30 James Street Hotel, the former home of White Star Line offices in Liverpool (formerly known as Albion House), will open its doors to everyone on 15 April. All 63 rooms will be opened up so that people can tour the entire hotel. Additionally those who proven connections will be allowed to stay overnight–for free.
To earn that special treat, you have to submit stories that prove the connection. And the most interesting will get a free overnight stay for two and an invite to the gala dinner. Lawrence Kenwright, one of the owners told the Liverpool Echo:
We want these people to share it and enjoy it with us and that is why we’re doing this. The occasion will be extra special too because 15 April will mark the 103rd anniversary or the Titanic disaster and with Liverpool having a rich maritime history, we’re extending the offer to those who have worked in shipping or on Liverpool’s docks. We want to hear the best stories and we’re looking at putting them into a commemorative book about the building too.
There is really no way to fool a Titanic enthusiast. I could mock-up some news reports that Titanic II has been approved and under construction or that some new Titanic artifact has been found. Or that a certain eccentric English gentleman who claims ownership of the wreck went to court recently and convinced a UK court that he, as the lawful owner of Titanic, has final say over its disposition and not Premier Exhibitions. Or that during construction in a building formerly used by the original White Star Line papers were found that positively proves that Titanic was sunk by a German submarine.
None of that would fool a real Titanic enthusiast. Over in China they are building a Titanic exhibit that will not only look like Titanic but will simulate the sinking. That is a true story as bizarre as it sounds. Forget the wax museum approach! We will make you feel the shakes and shudders of Titanic heading to its watery grave. No word if they will air cool the exhibit so you feel the freezing temperature of that awful night. Of course if you are paranormal expert, why not seek out the ghosts? Stories abound of Titanic exhibits being haunted. But why? I mean why hang around an exhibit about the ship you died on? Do you really need a character like the one played by the lovely Jennifer Love Hewitt to tell you to move into the light?
The greatest April Fools Day joke was done by Clive Palmer. He spent serious money to wine and dine the rich about his Titanic II. A ship to look like the old one but with all the new safety features of today. And to make it more like 1912, passengers will truly have that feel with segregated sections and uncomfortable sleeping down on third class (called steerage back then). He had plans drawn up and preliminary tests done. He even supposedly signed a preliminary deal with a Chinese shipyard. Alas it is not come to pass. No construction has started, Chinese workers are unimpressed, and Palmer himself is in a row with the Chinese government. An expensive April Fools Day joke for him.
So today I just give it a pass. There is no fooling a Titanic enthusiast. Because on 15 April, it will be 103 years since it sank. And that is not joke.