Professional and amateur Titanic historians alike use a variety of information to learn about the great lost ocean liner, which struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City on April 14th and sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of April 15th, 1912. More than 1,500 passengers lost their lives and to this day, many historians continue to study the tragic incident. 

At the time of Titanic’s launch and sinking, the medium of photography was still in its infancy; however, the history of the ship was captured with a variety of photos, both before and after the sinking, that still resonate with the people who view them. 

Titanic’s Creation 

Titanic’s roots lie in Belfast, Ireland, at the Harland and Wolff Shipyard. It was here that workers laid the great ship’s keel on December 16th, 1908, at yard number 401. The ship took shape on slips number 3, next to her sister ship, the Olympic, which was being constructed at the same time. The gantry created over both slips dominated the shipyard and, at the time, was the biggest in all the world. 

One May 31st, 1911, shipbuilders completed Titanic’s exterior and launched her from the slip without the engines intact. It took over a year for designers to complete the lavish interior, which included the iconic grand staircase. The staircase was considered by many to be the crowned jewel of the massive ocean liner and continues to capture people’s imaginations today. 

The Ship of Dreams Launches 

Upon Titanic’s completion, the ship was one of the most luxurious and largest ocean liners of her time. Nicknamed “The Ship of Dreams,” she boasted a height of 175 feet and was as wide as a football field. Titanic featured ten decks plus one for the officers’ quarters and offered its passengers amenities never before seen on any ocean liner, including a full-sized swimming pool and a Turkish bath. Of course, some of these lavish spaces were reserved for those holding a first-class ticket. 

Titanic launched for its maiden voyage on April 10th, 1912, with 2,222 passengers and crew members on board. The ship launched from Southampton dock and was photographed by Francis Godolphin Osbourne Stuart, a Scots-born photographer living in the area at the time and documenting life in the city via cabinet and postcards. Passengers thrilled to all the ship had to offer, from delicious meals to entertainment and the best of shipboard comforts. 

The Fateful Sinking 

While the passengers of Titanic no doubt looked forward to reaching New York and whatever awaited them, many would never reach their destination. On the evening of April 14th, Titanic struck an iceberg after captain E.J. Smith ignored ice warnings in the area and the crew failed to spot the massive ice mass too late. It punched holes in the side of the ship and it began to sink bow first as its lower compartments flooded. 

In a rather cruel twist of fate, it took Titanic nearly three hours to sink to the bottom of the North Atlantic and while more people might have escaped, many believed it would stay afloat and remained onboard. When the sinking was over, 1,500 men, women and children were dead, many of them steerage and crewmembers. Those that made it into lifeboats had to brave out the freezing weather until the rescue ships arrived. The Carpathia picked up a majority of the remaining passengers as others arrived to recover bodies. As the weary and traumatized passengers boarded Carpathia, those already on board tended to them with a change of clothing and warm blankets. 

Titanic Rediscovered 

It would be decades before anyone saw Titanic again, with the initial discovery made by oceanographer Rob Ballard on September 1st, 1985. The expedition discovered debris along the ocean floor roughly 300 miles south of Newfoundland, and then came upon the rest of the ship’s remains soon after. Since then, experts and historians alike have debated how much longer Titanic will last before the North Atlantic claims her entirely. 

Titanic’s history would likely not be as rich without the variety of amazing photos taken before and after her sinking. From it’s glorious reputation on the day of its departure from Southampton to the discovery of her watery grave, Titanic’s history in pictures continues to fascinate.  

When modern viewers look upon the marvel that was the R.M.S. Titanic, they might not give much thought to the people who photographed her. However, if not for these talented and passionate individuals, all historians may have had today are visual and verbal accounts that may not ignite the imagination the way photographs do. 

While several individuals contributed to the visual preservation of Titanic’s history, it was Scotland’s Francis Goldophin Osbourne Stuart (aka F.G.O. Stuart) who made major contributions to the ship’s photographic archives. His legacy not only allows today’s historians to view TItanic as she was but also gives them a detailed glimpse into what life was like in Southampton, London and the surrounding areas during the late 19th and 20th century.  [click to continue…]

RobertHichensWhen the RMS Titanic went down, April 15th, 1912, there were many people who were blamed for the enormous disaster that took the lives of over 1500 people. The first, and most obvious, person to blame was Captain Edward J Smith. As captain of the biggest ship in the world, he was the one in charge of everything, including the safety of everyone on board the Titanic.  Another person who took the brunt of the sinking of the unsinkable ship was J Bruce Ismay, but these two were not the only ones at fault. The truth be told, there was a long list of people who were the targets of negativity because so many innocent people died. Aside from Smith, and Ismay, another person who was targeted for blame were the two men who were on the bridge when Titanic struck the iceberg, William Murdoch and Robert Hichens.  However, while Murdoch did not survive the sinking, and was rumored to have shot himself while on deck, Hichens managed to get into lifeboat number 6, and took charge of it. Once back on land, troubles for Hichens did not end, and his life only seemed to get worse, and the controversy surrounding him did not end with his death. [click to continue…]

1114-ctm-celinedionThe blockbuster movie Titanic, will be turning 22 years old in December, yet the movie lives on in a countless number of ways.  Before James Cameron’s Avatar took the number one movie ever title from Titanic, it had held that spot for 12 years, and even to this day, the movie is still as talked about now as it was then. What is the biggest issue that Titanic fans debate about? The ending, of course, and whether or not Rose purposefully let her love Jack, freeze to death in the North Atlantic. Why couldn’t both Jack and Rose fit on that floating piece of door, which is actually a large piece of wall paneling? Was it as simple as the fact Rose just had to scoot over a little so there would be room for Jack? This simple question has nagged Titanic fans for almost 22 years now, and many people have weighed in on the matter including celebrities, scientists, and even James Cameron himself. Now, one of the biggest names associated with the Titanic movie, has weighed in on the debate, and may have finally been put the two decade old debate to rest once and for all, and her name is Celine Dion.

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Titanic+in+GantryWhen it comes to famous shipyards, the most famous one in the world is located in Belfast, Ireland.   The shipyard became famous when it was behind the construction of three ships that would live in infamy, and one of them in particular would change the world. The name of this famous ship was the RMS Titanic, and her design and construction took place right in this Irish shipyard. Over the years, Harland and Wolff has gone through many changes in his search to become part of the modern world, but not all of them were successful.  When faced with the possibility of being closed, someone threw the famous shipyard a lifeline, and now thanks to his rescue, the shipyard will go on. However, little is known about this shipyard, and the story behind its creation is a fascinating one that is almost as interesting as the ships this shipyard set adrift on the water.  [click to continue…]

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As passengers on Titanic embarked on a North Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York City on the morning of April 10th, 1912, few of them likely imagined the terror that lay in store for them or that by the time the ship sank out from under them after hitting an iceberg in the wee […]

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A Light In The Dark – Titanic Cane Up For Auction

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When the RMS Titanic struck iceberg on the night of April 14th, 1912, the world was shocked to hear how the greatest, biggest, most grandest ship in the world, was in serious trouble. The information coming into New York City was too remarkable to believe. The biggest ship in the world, that had been making headlines […]

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Titanic Turns 107 Years – An Anniversary to Remember

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Titanic Relics To Be Exhibited and Auctioned Off By Private Collector

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Missouri has long been a mecca for Titanic historians, both amateur and expert. The famous museum there features artifacts, special exhibits and a variety of original information about the ill-fated ocean liner, which struck an iceberg and sank in the early-morning hours of April 15th, 1912. Now there is a new Titanic exhibit less than […]

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