1.Remembering SS Canberra, The Last Hurrah Of A Golden Age (Brisbane Times, 6 Feb 2018) Almost 60 years ago, in March 1958, a massive ship rolled into the ocean from the same Belfast shipyard that had launched the Titanic. Dame Pattie Menzies travelled half the way round the world to smash champagne on the hull of the SS Canberra, one of the last hurrahs of the golden era before jet aircraft replaced ocean liners.That era is remembered at a new exhibition which opened last weekend at London’s Victoria and Albert museum – where the Canberra has been chosen to represent the end of an era.
2.Last Chance To See The Titanic?(Radio Canada International, 5 Feb 2018) The Canadian firm Sub C, has partnered with the U.S. operation, OceanGate Inc. in a venture to take a handful of people down to the wreck in a deepwater submersible. OceanGate’s “Cyclops 2” which can hold five people, is the only privately owned submersible capable of descending to the depth of the Titanic. It may be the last anyone will see of the iconic ship. Canadian scientists Henrietta Mann and Bhavleen Kaur at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in examining rust samples taken from the ship on earlier dives, had discovered a previously unknown iron eating bacteria since named “Halomonas titanicae”. In their study published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology in 2010, they estimated that the accelerated rusting and decomposition means the ship could simply crumble and basically disappear into a mere rusty stain on the ocean floor within a matter of years. In 2010 they gave the ship only another 15-20 to be recognisable.
London’s Victoria & Albert Museum will give visitors a taste of the golden age of luxury travel when its exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed & Style opens on Saturday. The show explores the history behind the 19th and 20th centuries’ most opulent cruise ships, starting with the steamship the SS Great Eastern of 1859 and including the SS Kronprinz Wilhelm, RMS Titanic and its sister ship, RMS Olympic, as well as RMS Queen Mary, SS Normandie, SS United States and the QE2. An earlier exhibition took place at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and has been reimagined for the V&A, incorporating more than 250 exhibits, some of which have never previously been seen in Europe. The story starts in the mid-19th century when ocean travel became a more appealing prospect for wealthy passengers rather than a dangerous voyage which could result in a watery grave.
Ocean Liners: Speed & Style is at London’s V&A from Saturday until June 17, then V&A Dundee from September 15 to February 24, 2019. For more information, see www.vam.ac.uk
2.‘Titanic’ Costume Exhibit Opens In February At Biltmore (27 Jan 2018, Sampson Independent) Quickly on the heels of the 20th anniversary of 1997’s blockbuster hit “Titanic,” Biltmore will launch a new exhibition, Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie. The exhibition offers dazzling attire worn by actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and many others from the film’s large cast. Staged throughout Biltmore House, the exhibition opens Feb. 9 and runs through May 13.
3.Titanic Recreation Virtually Incredible: Exhibition Re-Imagines Doomed Cruise Ship In Extraordinary Detail For VR Experience Of A Lifetime (13 Jan 2018, Daily Mail) More than three decades after the Titanic shipwreck was found at the bottom of the Atlantic, a new virtual reality experience takes users below the water’s surface to explore the site. Titanic the Exhibition allows history buffs to wander the reconstructed replicas of the bedrooms and hallways of the British liner and now includes the spectacular technology giving viewers the opportunity to journey through the wreckage. Stunning graphics made possible by front line innovation takes audiences into the shipwreck through a virtual dive vessel to the depths of the freezing waters.
1. Titanic Foundation Launches Tourism Development Plan(31 Jan 2018, Museums Association)
Titanic Foundation, the charity set up in 2007 to preserve and promote Belfast and Northern Ireland’s maritime and industrial heritage, has unveiled plans to further develop the Titanic Quarter’s tourism offer. The Titanic Quarter Destination Plan identifies 12 projects under three core themes – connectivity, visitors and heritage. Projects include the creation of an “outdoor museum”, the development of a Maritime Mile to link the waterfront from Donegall Quay to the tip of Queen’s Island, and the continued preservation and restoration of the area’s heritage assets.
2.Davenport Hotel Recreating Original Titanic Menu(26 Jan 2018, KXLY) Chef Adam Swedberg and his team have selected five of the original 10 courses served aboard the Titanic. Guests will be allowed to sample and taste original recipes in a historic setting similar to what First Class passengers aboard the Titanic experienced. No reservations are required to enjoy this unique meal. The Palm Grill opens daily at 5 p.m. and closes at midnight. The 5-course dinner costs $50 per person and wine pairings with the meal are at an additional cost.
3. Tickets for Dive to Titanic Wreck Are Up for Grabs — if you have $130K to spare (21 Jan 2018, Toronto Star) Their $130,000 seats were priced at the inflation-adjusted cost of a first-class ticket for Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage, and help fund the company’s research. Each participant gets flown out for seven days on the chartered research vessel and at least one dive to the wreck site on a five-person sub lasting six to nine hours. “We have some folks who are mountain climbers, we have others who’ve been to the South Pole,” Rush said.
“One guy, I think he snowshoed to the North Pole. It’s a varied group, but I think the unifying characteristic is they’re adventurous.”
4. Divers Believe They’ve Found Famed Luxury Ship That Sank In 1838 Off N.C. Coast (19 Jan 2018, Courier Tribune) A luxury steamship that went to the bottom of the Atlantic in 1838 with half its affluent passengers may have been found 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The disappearance of the Pulaski remains one of the nation’s most dramatic and deadly maritime disasters, partly because half of the people on board died, but also because its passengers included some of the most prominent families in the southeast. Among those lost was New York Congressman William B. Rochester and six members of the Lamar family, then among the richest families in the southeast. The ship was bound for Baltimore from Savannah when it exploded around 11 p.m. on June 13, 1838. One hundred of the roughly 200 people on board died, including many who were scalded to death by steam. Newspaper accounts tell dramatic stories of “panicky passengers in their night clothes, seeking refuge on the promenade deck as the bow rose out of the water and ripped apart.”
A handwritten note written by a first class passenger is up for auction at Henry Aldridge & Son reports The News. The note was recovered from the body of Titanic first class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson.
“It is oversized, hand written on Titanic letterhead by a victim just a day before the ship hit the iceberg, mentions the food, the music and the elite on board, contains an ominous message with regards to the fate of the ship, was carried by its author into the Atlantic and, thence, on to the body recovery ship and shows evidence of its submersion in salt water.”
The note is expected to fetch £80,000 ($106,050 USD) when it comes up for auction on 21 October.
1. Robert Ballard, part of the team that discovered Titanic, recently gave a lecture at Jacksonville University. Addressing 150 marine biology students he noted that he was inspired by the fictional Captain Nemo. While Titanic made him famous, he noted:
“I have done 150 expeditions and when I look back on what were the most important ones, it was not finding the Titanic,” Ballard said. “It was finding amazing systems in our ocean that we did not know were there; going to look for ‘A’ and finding something more important.”
2. When noted scientists get involved in silly controversies over fictional movies, I usually shake my head. On the other hand Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out a major plot hole over Jack Dawson’s demise.
“Whether or not he could’ve been successful, I would’ve tried more than once. You try once. ‘Oh, this is not gonna work. I will just freeze to death in the water.’ No, excuse me. No!
Unlike the Australian tycoon who could not even put a rivet to his dream of a Titanic replica, the Chinese are half done on their own version reports the UK Daily Mail.
The construction of a full-size replica of the Titanic in China is now half complete. Builders are said to be working around the clock on the £105 million tourist attraction in order to finish the project by the end of the year. Six out of the nine decks of the ship are said to have been built.
The copy of the luxurious passenger ship, which sank in 1912 killing 1,500 people, will be a part of a grand theme park in Sichuan, south-west China, and will be painstakingly reproduced.
According to press reports and interviews, the ship will be an exact replica but docked permanently as part of the Romandisea Seven Star International Cultural Tourism Resort. And it will also offer people the opportunity to stay aboard and experience what it was like back in 1912. Scrapped from the original plan was the idea of a sinking simulator. It was dropped after it got severely criticized by Titanic groups and descendants of Titanic survivors.
The ship is scheduled to be completed this and open in 2019.
No word if Clive Palmer plans to attend its grand opening.
The bankruptcy proceedings of Premier Exhibitions have been lumbering on for a while with not much to report on. But on 17 August a major decision was made. Premier decided to put up for sale a certain set of artifacts known collectively as the French Artifacts. These artifacts were brought up as part of a joint project but were excluded from the salvage award currently in place as they were property of the French government.
Premier filed to put these up for sale. Papers were served on French Embassy notifying them of the claim and their right to challenge it in court. Well they did not do so. As a result a default judgment has been entered against them with a finding that France had no interest in the French Artifacts. After some formal paperwork is done, the next step will be to come up with a satisfactory method of auctioning them off so that debts can be retired and creditors paid.
The artifacts covered under the current salvage award are unaffected by this decision.
Summer tends to be a slow for Titanic news so I generally do not post as often as many people are away on summer break. Here is some recent Titanic news of interest to Titanic enthusiasts and others.
1. Lego model of Titanic built with 125,000 pieces on display in Cavendish (CBC News, 24 June 2017)
There have been some fantastic recreations of Titanic using Lego. And here is one that most definitely took a lot of work and love to do. “The Lego Titanic model is made up of about 125,000 pieces and measures about nine metres long, said the Maritime Fun Group’s Jessica Caseley. t’s quite large. So, when you go up to it, it just looks like a large boat. You start to notice all of the details. You could probably spend 10 to 20 minutes just examining the structure itself. Yeah, it’s really neat,” she said.
2. Margaret Brown led a remarkable life even apart from surviving the Titanic (A.V.Club, 18 June 2017) Mrs. Brown dove into high society, becoming a devotee of the arts and learning four languages. She raised funds for a cathedral in Denver, and helped establish the country’s first juvenile court. Two years after the Titanic, Brown ran for the U.S. Senate, but cut her campaign short to volunteer to help France recover from the first World War. She used her Titanic fame to work for workers’ rights, women’s rights, education, and historic preservation, before dying of a brain tumor at age 65.
3. Masabumi Hosono survived the Titanic, but not the public’s scorn (A.V. Club, 25 June 2017) Initially, Hosono was celebrated alongside other survivors. An American newspaper ran a story on the “Lucky Japanese Boy.” (As Hosono was 41, “Boy” seems to be racism typical of the era.) But he was soon condemned both in America and at home for not honoring the ethos of “women and children first.” A best-selling book about Titanic survivors described him as a “stowaway” on the lifeboat, and the seaman in charge of the lifeboat told the U.S. Senate he must have disguised himself as a woman to sneak on board. Neither account was true—by his own account, Hosono saw other lifeboats depart and mentally prepared himself for death. But as lifeboat 10 was loading up, someone shouted “room for two more!” and Hosono followed another man on board. It’s hard to imagine anyone else would have acted differently in the same situation.
4. Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Update
Premier filed its monthly operating report for May 2017. According to the filing “The Debtors have entered a Plan Support Agreement under which they have agreed to propose a Chapter 11 reorganization plan which the Equity Committee supports. Under the Plan Support Agreement, the Debtors and the Equity Committee are engaged in a marketing process to sell all of the Debtors’ assets, including the entire Titanic Artifacts Collection either as assets of the estate or through the sale of RMS Titanic Inc., the company that holds the Titanic Artifacts. The remaining Debtors and their assets likewise would be sold. The deadline for receipt of initial letters of intent is currently scheduled for July 21, 2017.” Further information can be found at the following links:
June 23, 2017
Premier Exhibitions 8-K: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/796764/000117184317003792/f8k_062317.htm
1. A Harland & Wolff minute book that has information about RMS Titanic is coming up for auction on 20 June 2017. According to the Belfast Telegraph, this minute book contains information between 1905-1918 that chronicles the day-to-day business of the shipyard. Reference to Titanic is contained within its pages such as the balance sheet for 1910-1911 showing that Titanic was a work in progress. It is valued between £400-£600. Remarkably a teapot used that was used on Herman Goerings private dining car is valued between £2,500-£3,500.
Source: Titanic records, Ulster Covenant and Nazi Goering’s teapot at Belfast auction (Belfast Telegraph, 13 June 2017)
2. This is not new news but adds more information. As previously reported, a Washington State based startup company plans to dive to Titanic in 2018. Unlike previous tourist dives, the participants are part of the expedition and must pass physicals. It will also cost over $100,000 (the actual fee is today’s equivalent of first class on Titanic).
Source: Washington submarine firm to take people to the Titanic (Las Vegas Review Journal, 14 June 2017)
3. Rare liquors have their own following and very high prices. Consider one called Marie Brizard Danzig,a liqueur that was served on Titanic in 1912. Louis Renualt, the founder of Renault cars, found out that it was served aboard the famous ship and tracked down this rare liqueur and put into his personal collection. Now what makes this such a rare find is that this liqueur contains gold shards (22-23 carat) and was created by a Dutchman in the 16th century. Michel-Jack Chasseuil, a private collector, purchased this rare bottle from Renault’s descendants and it will be on display at VinExpo Bordeaux 18-21 June 2017. You can somewhat share in the experience if you buy Danzig Goldwasser, which has a 22-carat gold leaf. Source: French liqueur brand Marie Brizard is set to unveil an “exceptionally rare” liqueur once served on board the doomed RMS Titanic at this year’s Vinexpo in Bordeaux (The Spirits Business, 16 June 2017)
To close off this Sunday post is great song from Boz Scaggs. Enjoy.
3. Titanic Belfast Celebrates Record-Breaking Year (Hospitality Ireland,11 May 2017) Titanic Belfast’s chief executive, Tim Husbands, stated that “2016/17 was a really strong year. Not only did we have our busiest day ever in August 2016, with an increase in numbers from key markets including Britain, USA, China, France, Germany and Australia, but we were also crowned World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards.”More than 82% of those who visited the attraction in 2016 were from outside Northern Ireland, with over 40% of all visitors asserting that Titanic Belfast represented the sole reason for their journey to Northern Ireland.