Category Archives: Titanic

Friday Titanic News

J. Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line, in 1912
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

Titanic Survivor’s Guilt Over Escape From The Sinking Ship Revealed In Messages Set To Sell For £50,000 (Telegraph, 10 Oct 2019)

Mr Harrison was Mr Ismay’s personal valet and the collection includes a four page letter he wrote home to his wife Ann Harrison about how he was “fed up” with spending hours writing letters to post for Mr Ismay. Days after the tragedy Mr Ismay wrote to Mrs Harrison via telegram: “Words fail to express my sorrow at your terrible loss. “Am overwhelmed by this frightful calamity.”

Once Halloween season kicks in, it is inevitable you get stories with a supernatural tilt to it. The folks who run the Scottsdale, Arizona Titanic Exhibit are no exception. For the Halloween season they are adding a “ghost walk.” According to AzFamily,  on select days “visitors can walk around the haunted galleries and hear the ghost stories from the exhibit’s staff about the artifacts.” Apparently there have been claims of spirits and other things alleged to have occurred at the exhibit. A local psychic is also going to be on hand to add more ambience to the event. About the only thing missing is a ouija board.

Source: Scottsdale Titanic Exhibit Near Scottsdale To Feature The Ghost Walk (AzFamily.com, 10/8/19)

Cross Made from Titanic Oak Up For auction

BBC News is reporting that a cross made from Titanic wood is up for auction. It was made by Samuel Smith who was aboard the recovery ship S.S.Minia. Wood from Titanic was used by Smith to fashion a cross in honor of the victims.

The cross will be auctioned off on Saturday, October 19 at 1 pm along with other Titanic items by Henry Aldridge and Son. It is expected to fetch £18,000 ($22,000).

Source: Wooden cross made from Titanic oak to be auctioned (BBC, 8 Oct 2019)

rare Father browne photos on display at new bar

Reverend Francis Browne, 1939
Michael Garahy
Retrieved from Wikipedia

Never-Before-Seen Photos of the ‘Titanic’ Set the Scene at This Castle Hotel’s New Bar (Robb Report, 3 Oct 2019)

While post-Titanic, Browne went on to become known as one of the most important Irish photographers of the early 20th-century, documenting everything from the rigors of daily country life to the European trenches of World War I, he didn’t have the means to pay for the high cost of developing all of his film. So when the current owner of Lough Eske Castle (who also owns the Titanic Hotel Belfast) purchased a set of Browne’s old trunks at auction a few years back, he found inside numerous rolls of undeveloped film—which, now processed and remastered, form the basis for the largest private collection of Father Browne images.

Top Destinations For The Titanic Enthusiast (Travel Pulse, 5 Oct 2019)

After over a hundred years of stories and legends of page, stage and film, the ship continues to captivate generations, particularly travelers eager to visit the cities that figure prominently in Titanic’s story. Situated in both Europe and North America, here are some major sites for the Titanic enthusiast to visit during their travels.

Happy Sunday everyone.

Harland & Wolff Workers return to work; Belfast titanic memorial garden

Staff At Titanic Shipyard Harland And Wolff Cheer As They Return To Work After Business Was Sold (This is Money, 3 Oct 2019)

Harland and Wolff employees have gone back to work after the closure-threatened shipyard was sold. There were cheers as the remaining staff walked through the gates in Belfast at 9am. Workers launched a campaign after the shipyard was placed into administration over the summer. 

Belfast Titanic Memorial Garden (Atlas Obscura)

In honor of the 22 local men who died in the Titanic disaster, the sculpture is 22 feet high (including the plinth), and features small water fountains, gargoyle-type creatures, and inscriptions on all sides. The local victims are listed by rank, starting with Thomas Andrews, the ship’s architect and the managing director of Harland and Wolff.

Since it is Friday, time to relax and kick back a little.  And with Halloween approaching, perhaps a nod in that direction with Sorcerer’s  Apprentice. Have a nice Friday everyone.

Harland & Wolff Gets Reprieve;Titanic Walking cane

RMS Titanic ready for launch(1911)
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id#cph.3a27541)

Titanic Builder Harland And Wolff Thrown Lifeline In £6m Deal (Financial Times, 1 Oct 2019)
Harland and Wolff, the Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic, has been saved from collapse after UK energy infrastructure group InfraStrata agreed a £6m deal to buy the struggling business from administrators. InfraStrata said the agreement would save the jobs of the remaining 79 Harland and Wolff workers who did not opt for voluntary redundancy earlier this year.

Titanic Survivor’s Famous Walking Cane Valued At Over $100,000 (JustCollecting, 1 Oct 2019)
A walking cane which survived the sinking of the Titanic is expected to sell for more more than $100,000 when it goes up for auction this month. The cane, which features an electric light in the tip, was used by passenger Ella Holmes White to signal to other lifeboats after the ship sank on April 15, 1912, killing more than 1,500 people. The historic cane will now be offered on October 19 at Henry Aldridge & Son, a world-renowned auction house which specializes in Titanic artifacts.

Poignant Photograph Of Two Passengers Taken On Board The Titanic As The Doomed Liner Set Off On Maiden Voyage Is Set To Go Under The Hammer (Daily Mail, 1 Oct 2019)
Photograph taken by a passenger on board the Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage is being put up for auction as part of a collection worth an estimated £6,000. The poignant image was taken by a first-class passenger who was stood on the boat deck as Titanic crossed the Solent about an hour after slipping its mooring. Father Francis Browne leant over the railing to capture the pilot boat leaving Titanic for the last time having picked up harbour pilot George Bowyer.

Titanic news for First day of autumn

An Escape from the Titanic That a Young Survivor Couldn’t Remember (CBC, 23 Sep 2019)

“The only thing I recall is the steward, or whoever it is, took Mother and me up and told my dad to hurry up and get his family up on deck because it was the second-last lifeboat,” she told Midday, when sharing her story with the program in September 1991.”And they put us into the lifeboat and of course, the men were supposed to stand back, but the boat was only half-full and they were lowering it already. So he jumped in.”

Local explorers uncover new information about the Titanic (WPTV, 20 Sep 2019)

“We were able to get incredibly high resolution images of the wreck, which will be part of a documentary, which is going to be made about our trip,” Lahey said. In dark, near-freezing waters, the team said it was struck by the size of the sunken ship. “There was this dark contrast between the wreck and all the corrosion you see, and all the beautiful animals that are all around it,” Lahey said. But the dives revealed parts of the Titanic are being consumed by the ocean, and the deterioration will continue.

 

Sunday Titanic News

Village Where Harold Bride Lived Will Have Memorial Plaque On Former Home (The Courier.UK, 20 Sep 2019)

Bride died of lung cancer in 1956 aged 66, and a plaque has been displayed in his honour at his childhood home in the London borough of Bromley and the house has become a popular pilgrimage site for Titanic enthusiasts. But Scone and District Historical Society believe that his home in the village should also bare a memorial in Bride’s honour. The group have applied to the council’s planning team to put up a plaque on the C-listed building, which is still a privately owned home. It’s owner is due to celebrate his 100th birthday on December 14 and the plaque would be a fantastic present to mark the occasion, according to the Historical Society.

Northern Ireland House Hides A Secret From The Titanic (New York Post, 20 Sept 2019)

Part of the Old School House near Belfast — a charming 1833 structure that has been converted into a four-bedroom single-family property — is made of wood from the fated ship. The house’s owner was told by a man who worked in a local salvage yard that the wood for the kitchen’s window seat was used in the building of the Titanic. The timber is said to came from Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was constructed between 1909 and 1912. The link has never been confirmed, and it’s unclear when in the house’s 186-year history the bench was added. But it is plausible that the wood could have come from the famous Belfast shipbuilding hub — it’s less than 5 miles away.

5 Timepieces That Carry A Piece Of History (Economic Times, 15 Sept 2019)

Geneva watchmaker Romain Jerome purchased a piece of the hull of the Titanic, the oceanliner that sank in 1912, to make the Titanic-DNA collection. The watch has an alloy using the slab from the wreck that was retrieved in 1991. The black dial face is made of lacquer paint that includes coal recovered from the debris field of the wreck site. Jerome made 2,012 watches — costing between $7,800 and $173,100 — to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in 2012.

Being Kosher on titanic

Collapsible lifeboat D photographed by passenger on Carpathia on the morning of 15 April 1912.
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

One  of the underreported aspects of Titanic is that there were Jewish passengers aboard. Only 27 Jews survived and they were welcomed by the Hebrew Sheltering Home and Immigrant Aide in New York. Synagogues all over the country viewed the sinking as a tragedy. And inspired songs as well.

One of the problems encountered by Jewish passengers was staying true to Kashrut (religious dietary laws called kosher). Jews comprised a fair number of 3 rd class passengers on these ships but many ships had no facilities for kosher food preparation. That meant either you brought rations to eat on the voyage or you fasted. And fasting was not easy on a 5 day or more journey across the Atlantic ocean. In fact, some died from starvation.

The Hamburg-Amerika line started in 1905 having kosher food prepared aboard to serve to mainly 3rd class Jewish passengers. Other lines began to do the same because they could market that Jews would get kosher food aboard their ships to America. And since 3rd class was very profitable for the large liners, it was worth the cost to do so.

The Hebrew steerage passengers were looked after by a Hebrew who is employed by the company as a cook, and is at the same time appointed by Rabbi as guardian of such passengers. This particular man told me that he is a pioneer in this work. He was the first to receive such an appointment. It is his duty to see that all the Jewish passengers are assigned to sleeping quarters that are as comfortable and as good as any; to see that kosher food is provided and to prepare it. He has done duty on most of the ships of the White Star line. On each he has instituted this system of caring for the Hebrews and then has left it to be looked after by some successor. (U.S. Immigration Report, 1909)

Titanic had kosher service according to a recent article on jewishpress.com. “All kosher serving dinnerware and utensils for all classes on the Titanic were marked “milk” or “meat,” and mashgichim (supervising rabbis) were authorized by White Star to regularly inspect the ship’s catering departments in both England and New York. Those who ate kosher food used the same tables as everyone else, were served in the same manner, and were fed food of the same quality.” There was also a kosher butcher that supplied meat and rabbinical supervision to make sure the food was prepared according to Kashrut dietary laws.

Sadly no kosher menu has survived from the White Star Line but it is surmised they did exist. References to kosher meat and being served to Jewish passengers suggest that a menu had to exist. It is a fascinating bit of history to read about. And continues to show Titanic still has stories to tell.

Source: Sailing Aboard The Titanic: A Kosher Cruise? (jewish press.com, 11 Sep 2019)

Sunday Titanic News: Santa barbara Boat fire owners Using Titanic legal strategy

The tragic loss of life recently in a Santa Barbara boat fire is going to trigger lawsuits against the boat owner and perhaps other parties as well. It is being reported that the boat owner, Truth Aquatics Inc. has filed a lawsuit to limit its liability. It is suing under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 which says the owner of a ship can limit damage claims to the value of the ship. They must show that the owners had no knowledge of potentially dangerous flaws. The law was used to protect White Star Line from huge lawsuits back in 1912. And apparently has been used since then as well and survived legal challenges that took it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Legal experts are stating it is not unexpected as they are trying to limit damage claims by the families of those who lost loved ones. Others criticize the decision as heartless. Since this occurred on water and involves maritime law, the legal action will take place in federal court which has jurisdiction on these matters. What is likely to occur will be confidential settlements between the company and the parties that sue for damages. While the lawyers for the parties seeking damages will talk publicly about trying to upend this law, in reality it will be more difficult then it first appears. And it will cost money if the parties seeking damages have to foot the bill for appealing it up if they lose at any stage of the process.

Source: Boat Owners In Deadly SoCal Fire Trying To Avoid Compensating Victims’ Families, Citing 168-Year-Old Law (SF First, 6 Sep 2019)

The News That Wasn’t:Titanic Decaying

This last week saw a lot of reporting in print and online about a recent dive to Titanic. These were the most up-to-date photos of the wreck. Commentators went agog describing how it was falling apart. Some blamed it on global warming. Some opined it should be brought up. Others had silly things to say as well. But a few pointed out this is exactly what is supposed to be happening so this is not a surprise.

Titanic sank in 1912 and has been resting in two parts on the bottom of the cold North Atlantic ever since. Until 1985, no one had a clue as to what it would look like. And people were stunned by what was revealed. It also confirmed that, as some reported back in 1912, the ship had broken in two. Another thing that was dashed was the concept of a long gash. Instead it was punctures caused by the iceberg that resulted in water entering the ship.

Scientists have noted over the years that Titanic was slowing but surely going to deteriorate. Photos from later expeditions confirmed this was well underway. A recent article in Forbes about this decay noted the following:

During the first visit to the wreck in 1985, scientists observed bacteria and fungi colonizing the rusty remains. One type of bacteria was an unknown species, appropriately named Halomonos titanicae in 2010. Oxidizing the iron parts, the microorganisms produce energy to sustain their metabolism. The waste products of the microbial metabolism is a thick layer of rust, covering the entire wreck, forming stalactites (called rusticles) along the hull.

Every day, the microorganisms consume almost 100 pounds of iron. The peculiar feeding mechanism causes quickly growing holes in the steel plates of the outer hull. The upper ship’s decks are made from thin steel plates, so these quickly decaying this part of the ship may collapse in a few years. The lower parts of the ship’s hull are made of thicker plates. They will likely decay over the next few decades. In the end, the weakened hull will collapse entirely and be buried by sediments, transported by underwater currents.

Other things had an impact. Now there is disagreement as why there are so many microorganisms on Titanic. Some say it is due to over fishing (which means those little microorganisms multiplied and sank to bottom and found Titanic delicious) while others argue it is actually what is supposed to be happening.

The fact that Titanic is decaying is not news but the news media throws it up like this could not or should not be happening. Except of course we know that it could not possibly stay the same. And eventually the wreck will slowly but steadily decrease in mass as the sea claims as much as it can. One day most of it will no longer by visible. Only bits and pieces will remain of the once great liner. Fortunately we have a library of photographs and artifacts along with exhibits that will keep the story alive long after the wreck is gone.