Tag Archives: Halifax

Empress Of Ireland Exhibit Opens In Halifax

 RMS Empress of Ireland 1908 Photo:Public Domain (Library and Archives Canada / PA-116389)
RMS Empress of Ireland 1908
Photo:Public Domain (Library and Archives Canada / PA-116389)

An exhibit honoring the Empress of Ireland opened this week in Halifax and will run for the year. “The exhibit includes historical documents, eyewitness accounts and 81 artifacts from the liner. One of those artifacts is a pair of pajamas worn by passenger John Langley, who survived the sinking in remarkable fashion,”reports CBC News.

Further information at Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Source:Empress of Ireland ship sinking exhibit opens at Pier 21(CBC News,24 Nov 2015)

Friday Musings

Hobbies are great things to have. They help us from being bored and sitting around the television or the computer all day. Traditional ones like stamp or coin collecting sometimes lead to bigger things. Or in the case of John Siggins of the UK to turn a shed into a replica of Titanic’s dining room. Siggins, who works as as railroad engineer, has been working on this project for many years. It began when he got a blanket once owned by a Titanic survivor given when boarding Carpathia. That started him acquiring items from Titanic’s sister ship Olympic. And then slowly converting his shed into a dining room and cabin. He has been doing this for 25 years. Done by hand, he has put up wood panels, chairs, and collected dining sets to make it look authentic. “It’s history. I buy it all because it’s close to my heart. And this is how I want to see it.” And from the picture in the news article, well worth the effort.

Mike Arkus writing in the Huffington Post details a recent visit to Halifax. Halifax has a rich maritime history and of course connected deeply to the Cunard line (Samuel Cunard was born there). His article jabs at the touristy nature of Halifax but does have lots of interesting places to visit. Of course visiting Fairview Cemetery is where many Titanic victims are buried. And the once unknown child now has a name: Sidney Leslie Goodwin.

When you own stocks like Premier Exhibitions (NASDAQ:PRXI), it does not take much to send the stock down. Latest news was not great so the stock tumbled to 73 cents. A year ago it was $1.69. But declining revenues and uncertainty about when the Titanic collection will ever be sold has done its work. Today it actually bounced up to 76 cents before settling back down to closing at 74 cents. I hope no one put their pension money in this stock.

We are under water restrictions here and just about everywhere in California. More dire if you live on Catalina Island, where water is really precious. They have a small desalinization plant that provides only a small fraction of their needs, which comes from two reservoirs that are now looking quite grim. Tourists flock to the island but now restaurants and hotels have to tell customers not to take long showers. Ask for water with your meal and it comes bottled. To conserve water many places are using plastic ware for everyday eating. And hotels now have to start sending laundry to the mainland, which is not cheap.

Lawns are looking bleak these days except if it is a city park or owned by government. Most people have to cut back watering to one or two days a week. Neighbors are being asked to snitch on neighbors who are watering too much. Being green is not so good these days and a green lawn brings attention. Unless it is artificial which some in my area have chosen to do. Quite a lot have simply taken out the greenery and replaced them with rock gardens, wood chips, or drought resistant plants. And a byproduct of this drought is that many areas look more dirtier than usual. Sidewalks in front of homes are not being washed off as before. The city still does power washing certain areas like the downtown area (they and all cities got an exemption from the water restrictions). BART still power washes on Saturday mornings around the San Bruno station.

To close out this Friday Musings, here is a music video from Susanna Hoffs off her November Sun album. Fans of Hoffs will be surprised at how good she looks. Sorry guys, but she has been married to Jay Roach since 1993 and has two boys. The other lady in the video is also the lovely and talented Rosanna Arquette. Have a nice Friday everyone.


Titanic 102nd Anniversary News

Each year it is always interesting to see what Titanic news is generated on the anniversary of Titanic’s sinking. As usual we have the memorials. And usually we get at least one story of someone claiming a new take on Titanic. This year it was researchers at Sheffield University who proclaimed that 1912 was not so bad a year after all for icebergs. I guess when you have run out of things to say (which seems impossible considering Titanic), your left debunking whether or not the icebergs of 1912 were really unusual or not. Missing so far, but it still early, is some conspiracy theory. I was at least hoping someone would make a Bermuda Triangle link of some kind or that it had something to do with the lost continent of Atlantis.  Bigfoot has yet to make an appearance and of course Nessie (Loch Ness monster) could also be made part of Titanic lore.

Before the news roundup begins, the Titanic community recently lost Ed Kamuda. Ed was one of the founders of Titanic Historical Society back in 1963. He was drawn to Titanic forever after he saw the 1954 movie Titanic starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck. He began corresponding with Titanic survivors and getting them to share their recollections of what happened aboard Titanic that night. The organization attracted other Titanic enthusiasts and researchers and began publishing its own magazine, the Commutator. And he Ed got to know Dr Robert Ballard, who in 1985 helped discover the wreck. He was a vocal opponent of salvage and joined with Ballard and others trying to preserve the wreck as a grave. Perhaps the greatest adventure was being asked, along with others from the society, to consult with James Cameron on his Titanic film. He and his wife were cast as extras in that movie. Ed considered a dream come true to walk on the decks of the ship created for the movie. He was 74 when he passed away last Sunday after suffering a long illness. He will be missed by the Titanic community and he has made a lasting impact inspiring many to learn the Titanic story. Although he would have been too humble to ever admit it, it was because of organizations like Titanic Historical Society that kept Titanic alive and now more well known then ever. RIP.

Canada
Remembering the Titanic in Midland(16 April 2014,News Barrie)
Conroy is the Captain of the S.S. Keewatin and says the ship has played an important role in opening up northern Ontario and connecting eastern Canada to the prairies. In addition to raising money for the Keewatin, part of Tuesday’s event is to welcome an exact replica of the Titanic – a model ship that took 30 years to build and will now become the centerpiece of a new museum aboard the S.S. Keewatin. “When people come to the museum they can get a feel for maritime history through all these model ships,” adds Conroy. There will be about 110 model ships in the museum, all donated by people from across the country. The S.S. Keewatin opens for the season on May 10th and all of the proceeds raised from Tuesday night’s dinner will go towards repairing and restoring the old steam ship.

Tale Of Halifax Titanic Survivor Told Through Song(14 April 2014,Truro Daily News)
That was all she needed to narrate the sinking of the Titanic as lived by Hilda Mary Slayter.Peppard’s performance Living Titanic was part of an event put on by the Titanic Society of the Atlantic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in downtown Halifax to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the luxury liner’s sinking. Born and buried in Halifax, Slayter was the only Atlantic Canadian survivor aboard the ship that went down April 15, 1912.Peppard, a musical oral historian focusing on women’s truth, discovered Slayter’s story and decided to make history come alive. She brought the performance to Colchester County back in the summer of 2012. She blended her training as an artist with her research skills to create the musical. Slayter’s family gave Peppard access to Slayter’s journals, allowing her to narrate the performance in Slayter’s own words.

UK/Northern Ireland
Titanic Hotel Liverpool To Open In June At Stanley Dock(17 April 2014,Liverpool Echo)
Confirmation that the much-anticipated Stanley Dock hotel will open in the summer has been welcomed by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson – but fellow hotel-owners remain wary. The 153-room site has faced criticism from local businesses for its chosen name, The Titanic Hotel, which bears obvious similarity to the rival 30 James Street – The Home of the Titanic. That city-centre Signature Living hotel, which opened recently, has claimed Stanley Dock’s choice of name will confuse visitors. Lawrence Kenwright, owner of the Home of the Titanic, said: “We have no links to this other venture. “I’m concerned that people arriving in the city will confuse the two hotels, and in the end that could be bad for business for both.” Stanley Dock development director Pat Power said the name Titanic Hotel Liverpool “cements” the project’s link to the Titanic Visitor Centre in Belfast and other themed hotel’s to be opened across the UK.

For information about the 30 James Street hotel (formerly known as Albion House where White Star Line had its offices), go to http://www.rmstitanichotel.co.uk/

Titanic Disaster Dead Remembered(15 April 2014,Belfast Telegraph)
Each year on the day of the April 1912 tragedy, a solemn ceremony is held at the memorial garden where all 1,512 victims are listed on bronze plaques. As well as relatives of Irish victims, relations of a number of international passengers who died travelled to today’s event in Belfast. President of the Belfast Titanic Society John Martin, whose great uncle Dr John Edward Simpson – one of the liner’s two doctors – died on board, said many people retained an interest in the ship. “Some with a direct family connection to people on board, some who were perhaps related to people who built the ship and then there are others who are more interested in why she sank and all the disaster management type of aspect of the story, so it’s important for a lot of people,” he said.

United States
Titanic Remembered On 102nd Anniversary, Echoes Some Of The Deadliest Maritime Disasters In The Last Century(17 April 2014,Tech Times)
As the ill-fated ocean liner Titanic is remembered on the 102nd anniversary of its sinking, it’s worth looking back through history and understanding how notable maritime disasters have long plagued us. While the scale of the Titanic disaster should not be discounted — more than 1,500 lives were lost when the “unsinkable” liner hit an iceberg and sank into the cold Atlantic waters — it has been dwarfed by some other sinkings, even in the 20th century. For the acknowledged deadliest ship sinking in history, you have to look at World War II, when around 9,000 people died in the torpedoing and sinking of a German ocean liner, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Tasked with evacuating both German military forces and civilians as Soviet forces moved toward East Prussia in the waning days of the war in 1945, it ran afoul of a Russian submarine on January 30 and was sent to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Coast Guard Reflects On Titanic Anniversary(16 April 2016,DVIDS)
During the annual ceremony, Coast Guard Cmdr. Keith Shuley, chaplain of the Coast Guard Academy, dedicated floral arrangements in remembrance of the more than 1,500 passengers who died. Every year, the IIP conducts a ceremony to remember the passengers and crew who lost their lives as a result of the Titanic sinking.  A special moment of silence was held to honor Edward Kamuda, president and founder of the Titanic Historical Society, who died April 13, 2014.

Titanic 102nd Anniversary: A Look At How Safety Features In Ocean Liners Have Developed Over The Last Century(16 April 2014,Tech Times)
The Titanic sank 102 years ago, on 16 April 1912, killing more than 1,500 people, becoming one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history.  The “unsinkable Titanic” was plagued by several design flaws that led to revolutions in ocean liner safety.  Over 2,200 people were on-board the Titanic when the largest ship of the day set out on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Late on the night of 14 April, the ship famously hit an iceberg, creating a gash cross the bow of the craft. The mighty ocean-going vessel began taking on water, as passengers scrambled for life rafts.  White Star Line, the company that operated the ship, decided only 20 lifeboats would be carried on the craft, enough for just 38 percent of the full capacity of the Titanic. Legally, the company was only required to carry just 16 of the life-saving devices.  The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, passed in 1914 in the wake of the Titanic disaster, requires all passenger ships to carry enough lifeboats for all passengers. Mandatory lifeboat drills of all passengers aboard ships is also required due to the Titanic tragedy.

Remembering The Victims From Ireland’s ‘Titanic Village’ At Absecon Event(15 April 2014,Press of Atlantic City)
Jim Curley has a small family link to the Titanic – his uncle married the niece of one of the 1,500-plus victims of the “unsinkable” ocean liner that didn’t survive its first Atlantic Ocean crossing. Curley’s distant relation by marriage, Mary Mangan, was one of 14 young people from the same area of Ireland who sailed on that doomed trip; 11 of those natives of “Ireland’s Titanic village” died when the ship rammed an iceberg and quickly sank 102 years ago today. But Curley, who lives in Long Beach Island’s nautical-sounding town of Ship Bottom, knows that millions of people with no personal ties to the disaster still have an enduring fascination with history’s most famous shipwreck. So when he gives a talk about the Irish connection to the Titanic – as he will tonight in Absecon, at a meeting of South Jersey’s Irish American Cultural Society – Curley can draw a crowd.

Local History: Titanic Survivor Died Mysteriously In Akron On Second Anniversary Of Disaster(13 April 2014,Akron Beacon Journal)
Fate caught up with Elizabeth Hocking as she stepped off a curb in Akron. Exactly two years after surviving the sinking of the Titanic, she met her destiny. A streetcar conductor flagged down two pedestrians at about 6 p.m. after seeing a woman sprawled on East Market Street in front of Akron City Hospital. The men were surgeons, Dr. Charles E. Norris and Dr. Charles W. Millikin, who carried the woman into the hospital. “When discovered, the woman was lying on what is known as the ‘devil strip,’ the space between the car tracks,” the Akron Evening Times reported April 15, 1914. “The only wound on her body was a deep cut on the back of the head. She was unconscious and never regained sufficiently to talk before the end came early this morning.” Police initially thought she was a mugging victim. Officers identified her after finding a water bill in her pocket. Eliza Hocking, 54, a widow who lived at 195 Gale St. on West Hill, was the matriarch of an English family who had sought a better life in the United States. They packed up their belongings in Penzance, Cornwall, and booked second-class passage in Southampton aboard the Titanic on April 10, 1912.

Sunday Titanic Newswrap

1. The Belfast Telegraph reports that the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff has secured funding from Heritage Lottery Fund. The former drawing offices will made open for public use while the majority of the structure will become a Titanic-themed hotel. According to Telegraph: “In the old Harland and Wolff building the most historically important rooms such as the drawing offices, board room, telephony room and entrance lobby will be developed as spaces for public use, telling the story of Belfast’s industrial heritage. Nicky Dunn, chairwoman of Titanic Foundation Limited, which is behind the project, welcomed the investment in what she described as a national icon.”
Source: Titanic Offices To Be Re-Opened(11 Oct 2013,Belfast Telegraph)

2. CBC News reports that Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia is going to refurbish the monuments and headstones and pathway of the historic cemetery where many Titanic victims were laid to rest. Work is scheduled to begin in Spring 2014.
Source: Titanic Graves To Get Needed Facelift In Halifax Cemetery(11 Oct 2013,CBC News)

3. Possible Titanic Lifeboat? Turley McShane recently acquired an old lifeboat that had been resting in a hedgerow for years and thinks it might be from Titanic. “When he travelled across the Irish Sea to have a look at it, he found the boat had been languishing in a hedgerow. It had been bought in Liverpool where effects off all the White Star Line ships were disposed of” reports Belfast Telegraph. [Editors note-If I recall correctly, the lifeboats were all repainted with new names so and no one knows the final disposition of them. It will be easier to prove it was a White Star lifeboat but harder to prove it was aboard Titanic.]
Source: White Star Lifeboat Rescued From Hedge(11 Oct 2013,Belfast Telegraph)


Memorial Plaque For Titanic Recovery

Perhaps forgotten in the Titanic story are those that went out to recover Titanic’s dead.

Peter Parsons/Herald News
Peter Parsons/Herald News

Two cable ships out of Halifax–Mackay-Bennett and Minia–brought back most of the bodies. Four bodies were recovered in May 1912 by Montmagny, a government tender from Quebec. The last body was found by the cargo ship Algerine out of St. John’s Newfoundland. On Friday, a plaque remembering those from Halifax (called Halligonians) who went out to collect the bodies was unveiled at Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

Retrieving the bodies was important and also haunting, reports The Chronicle Herald. Pat Teasdale’s grandfather Francis Dyke was second electrician on Minia and wrote to his mother about it. “I honestly hope I shall never have to come on another expedition like this. … The Dr. and I are sleeping in the middle of 14 coffins.”  Yet he was glad they could retrieve the bodies and not leave them in the water. 150 victims are buried in Halifax in Fairview Lawn, Baron de Hirsch, and Mount Olivet Cemeteries.

The plaque has no permanent home yet but for now you can view it at Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Source: Plaque Honours Titanic Recovery Efforts(26 April 2013, TheChronicleHerald.ca)

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Palmer: Forget The Dinners, Breakfast Instead

Clive Palmer decided recently not to hold Titanic dinners out of respect for Hurricane Sandy victims. It will be breakfast, instead, in Halifax on 7 Dec 2012. Here is the blurb from the Chronicle Herald about it:

Clive Palmer, the outrageous Australian billionaire who is building a 21st-century version of the Titanic, is bringing his international road show to Halifax. Word of the visit Thursday from Palmer’s public relations firm in Australia is the first hint a Nova Scotia stop will be on the itinerary when the huge ship goes into service. “To honour the history of Titanic and recognize Halifax’s very special relationship and role with the grand ship, a Titanic Breakfast will be held at the Lord Nelson Hotel,” said a news release. The Halifax breakfast event is scheduled for Dec. 7. Palmer is to provide details of the Titanic II project afterwards. The release notes Palmer will host a series of Titanic culinary breakfasts and dinners around the world during November and December to promote the project.

I guess the victims of Hurricane Sandy no longer matter. Instead of big dinners it is now big breakfasts, presumably Edwardian style.

Source:The Chronicle Herald,Billionaire Building Titanic II Heads To Halifax For Breakfast PR Event,9 Nov 2012


Ghostly Halifax

The Guelph Mercury  reports that those seeking ghosts in Halifax will not be disappointed. A restaurant that once was a mortuary and served some of Titanic’s victims and those of the 1917 Halifax Explosion, is haunted. The restaurant owner claims cutlery has been moved, disembodied voices are heard, and shadowy figures seen. There is even a report that ghosts texted the word death.

A ghostly silhouette is sometimes seen at an upper window at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, a brewery is haunted by its old brewmaster, a fiery ghost ship is claimed to have been seen was well.

I like a good ghost story but generally find more mundane explanations for hauntings. It has become a business of sorts in many places to offer tours and stay in places where ghosts are supposed to roam. Even the local Titanic exhibit is not immune. There are claims people “sense” Titanic victims when they are visiting the museum. Stories of sightings are sometimes just that, stories written down long ago and then passed down. Suspected cases of poltergeist activity are often solved by hidden cameras that show items being moved by people.

So go visit Halifax but not for the ghosts.  And have a good time!

Source: Guelph Mercury, Ghostly Halifax, 21 Aug 2011

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