When RMS Titanic sailed away on her maiden voyage on April 10th, 1912, she was hailed as ‘the new wonder of the world’.
A remarkable feat of engineering, she was the largest and most luxuriously appointed ship ever seen and, despite her tragic sinking five days later, she remains a source of enduring pride in the city where she was built – Belfast.
Built at the Harland & Wolff shipyard, Titanic is probably the most famous ship in the world, but here are 12 things you may not know about the famous cruise liner.
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".
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 had to prepare for two years to be able to build them.
4. At the time Belfast was the fastest growing city in the British Empire, it was the linen and ropework capital, with the largest ship-building firm in the world. Evidence of this can still be seen throughout the city today.
5. The ship had three wheels for steering.
6. Titanic’s funnels were wide enough to drive a train through.
7. 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 were the same standard as hotel cabins. Second class was as good as first class on other ships.
8. 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.
9. Titanic was stocked with tons of food and drink – including 40,000 eggs and 15,000 bottles of ale.
10.Titanic was launched in 62 seconds on 31 May 1911. The Olympic, and the tender ships, Nomadic and Traffic left Belfast, drawing over 100,000 spectators and journalists travelling from London and America.
11. Titanic now lies 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, nearly two-and-a-half miles (4,000m) below sea level overlooking a small canyon below.
12.There is no light at this great depth and little life can be found. At Titanic Belfast, visitors can view Dr Ballard’s high definition footage of what Titanic looks like today and can learn more about individual items in the wreckage using the interactive pods.