Tag Archives: Titanic Belfast

Farewell, 2014

640px-Pendleton_Sinking_Ship2014 was going to a be a big year for Titanic II. Clive Palmer wanted to bring back the glamor that was Titanic with a new ship based on the original design. He hired experts to do planning and testing. He set up a company called Blue Star Line that would be the new ship’s owner. And he made contact with a shipyard in China in the hopes it would be built there. And things seemed to hum along but things started going amiss along the way. The shipyard said no formal contract had been signed and even doubted they could do the job. Palmer started looking for investors in China to help shoulder the enormous construction cost. People in the cruise industry weighed in and wondered if such a ship could make money today. China began construction on its own Titanic, one that will be part of a theme park and designed to shake and rattle in the way the ship did during that fateful night when it sank. Clive Palmer got into a row with the Chinese over some business dealings. Unpleasant words were spoken and legal action began over royalties he claimed a Chinese company owed him. Despite assurances that ship construction would start late in 2014, nothing happened. And so it appears, unless things change, that Titanic II is kaput. If it gets resurrected, it likely will not be built in China. Perhaps an oil rich state in the Middle East?

Robert Ballard has moved on from Mystic Aquarium. His long term association with them has come to an end. Ballard decided to focus his energies on other projects. Mystic Aquarium has decided to open up a space by closing its Titanic exhibit which featured Ballard.

The Titanic Historical Society lost Ed Kamuda this year. A founder of that group and one of those who kept alive memory of the disaster. He lived to see Titanic get more widely known, its wreck found, and having annual get togethers with survivors and enthused amateurs. He and his wife Karen even got parts in Cameron’s Titanic as part of the many people walking on deck. His stance against salvage made him unpopular with some but no one ever said he did not like Titanic. He will be missed. RIP.

Titanic Belfast continues to grow strong. Visitors keep coming and recently exceeded 2 million. Quite a feat. Belfast, which had kind of downplayed Titanic, now embraces it. A whole commercial area called Titanic Quarter is getting shops, people, and businesses to live, work, and shop there. Aside from one snide comment from a television personality, most in Belfast seem happy with the tourism and new business.

Not one but two Titanic hotels are now in Liverpool. One is at the old White Star offices (Albion House) and the other at Stanley Dock.

The Silver Cup given to Captain Rostron of Carpathia was auctioned off  by his descendents.

A rare British Pathe film with Titanic footage and interviews was found quite by accident. A lucky one since it now has become a valuable part of Titanic history.

Titanic still gets used as a cliché for politicians, pundits, and news analysts. But it was Arianna Huffington who gets the top prize for using Emperor Nero, the burning of Rome, and Titanic all in one mashed up sentence. When you mix idioms and cliches together, no good ever comes of it.

Non-Titanic

Over at Undercover Boss, the owner of Bikinis Bar and Grill (a place I never heard of till I saw the episode), has gotten into some hot water over what happened during the reveal part of the show (where he reveals he is the boss). Now this guy, Doug Culler, is unabashed about what his restaurant chain is all about: breasts (and not chicken). At his place, women wear bikini tops, denim shorts, and cowboy boots. One gal decided not to wear her top for the camera, a major no-no for him. More serious is that she kept serving alcohol to a guy who was intoxicated. And where was the manager? Oh he eventually showed up to cut him off and safely home (strict liability these days means businesses can be held responsible if someone who gets intoxicated on your premises and causes damage or injury). The gal also said she was looking for other jobs. So at the reveal Doug canned her–in front of millions of viewers. While firing her may have been right, it ought not to have been done that way. And it might come back to haunt him. Trust me some attorney out there is going to make hay about it and perhaps a lawsuit. To make it more tacky, he offered another gal a boob job if she did her job well for the next couple of months. Sleazy? You bet it was. And it fired up lots of angry tweets as well. Congratulations Guller! You wanted attention and you got it. Considering that business has been mixed of late, this might turn off a lot more potential customers.

MasterChef Junior season 2 has ended with Logan, the bow-tied wonder winning it all. Congrats Logan! Now we are getting ready for season 3 on January 6. Not much of a break between seasons so the producers are wanting to strike hard and fast. But maybe they know something we do not: that the clock is ticking on this show so they want to maximize as much ratings and earnings potential as they can. They are up against both NCIS on CBS and it only loses ratings when in reruns. And it will be starting back up on the same night and time as Masterchef Junior. So which do you watch live or record? Kids making fancy dishes or an action series? If the previous numbers are an indication, NCIS will get more live eyeballs.

I like the movie The Santa Clause. I watched The Santa Clause 2 and about the only good thing about it are the home scenes and Elizabeth Mitchell. It was a really stunningly dumb idea to come up with a robot Santa. The elves are not little kids (most are older than Santa) and could easily understand why Santa had to be away for a while. So you have the ridiculous idea of a real bad Santa-one that reminds you of those leaders of an impoverished nation who wear spectacular military outfits to show who the boss is. In first movie Bernard could just materialize when he needed to visit Allen’s character back home. Which means he ought to have been able to quickly to do the same in this movie. Nope. Instead Curtis has to fly down (literally) using the jet pack from The Rocketeer to tell Santa what the bad Santa was up to. It gets worse so I will stop here. Stick with the original and skip part 2 and do not get me started on part 3. Yikes, now that is a really bad mess there and no amount of talent will save it.

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Titanic Belfast: 2 Million Visitors

Titanic Belfast (side view) Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)
Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

When Michael Sweeney walked through the door, the 25-year-old found out he was visitor 2 million. He is quoted as saying “I feel like the king of the world!” This milestone is being celebrated as proof of the enduring attraction of Titanic Belfast. Titanic Belfast CEO Tim Husbands said:

It seems like only yesterday that Titanic Belfast opened and helped turn the city into a major player in the global tourism market. We are three months short of our third birthday and already we are celebrating our two-millionth visitor. This is a tremendous achievement.

That snark who recently maligned Belfast by saying the iceberg did them a favor is probably choking on his shepherd’s pie right about now.

Source:Titanic Belfast Reaches 2 Million Visitors(22 Dec 2014,Belfast Telegraph)



Titanic News:Titanic Belfast Up For Awards and a Human Rights Group Wants Premier Exhibitions Investigated

Mao Zedong announcing the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1 1949. Photo: Public Domain
Photo: Public Domain

1. A Toronto-based human rights group has requested a police and coroner’s investigation once the Bodies Revealed exhibition closes on 1 Oct. A disclaimer on the website is what led them to make the charge. That disclaimer can be found here and says:

This exhibit displays human remains of Chinese citizens or residents which were originally received by the Chinese Bureau of Police. The Chinese Bureau of Police may receive bodies from Chinese prisons. Premier cannot independently verify that the human remains you are viewing are not those of persons who were incarcerated in Chinese prisons.

This exhibit displays full body cadavers as well as human body parts, organs, fetuses and embryos that come from cadavers of Chinese citizens or residents. With respect to the human parts, organs, fetuses and embryos you are viewing, Premier relies solely on the representations of its Chinese partners and cannot independently verify that they do not belong to persons executed while incarcerated in Chinese prisons.

Which is to say, we have really no idea whether these remains are what they are represented to be. So we are going to trust an authoritarian regime in Beijing which has a long history of repressing dissidents and mass murder? Really? It would be like in the old days accepting bodies from the Soviet Union and taking their word they were not executed for crimes against the state rather than dying of natural causes.

Linus Hand, director of sales and marketing at Niagara Falls Bodies Revealed exhibit says it refers to a different exhibit. He might be right. The exhibitions listed do not include one for Canada so it is possible that none of the bodies at the Canada exhibition require such a disclaimer. Still it is very discomforting that the American ones have bodies from China. Trying to wiggle out of moral responsibility here cuts no slack from me. Imagine the outrage if they used remains from German concentration camps run by Hitler’s regime in their Bodies Exhibition. It would make front page news as they got denounced by everyone. But from China, not much of a protest.
Source:Human Rights Group Wants Body Exhibit In Niagara Falls Investigated(5 Sep 2014,Sun News)

Titanic Belfast (side view) Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)
Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

2. The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that Titanic Belfast is up for the Best UK Leisure Attraction Award and Giant’s Causeway is on the list for Best Heritage Attraction. The public is allowed to vote for their favorites at www.britishtravelawards.com.
Source:Titanic Belfast And Giant’s Causeway Are Up For Awards(4 Sep 2014,Belfast Telegraph)


Monday Odds & Ends

1. MLB TV has had problems this season. Due to technical problems caused by a third party, watching on Roku has become a guessing game. Will the home or away feed be the one not working right, both, or should one just listen to the game instead? MLB is promising to fix the problem.

2. A Titanic exhibition in Estonia that recently ended broke attendance records for the museum. The Baltic Course reports that 220,000 people visited the “Titanic: story, findings, legends” exhibition that ran from November 2013 to March 2014. “Such a high visitors’ number at our museum landscape is undoubtedly extraordinary and exceeding or even repeating that would be rather complicated. The number of guests of the Titanic exhibition is proof and acknowledgement that we have offered to the public a world class museum experience,” said Maritime Museum director Urmas Dresen.
Source:Titanic Exhibition Breaks Estonian Museum Visitation Record(2 April 2014,The Baltic Course)

3. A letter written by the mother of Titanic survivor Eva Hart will be auctioned off next month reports the BBC. The letter is written on Titanic stationery was addressed to her mother in Chadwell Heath, England. The letter was found inside her husband’s jacket after they were rescued. Henry Aldridge & Son are the auctioneers for the letter and is perhaps the only one of its type to have survived.
Source: Titanic Last Letter To Be Auctioned(1 April 2014,BBC)

Titanic Belfast (side view) Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)
Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

4. Since opening two years ago, the Titanic Belfast Visitors Center has been visited by 1.45 million people reports Irish Times. It has drawn people from all over the world and broke all projections for attendance. 650,000 people passed through last year showing interest in Titanic has not slowed down. Needless to say, Titanic Belfast is “delighted” with the news.
Source:Titanic Centre Visited By 1.45M People Since Opening In 2012(2 April 2014, Irish News)

5. Hungarians @ The Titanic Film Festival(3 April 2014,Xpatloop.com)
This year’s Titanic Festival – running between 4-12th April – will also present the works of Hungarian film makers too. Erik Novák’s brand-new action-thriller and black comedy mixture Black Soup will have its premiere screening at the festival. Simon Szabó’s short film Wall that won the main award at the Tampere Short Film Festival, and Réka Bucsi’s animation short Symphony no. 42 that competed in the Berlinale can also be watched at Titanic. The original score for the Turkish movie The Long Way Home was written by Mihály Víg, and a special film selection and a round table-discussion will commemorate the recently deceased Miklós Jancsó.

6. Irish Titanic Survivors Featured At Irish-American Cultural Society Monthly Meeting(4 April 2014,The Current)
A journalist will provide a multi-media presentation about Irish-American Titanic survivors and the lives they lived out in the United States during the next monthly meeting of the Irish-American Cultural Society. Jim Curley, a journalist with personal ties to the story, will present a multi media talk on a County May village that sent a group of young women off for better opportunities across the Atlantic Ocean. Curley will give his presentation during the next meeting of the Irish-American Cultural Society at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 15 at the American Legion Hall, New Jersey Avenue and Mill Road, Absecon, NJ.

7. Rostron Cup Part Of Online Auction
Boston based RR Auction will be putting the Roston Cup and other Titanic artifacts up for auction online from April 17-24. Letters photos and other memorabilia will be up for auction and the Roston Cup will likely be the big ticket item for this auction. For details and information about the auction, go to rrauction.com.
Source: Online Auction For 240 Titanic Artifacts(4 April 2014,Business Standard)

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Irish Independent: Titanic Belfast Is “Captivating and Moving”

Titanic Belfast (side view) Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)
Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

Madeline Keane, writing for the Irish Independent travel section, had this to say about Titanic Belfast:

From your first view of it, designed to look like the famous prow – in the shadow of the great Harland and Wolff shipyard, framed by the massive twin yellow cranes, Samson and Goliath – Titanic Belfast is captivating and moving. Brilliant 3D visuals bring you from the bowels of the boat through the bow to the bridge – we both felt slightly seasick. And there’s a magnetic journey to the ocean floor in the company of oceanographer and former US Navy officer, Professor Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck in 1973. He’ll deliver a lecture there on March 20. And yet, for all the fantastic touch screen galleries, faithfully recreated state rooms and exceptional archive material, ultimately it is the human tales of courage and cowardice which break your heart.

She also notes if you are planning a visit to Titanic Belfast, book ahead of time because thousands are showing up to see it.

Source: Titanic Odyssey Records Tragedy That Still Haunts(16 Mar 2014, Irish Independent)

Titanic News For 10 Dec 2013

1. Titanic Sam, 89, Becomes Internet Sensation (10 Dec 2013,Burton Mail)
An 89-year-old man who spent four years creating a model of the doomed Titanic has become an internet sensation after his story was picked up by a multi-million pound visitor attraction in Northern Ireland.Titanic Belfast is located right beside the historic site of the world famous ship’s construction, and its social media pages have carried the Mail’s story on Castle Gresley’s Sam Orgill’s and his 3ft version of the ship. Since then, the Mail’s story on its Facebook site alone has been liked by more than 1,000 people all over the world, it has been shared more than 80 times and has attracted more than 60 comments from users wishing him well.

2. Proposed Floating City Would Hold 100,000(9 Dec 2013,Atlanta Journal Constitution)
It might be the next logical step from taking a trip on a cruise liner — Freedom Ship would be a floating city for the super-rich. At least, if it ever gets built. Renewed plans for the massive floating platform were revealed last week. Its creators say it would hold 100,000 people, half of them residents, plus a mall, schools, cinemas, etc. The ship would circumnavigate the globe every two years, docking at cities about 70 percent of the time and on the move the other 30. At almost 1 mile long, it would be four times larger than the current biggest ship and would make the Titanic look like a rowboat. And for its residents, Freedom Ship would boast one distinct advantage. “It’s unclear how taxes would work for people there, but they said it will not be registered in the United States, so Uncle Sam would not be able to reach you on that boat.”

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Titanic News for December 7-8 2013

wreath1. Titanic Belfast is having Christmas and New Year’s events. The Christmas Afternoon Teas and Christmas Party Nights are already sold out. But the Christmas Lunch (20 Dec), New Year’s Eve Party and New Year’s Day Afternoon Tea are still available. For description of the events and to book tickets, go to titanicbelfast.com.

2. How did Harrison Okene live for three days inside a sunken ship off the coast of Nigeria? LiveScience took a look into it and has some fascinating details on how he–and others–have been lucky enough to survive and get rescued.
Here’s How That Cook Survived Inside Sunken Ship For Three Days (4 Dec 2013,Live Science)

3. Those who study Titanic usually learn there were black passengers aboard Titanic yet it is largely unknown. The information is not hard to come by but one has to go looking for it writes Herbert Dyer. And he wonders why in all the Titanic movies they are not shown in any capacity. One reason, just off the top of my head, is I doubt they knew. The names of the famous who died or survived were known. But few bothered to read down the passenger lists to find out the details. Certainly racism plays a factor in some cases. Hollywood movies made during the 1930’s that were marketed world-wide were scrubbed purposefully of anyone unacceptable to Nazi Germany (Jews, blacks, and anything that criticized in any way fascism) until the U.S. was in WW II. The Germans had more influence than the Soviet Union in that regard (they tried to get Hollywood writers and actors to do more films that supported Moscow but were mostly unsuccessful and many did not like the authoritarian way Moscow ran things). Hollywood is better these days on these issues but James Cameron’s movie, as far I can recall, had no depiction of black passengers on Titanic so education needs to be ongoing in this regard.
The Only Black Passengers Aboard The Titanic(5 Dec 2013, allvoices.com)

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)


Friday Titanic Newswrap

1. Hartley Violin Update
Wallace Hartley's ViolinWallace Hartley’s violin will make one last public display before its date with auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son on 19 Oct. The violin will be going to his hometown (Dewsbury, UK) and on display for one day only on Monday, October 14 in the town hall. A vintage tea room with period music will be setup as well.
Source: Wallace Hartley’s Titanic Violin To Return Home To Dewsbury(1 Oct 2013, Dewsbury Reporter)

2. Rory Golden, who has been on two dives to Titanic, will be giving two talks at the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Office about his experiences diving to Titanic. The first one is scheduled for 17 Oct and the second on 18 Oct. The second talk will include Ralph White, the cameraman who captured the first images of the ship. Full details are available at Titanic Belfast.
Source: Up Close And Personal With Titanic, By The Irishman Who Has Dived The Wreck Twice(2 Oct 2013, Belfast Telegraph)

Photo:Wikipedia
Photo:Wikipedia

3. Robert Ballard has begun an expedition to investigate major faults and underwater volcanoes in the northern and eastern Caribbean reports The Associated Press. Ballard is overseeing 31 scientists who hope the information they collect will help when natural disasters strike. Remote controlled vehicles will be used to explore the faults and underwater formations.
Source:Titanic Discoverer To Explore Caribbean Faults, Volcanoes(3 Oct 2013, WTVQ)

Friday Titanic Newswrap

Titanic II Update: Proof of concept testing for Titanic II has begun at Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) in Hamburg, Germany. The 9.3 meter model is being tested in a 300 meter tank in tests that include resistance and open water tests. “The Titanic II model was tested by HSVA at speeds of up to 23 knots and this testing is crucial for assessing the speed and power performance of this prototype vessel design,” said Clive Palmer.
Source: Titanic II Model Tested(20 Sep 2013,Daily Telegraph)

Photo:Wikipedia

SS Nomadic Update: Ticket prices for Titanic’s tender SS Nomadic may have reduced admission prices for winter reports BBC News. Since SS Nomadic is a separate exhibit from Titanic Belfast, there has been some criticism that they are not connected in simple admission price. While no reduced price has been finalized, the long term goal is for joint ticketing with Titanic Belfast.
Source: SS Nomadic Ticket Changes Likely(20 Sep 2013,BBC )

Once again a Titanic connected antique turns up…

Photo:Wikipedia

A movie camera that possibly belonged to Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller was among 300 cameras that Roger Lott bought at a clearance for £300. When he brought the cameras back to his shop, he discovered an old movie camera with the name CH Lightoller on it. A friend told him it might be the Titanic second officer. Lott says he has an offer to buy the camera and the British Titanic Society is interested in looking at it. There is also still film in the camera which will require a specialist to handle and develop.

“People think I am mad but if I can trace any living relative who would like to own the camera again then I would like to donate it to Mr Lightoller’s family. It would be nice to return it to where it started life. But the family members I have been able to trace through genealogy websites said: ‘Thank you very much for the offer, however the Titanic has blighted our lives.’ I am not sure what is going to happen to this very special camera at the moment.”
Source: Antiques Collector Finds Camera Once Owned By Officer On Doomed Titanic (20 Sep 2013,WalesOnline)