1. The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices (closed since 1989)have a new lease on life. There is now a plan for a 84-room boutique hotel and using the space to “tell the story of Belfast’s industrial heritage, focusing on the Board Room, Telephony Room and Entrance Lobby.”
Source:Luxury Hotel Has Designs On Derelict Titanic Offices In Belfast(18 Feb 2015,Belfast Telegraph)
2.A statue to Titanic captain Edward J. Smith stands in Lichfield but how it came to be there is an interesting story. Locals did not pay for it but wealthy Americans and Britons. And its placement in Beacon Park was not without disagreement. Locals did not like a statue being paid for by wealthy Americans who sailed on a British ship. The statue was put up anyway but omitted any reference to Titanic until much later. Today of course it is a popular stop for tourists.
Source:The Way We Were: Controversy surrounding the statue of Titanic captain Edward Smith(The Sentinel,18 Feb 2015)
Over in the U.K. television personality Jeremy Paxman decided to take a swing at Belfast in a recent article. He wrote, in part, that the iceberg did Belfast a favor and they ought to rename Titanic Quarter as Iceberg Quarter. An uproar resulted from these comments but his thrust was that millions spent to revitalize Belfast were wasted before the city decided to become a tourist destination. Locals have a different view of the matter calling his comments offensive, wrong and misleading. He apparently was recently there and had a meal in Titanic Quarter and noted that the Christmas market “offered the odours of 40 varieties of food you could not think of eating.”
Okay we get the point, you are not a fan of Belfast, Northern Ireland, these days. Perhaps you have a point about the tax money spent when, if they had played their cards right earlier, they could have used lots of private capital to achieve better results. Belfast and Titanic were not that close until fairly recently. For a lot of years it was remembered as the place it was built, the workers who had by hand put the ship together, and the sadness over the loss. Sure there were people that kept it alive but Belfast moved on and had bigger problems to deal with. Then with the growing interest in Titanic and thanks to a very popular movie, the lights clicked about the opportunities Titanic offered them by becoming a major attraction for Titanic enthused travelers. And it worked from what the numbers reveal.
What he said was tacky trying to create a hypothetical that if Titanic had never existed or never sunk, Belfast would be just a backwater in the United Kingdom. Most people are smart enough to avoid the foot-in-mouth disease. He may have said it just to generate the controversy he wanted. After all it set off a firestorm in Belfast as locals raced to microphones to criticize his comments and point out what a dolt he was for saying them. Some television personalities like to do this sort of thing to attract viewers, At any rate we here at Titanic News Channel award him our oft imitated and never duplicated Fractured Finger Award. We usually award this to dummies who use Titanic cliches but we make an exception in this case. Award not suitable for framing.
1. Titanic Hotel Liverpool (not to be confused with the other Titanic hotel in the former White Star Line offices), opened yesterday. The 153 room luxury hotel has a restaurant, bar, spa, and space for events. According to Greg Place, general manager: “In just little over a year this beautiful historic Liverpool landmark has been completely metamorphosed from a derelict brick shell to a hotel like nothing else in the city, or even the world.” Information about the hotel, reservations and everything else is at titanichotelliverpool.com.
Source:Titanic Hotel Officially Opens In Liverpool’s Historic Docks(5 Jul 2014,Bay TV Liverpool)
2.The former Pump House that served where Titanic docked is being transformed into a visitor center for HMS Caroline reports Belfast Telegraph. National Museum of the Royal Navy has filed an application with Northern Ireland Science Park which owns the site. Depending on how it works out, either the National Museum of the Royal Navy or Titanic Foundation will run the site. The HMS Carolineis the only surviving Royal Navy ship that was in Battle of Jutland in 1916. If all goes to schedule, the vistor center will be open in time for the centenary in May, 1916.
Source: Titanic Pump House Is Set To Be Revamped As HMS Caroline Visitor Centre(3 Jul 2014,Belfast Telegraph)
3.Finally this small but interesting story from Texas. A recent cardboard boat race at Mill Pond Park in San Saba County resulted in a boat named Titanic Jr. winning the competition. No mishaps were reported.
Source:The “Titanic Jr.”(2 Jul 2014, San Saba News)
*The Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence River in 1914 after colliding with a freighter on 29 May 1914. It sank in just 14 minutes with a death toll of 1,012. It is one of the worst maritime disasters in Canada’s history but for a long time only lightly remembered. “Canada’s Titanic” as it is called was not well known outside of Canada, overshadowed by another ship’s tragedy–RMS Titanic. Today though people are starting to recall this terrible event and the lives lost according to news reports now that its centenary is approaching. Stories of the saved are being recalled and the dead remembered. According to The Province:
To mark the anniversary, the Maritime Museum of BC in Victoria has an exhibit of Klausen’s items. It is just one of the several Empress-related events across Canada. In Rimouski, the Pointe-au-Pere maritime museum, which has a pavilion dedicated to the Empress, will host a banquet and unveil a monument. Churches in Rimouski and nearby Ste-Luce plan to pay homage by ringing their bells in unison at 1:55 a.m., the time of the disaster.The Salvation Army, which dispatched 170 of its members on the ship to a rally in England, will hold its annual Empress ceremony Sunday at Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery as well as a reception May 31 in Rimouski. The organization lost 141 people, including Delamont, the Clarks and many of its Canadian leaders.
*Harland & Wolff is no longer constructing ships and works now with offshore structures that require heavy duty construction. Just recently though it set a world record by performing the world’s heaviest single point water load test. According to the Belfast Telegraph:
“The massive Samson gantry crane lifted an incredible 774 tonne load to certify Harland and Wolff’s latest spreader beam arrangement. Te actual test was over in a matter of minutes, however each water bag took 20 minutes to fill. The test was witnessed and certified by the Lloyds Ireland Surveyor Graham Knowles who was satisfied with the operation and pleased to participate in this unique world record.”
*MasterChef is returning on Memorial Day this year. So we once again will go through the agony and triumph of watching the ‘cheftestants’ compete for the big monetary prize, cookbook, and glory. Over at Hell’s Kitchen, it is winding down but not fast enough. They ought to knock two out a week rather than stretch it out. We already know that there are fakers planted in the groups just to cause problems. Truthfully hard to see anyone worthy this season. More interesting is that except for one winner, no one ever gets the promised prize (there are various reasons for this) of becoming an executive chef for one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. Kitchen Nightmares is already over and this season was short but intense. Gordon seems to have powered down the turmoil and focusing on getting them attentive to making fresh food. And being sanitary in doing so as well!
*Memorial Day is here so take a moment or more to remember in your thoughts all the brave men and women who gave their lives for this country. Their bravery and sacrifice must never be forgotten. Happy Memorial Day everyone.
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)
You have to wonder who thought this was a good idea. The people running SS Nomadic, the former tender for White Star line that ferried passengers to that ship in 1912, were going to have a “Bring Your Own Alcohol Beatnomadic” club night. The tender is the last surviving ship of the White Star Line, over 100 years old, and cost more than £7 million to restore. When word got out via social media that this event was going to take place, it sparked outrage. The Belfast Telegraph reported that several members of the Nomadic Charitable Trust threatened to resign. Additionally the volunteer group Nomadic Preservation Society (who helped raise money to restore and purchase artifacts for the ship), received phone calls inquiring how such a party would do to the old ship.
The rave was cancelled due to public outcry. And the person or persons who thought it was a good idea ought to get the sack. It would be one thing if they have a tasteful event (like a small party for donors etc) but rave parties are known to be loud, brash, and full of people dancing and drinking away. Hardly a fitting place for that sort of thing. Did they not realize such a party would enrage the Titanic community? Whatever passes for brains in those associated with this dumb decision ought to have their heads examined for possible brain injury.
Here are some news stories that close out November.
1. Woman Shares Family’s Titanic Tale With Tenth Street Students(30 Nov 2013,Times Leader) Students in fourth grade at the Tenth Street Elementary School were treated to a guest speaker recently. The students learned about the events of the sinking of the Titanic from Mae Thomas.Thomas, a child of a Titanic survivor, shared her mother and infant brother’s survival story aboard the Titanic, along with many other stories.
2. Belfast’s Odyssey Gets Go-Ahead For Extension That Could Create 1,000 Jobs(29 Nov 2013,Belfast Telegraph) Odyssey Trust’s plans to build next to the existing Odyssey Arena and Pavilion come just weeks after Belfast Harbour won planning permission for an office development at City Quays. With an application lodged by Titanic Quarter Ltd for yet another development, the entire Belfast Harbour area is set for a major growth spurt. The scheme has space for nearly 800 apartments, two hotels, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and “community and cultural use” space, according to planners Turley Associates, which acts for Odyssey Trust.
3. Tracing a Precious Relic of the Titanic(28 Nov 2013,New York Times) A hundred years later, the solid gold Waltham pocket watch, purchased in 1907 and engraved with the initials J.J.A., has become an object of controversy. John Miottel, a collector in California, says he bought it 15 years ago. But in March an heir of the Astor family announced that he owned a watch carried by John Jacob Astor IV at the time of his death, according to reports published in The New York Post, The Daily Mail of London and elsewhere. Mr. Miottel, a real estate investor in Northern California who collects luxury ocean-liner memorabilia, said in a phone interview that he bought the Astor watch “in 1997 in a small auction house in Asheville, North Carolina, around the 85th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking when all the Titanic fans were celebrating aboard the Queen Mary in California.” “The ironic thing is that almost nobody, including the Astor Foundation, knew about this watch at the time,” added Mr. Miottel, who owns two other Titanic-related watches. “There would have been a lot more bidders if they had.”
1. Titanic Pigeon Forge will be hosting a fireworks display on Thanksgiving Day (28 Nov 2013) at 7:30 p.m. to kick off the holiday season.“It will be the largest fireworks event of the year on the Smoky Mountain Parkway, and we look forward to celebrating a joyful evening with our community friends and neighbors.” announces John Joslyn, expedition leader of the first private exploration dive to Titanic and co-owner of the Titanic Museum Attraction.” For information and tickets go to titanicpigeonforge.com or call 800 381-7670.
1. Thanksgiving Fireworks Light Up The Sky At Titanic Museum Attraction In Pigeon Forge
(29 Oct 2013, Chattanoogan.com)
2. Titanic Pigeon Forge (website)
2. Former Titanic slipways were recently used for the 2013 Halloween Metro Monster Mash reports Belfast Telegraph. Aside from the usual assortment of wizards and witches, some dressed up in elaborate costumes like Edward Scissorhands. Local music, street theatre and fire shows entertained during the family-friendly event. There were also prizes awarded fro the best costumes.
Source: Fiery Skies Greet Monsters At Halloween Monster Mash In Titanic Quarter Belfast(28 Oct 2013,Belfast Telegraph)