on her, explode the myths and speak their truths, and it’s both chilling and uplifting to put actual human experience at the heart of the Titanic story.
Join me on my walk-through video at the Titanic visitor experience – an extraordinary building that does a remarkable job in shining a light on a story you think you already know.
Find out more at Titanic Belfast.