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Titanic Centre Belfast

On Thursday 31st May 2018 the West Bann Development Woman's group made the trip to the Titanic Centre in Belfast for a tour of the Titanic Visitors Centre and the HMS Nomadic ship. 


On May 31, 1911, people from all over Belfast came to see the launch of Titanic. It had been 7 months since Olympic's launch and Titanic had been highly anticipated.

Aided by 23 tons of soap, animal fat, and train oil spread on the slipway, the ship slid into the Lagan river. The massive empty hull of Titanic reached 12 knots and stopped 1 minute later.

The S.S. Nomadic was a tender that was specially designed and built by White Star to serve the Olympic Class ships. Olympic and Titanic were so large that they could not dock in Cherbourg, France, but had to wait off shore while Nomadic and her sister ship Traffic, brought passengers from the dock to the ship. Nomadic still exists today and is part of the Titanic Experience in Belfast where she has been fully restored by Harland and Wolff .  She is the only surviving vessel of the White Star line.

In April 1912, 1,500 passengers and crew lost their lives after the liner hit an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.


Between 1900 and 1930, Harland and Wolff was Belfast's biggest employer by a long way. Thousands of people worked in the ship yards and demand for ocean liners was huge.

Although ships are still built in Harland and Wolff today, the number of ships and people actually employed is much less than in the hay day of the early 20th century.

The Harland and Wolff shipyard was founded in 1862. It was founded by Edward James Harland and Gustav Wilhelm Wolff. At its height, Harland and Wolff and the ship yard in Belfast became one of the biggest ship builders in the world. Harland and Wolff own the world's largest dry dock, which is in Belfast.

Harland Wolff constructed over 70 ships for the White Star Line. The Titanic was the best known of these.

A prominent feature of the Belfast skyline is the Harland and Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath. When people think of Harland and Wolff and Belfast, the image of the cranes is usually the first thing that comes to mind, after the Titanic. The crane Samson was built in 1974 and the crane Goliath in 1969

The construction of the Titanic took place on Slipway No 3 under the Arrol Gantry.  A gantry is a crane system that manoeuvres over the top of a ship in the dockyard carrying materials and workers to the heights and depths of building ships.  The Titanic's 220 foot Gantries were custom built to meet the needs of such a monstrous vessel.

The number of rivets used in the construction of the hull, a mix of iron and steel was 3,000,000.

Construction of Titanic began on March 31, 1909 when designer James Andrews laid the first keel plate in the Harland & Wolff Shipyards Belfast, Ireland.  Titanic's sister ship The Olympic had begun some three months earlier and the two ships were essentially constructed side by side by over 15,000 workers,  Constructing the Titanic would cost 8 employees their life working on such a mammoth and often dangerous construction site. 

When Titanic was designed, no facilities existed to build or berth such a large ship.

Titanic and her sister ships Olympic and Britannic were built to compete with the ocean liners Lusitania and Mauretania. White Star Line had decided not to attempt to compete on speed but rather to build larger, more reliable and more luxurious ships than their rivals.

The Titanic sunk over a century ago on April 15, 1912.  The iceberg collision ripped open Titanic's hull in several places, including her five watertight compartments. The Titanic sinking transpired over two and a half hours which was relatively fast for a ship of such size. 

Titanic carried 2224 people of all ages, genders and class that fateful night, and only 710 escaped in lifeboats and later rescued by the RMS Carpathia. 1514 people died in the icy waters. The dead included a number of large numbers of men whose place was given to the many women and children on board. The dead primarily consisted of men in the ship's second class. In fact, ninety per cent of these men died.

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