Titanic talesTitanic is Belfast's ship. She was built here by the people from the city.
We've commissioned Belfast Titanic Society to write a series of 'Titanic Tales', connecting the story of this great ship to the people of this great city.
Issue 1 - We built Titanic shipsThe Titanic - like all the great White Star Line liners - was built by Harland and Wolff right here in Belfast and this is a fact that we should marvel at today. Why? Well, because Belfast at the start of the 20th century was an industrial powerhouse, and that it ever achieved that state is nothing short of marvellous.
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Belfast, as it grew in the mid 1800s, prospered with exports of linen, tobacco, rope, glass and machinery. However, shipping coming into the town had a major problem.
Issue 2 - In the beginning … from Dargan’s Island to Queen’s Island
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The story of the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic began over a dinner early in 1907. The Chairman of the White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, accompanied by his wife, went to dine at Downshire House, Belgrave Square in London.
Issue 3 - Harland and Wolff and the Olympic class liners – how it all began
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The inhabitants of Belfast possessed quite a high level of education and the census of 1911 shows that, at the time of the building of Olympic and Titanic one person in ten was illiterate.
Issue 4 - Education of the men who built Titanic ships
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If you ever speak to any shipyard men they will look back on their time in the yard and remember all their mates and the laughs and jokes they they would play on each other. They would also devise some very special nicknames for the colleagues. But the one thing that they will all remember was that the shipyard on Queen's Island could be a very dangerous place to work.
Issue 5 - The dangers of constructing the world's biggest ships
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Most men would have not had electricity, bathrooms or toilets inside their homes and it is doubtful if they would ever have seen Turkish baths or squash racquet courts. Yet they were building the biggest ships in the world.
Issue 6 - Homes of the men who built Titanic ships - Part 1
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The majority of shipyard workers lived in very modest homes. Because of the rapid influx of workers into the city of Belfast in the second half of the nineteenth century a construction boom had taken place.
Issue 7 - Homes of the men who built Titanic ships - Part 2
Download Issue 7 - Homes of the men who built Titanic ships - Part 2 (Word - 2MB)
A look through the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census online reveals some very interesting facts about how the well healed were pandered to.
Issue 8 - A life above stairs
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While the construction of Olympic and Titanic was underway many shipyard workers lived, either as tenants or boarders, in streets within a one mile radius of Harland and Wolff.
Issue 9 - The streets of men who built great ships
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The diet of the builders of the world's greatest ships would have borne no comparison to the food eaten by those who travelled on them in 1912.
Issue 10 - Diet of the men who built great ships
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Looking respectable was of great importance to the people in 1912 and in almost all pictures we can see the new prosperity in their dress.
Issue 11 - Clothing of the men who built great ships
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The Whitley family from the Shankill Road area of Belfast are a true Titanic family, with four brothers and a brother-in-law all believed to have worked on the great ship.
Issue 12 - A Titanic family
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On the Queen's Island in Belfast, Wednesday 31 May 1911 was a glorious day. That day would see shipbuilders Harland and Wolff not only launch the hull of ship 401, the Titanic, but it would also see them handing over SS Olympic, the largest ship afloat at the time, and two new tenders, SS Nomadic and SS Traffic, to their owners the White Star Line.
Issue 13 - Titanic's launch
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On 24 May and again on 30 May, the Newsletter carried an advertisement for the launch of Titanic.
Issue 14 - Titanic launch tickets
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In the Harland and Wolff shipyard there is a major hole in the records which has been caused by fire, the Belfast Blitz and the destruction of documents over the years.
Issue 15 - The Harland & Wolff Olympic Guarantee Group
However there are other ways to check on those who travelled with Harland & Wolff ships and that is to use the free website provided by Ellis Island, in America.
Download Issue 15 - The Harland & Wolff Olympic Guarantee Group (Word - 363KB) When Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton on April 10 1912 there was a special group of men that were travelling with the ship, known as the Guarantee Group.
Download Issue 16 - The Titanic Guarantee Group - part one (Word - 9.1MB)
May 1, 1889 must have been a very exciting and nervous day for the young 16-year-old Andrews. Behind him now were those five years of schooling at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and in front of him lay the busy and bustling shipyard of Harland & Wolff at Queen's Island in Belfast.
Download Issue 18 - Thomas Andrews - Titanic Designer (Word - 5.55MB)
Read more Titanic stories at www.the-titanic.com