To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the discovery of Belfast’s famous ship, we count down the top 12 things we bet you didn’t know about the Titanic.
Although the Titanic lies in 13,000 feet of water, the enduring story still captures the minds and hearts throughout the world (particularly for those who fell in love with Jack and Rose in the heart-wrenching movie).
So to mark the anniversary, when a team led by American oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard and French diving engineer Jean-Louis Michel discovered the world’s most famous ship’s final resting place, here are our top 12 things you may not know about the Titanic and its home – Titanic Belfast…
1. Titanic’s design was conceived over a glass of wine and fine food! Lord Pirrie and J. Bruce Ismay decided speed would be balanced with quality of accommodation. It is rumoured that when Pirrie enquired as to the length of the ship, Ismay replied, glass of wine in hand, “build me a stable ship that will not disturb the sediment in these fine wines.” (Sounds like our kinda’ guy…)
2. Titanic (271m) was long enough to span three tempestuous Atlantic Ocean wave crests.
3. Due to the size of the Olympic-class ships, in which Titanic was one of three, the shipyard, Harland and Wolff in Belfast had to prepare for two years to be able to build them!
4. The ship had three wheels for steering! (and we can barely handle one…)
5. Titanic’s funnels were wide enough to drive a train through!
6. Facilities on board included a gym, pool, Turkish bath, a kennel for first class dogs, and a squash court. The first class cabins on Titanic, where the same standard as hotel cabins, second class was as good as first class on other ships.
7. The famous staircase, which was among the most luxurious appointments on the ship, was inspired by the staircase at Belfast City Hall (which can still be visited today, obviously…)
8. Titanic was stocked with literally tons of food and drink – including 40,000 eggs and 15,000 bottles of ale!
9. The Titanic now lies 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, nearly two and a half miles (4000m) below sea level overlooking a small canyon below.
10. The last letter ever to be written on board the Titanic by Essex-born Esther Hart and her seven-year-old daughter Eva just eight hours before the ship hit an iceberg and sank in April 1912 is on display at The Titanic Exhibition. It recently sold at auction for a world record sum of £119,000.
11. Titanic Belfast has welcomed approximately 2.5 million visitors from over 145 countries. It can hold over 3,547 visitors at any one time, the same number as the capacity of Titanic!
12. The wooden benches encircling the building and are spaced in Morse code sequence. Moving clockwise around the plaza they read “DE (this is) MGY MGY MGY (Titanic’s call sign) CQD CQD SOS SOS CQD” – the distress message that Titanic sent after hitting an iceberg.
To delve deeper, visit the home of the story – Titanic Belfast. For more information, visit titanicbelfast.com