Titanic the one and only voyage
Every April brings a spike of interest in the Titanic. The anniversary of its demise is April 15th. With a local Cork town, Cobh, being the last port of call on its maiden voyage, the topic is always of interest. There is a fantastic museum in Cobh – The Titanic Experience.
The sinking of the Titanic was one of the biggest tragedies in the twentieth centuries. Over a thousand lives were lost due to the inadequate numbers of lifeboats on board the ship when it collided with an iceberg. The one good thing to have come from the tragedy is the vast improvements that have been made in maritime safety measures.
Name: RMS Titanic
Fleet: one of three Olympic Class ocean liners
Operator: White Star Line
Built by: Harland & Wolff
Designed by: Naval Architect Thomas Andrews
Built in: Belfast
Home port: Liverpool
Full Capacity (Passengers & crew): 3,547
Number of decks: 10, 8 for passenger use
Captain: Edward John Smith
Total people on board: 2,202
Passengers: 1,317 (first class 324, second class 284, third class 709)
Route: Southampton to New York City, vis Cherbourg & Queenstown
Lifeboats on board: 20
14 standard wooden, capacity of 65 people each
4 collapsible – wooden bottom with canvas sides, capacity 47 people each
2 cutters, capacity 40 people each
The outfitting of the Titanic was the first of its kind. Traditionally liners would have been outfitted in the style of an English country manor. This style would have had dark heavy woods and tapestries, landscape paintings, heavy fabrics. The style which the Titanic was outfitted was based on the style of the Ritz Hotel in London. The idea for this change in decorating style was to change the passengers view of travelling by and to liken it to a luxury hotel stay. They wanted passengers to feel they were in a floating hotel.
Other facilities provided on board the Titanic were a barber shop, a library, a swimming pool, a squash court and an outdoor café on the deck. The facilities available depended on the type of ticket you purchased. First Class tickets provided first class facilities such as the swimming pool and the outdoor café. Cabin and public rooms were decorated to follow this rule.
Third class or steerage passengers were treated much better on board the Titanic than on other ships of the time. On the Titanic these passengers had their own dining area, a social gathering area and also an open deck area. The sleeping arrangements were very different also. Single men slept in the quarters at the front of the ship, while single women and families had quarters at the back of the ship. The sleeping quarters consisted of cabins that slept two, four, six, eight or ten people comfortable. This provided a comfortable private sleeping area for all passengers. In contrast, other ships sailing at the time would have provided open dormitory style sleeping arrangements which they would have been confined to for the duration of their journey, without adequate washroom and toilet facilities.
These innovations were implemented by Harland & Wolff’s general manager and chief draughtsman, Alexander Carlisle. His brief for the Titanic was to decorate the ship to feel like a floating hotel.
The One and Only Voyage
April 6th 1912 Titanic’s crew arrived on board
April 10th 1912 Titanic departed Southampton, sailed to Cherbourg France
April 11th 1912 Titanic arrived Queenstown, Cork, Ireland. The final 123 passengers board the Titanic.
11:40 p.m. April 14th 1912 Titanic collided with an iceberg. The hull plates buckled, water flooded into six of the fifteen airtight compartments. The ship gradually filled with water. Meanwhile passengers were evacuated into lifeboats, some of which were launched while only partly loaded. The women and children first rule meant it was mostly men left on board the rapidly sinking ship.
2:20 a.m. April 15th 1912 Titanic broke apart and sank drowning the remaining passengers and crew.
4 a.m. approx. April 15th 1912 The RMS Carpathia, the Cunard Liner, arrived at the scene of the sunk Titanic. She took the survivors on board and transported them to New York.
9:30 p.m. April 18th 1912 The Carpathia docked in New York City. They were greeted by 40,000 people. Many organisations banded together to provide the survivors with food and clothing. Railway company, Pennsylvania Railroad, provided free travel to Philadelphia. Most survivors were quick to leave New York and travelled to relatives and friends. The surviving crew were accommodated on Red Star Line’s SS Lapland in passenger accommodation and brought home.
- Denis Hurley