The story of the Titanic is very personal to each person who hears it, almost like a biblical story. This giant ship, all these people in the middle of the ocean, this iceberg, the warnings. What would it have been like to be there on that fateful night?
Margaret Brown (right) giving Captain Arthur Henry Rostron an award for his service in the rescue of the Titanic’s survivors.
Date: 29 May 1912
April 11th, 1912, 1:30 pm: the Titanic left Queenstown. This is the last known photo taken of her before she sunk.
April 11th, 1912, 11:30 am: the Titanic arrived at Queenstown to collect passengers.
RMS Titanic in Cherbourg, France on the evening of 10th April, 1912.
Evening on Wednesday, April 10th, 1912(which again the calendars sink up between 1912 and 2013), Titanic pulls into Cherbourg, France. Too large to tie up at the docks, specially built tenders ferry passengers and their luggage to the ship. On the bottom, a famous Ken Marshall painting you probably all know. On the top, an actual picture taken of the Titanic as it passed through Cherbourg’s seawall. Did you know the tender pictured in the painting, the Nomadic, has in fact been fully restored to her former White Star Line livery? Did you know she had a running mate, the SS Traffic? The Nomadic was larger and built for first and second class passengers to be ferried, the Traffic for third class and luggage.
Postcard, A ticket for the Titanic. This one was signed by survivor, Margaret Howman.
Second-class cabin rates for Olympic and Titanic are listed with detail on this pamphlet (which wasn’t in circulation for very long, understandably!)
While leaving Southampton on April 10th, the Titanic has a close encounter with the SS New York of the American Line(originally the City of New York of the Inman line which was a ground breaking ship in its own right when first in service). Both the New York and White Star’s Oceanic were laid up at port because of a coal strike in Britain that had just ended days earlier(coal supplies had yet to be replenished) with the smaller New York on the outboard side of the Oceanic. As the Titanic rounded the corner of her dock and made her way past the ships, the suction from the Titanic’s propellers began to strain the mooring lines of the New York, which then began to snap(witnesses said they sounded like gunshots when snapping). In a scene that was eerily reminiscent of the encounter Titanic’s sister ship Olympic had with the HMS Hawke the year previous, the stern of the New York began to be sucked towards the Titanic. The New York came within feet of striking the Titanic, but quick action on the Titanic’s bridge of putting the port propeller astern as well as lucky throw of a tow line from a tug helped avert a collision. A few commented it was a bad omen to start a maiden voyage in such a fashion.
On a side note, many have seen this picture, and James Cameron obviously used it as inspiration for a scene from his movie, but what you may not have noticed is on the right hand side you can actually see the bow of the Oceanic
At around 5:30-6pm on April 10th, the Titanic passes the harbor wall of Cherbourg and drops anchor at the port to pick up 274 passengers and drop off 24. Lacking the facilities for large steamers, the tenders Nomadic and Traffic ferry passengers and luggage to the Titanic. The Nomadic and Traffic were newly built specifically for the Olympic class(they were actually built at Harland and Wolff on slipway 1, Olympic on 2, Titanic on 3. If you see a picture of the Olympic/Titanic under construction, slipway 1 would be to the Olympic’s port) with the larger Nomadic designed for 1st and 2nd class passengers and the Traffic for 3rd class and luggage/mail. Titanic would weigh anchor around 8pm to sail for Queenstown, Ireland. Nomadic still exists and is the last White Star ship still in existence. She’s located in dry dock in Belfast and has over the past several years undergone significant restoration inside and out to put her back into her White Star livery.