You might have heard of the famous RMS Titanic luxury ship which sadly sank after hitting an iceberg on April 15, 1912 on her very first voyage ever.
Let’s explore some awesome facts about the Titanic.
On 30 April 1907 at a dinner between J Bruce Ismay and Lord William James Pierrie, the idea to build the Titanic sprang to mind. They wanted to build a ship that was even better than the luxury Cunard line on the Atlantic. Once they’d decided what they were going to do, the planning went full steam ahead.
It took 3 years to build and cost $7,500,000 (equivalent to $400 million today). Wow, she must have been one special ship. 8 of the 3000 construction workers who were paid $10 per week, died during construction. She was built in Belfast in the Harland and Wolff shipyard by the White Star Line company and owned by J P Morgan, an American tycoon.
After her launch on 31 May 1911 in Belfast in the presence of about 90 crew members and a crowd of about 100,000, she took 62 seconds to travel the slipway sliding on 22 tons of soap and tallow. It was a grand occasion. On 2 April 1912 the Titanic sailed for Southampton from Belfast.
On 10 April 1912 she sailed from Southampton docks on her first Atlantic crossing to New York. The journey was meant to take 137 hours. The captain was Captain Edward Smith with who was a master at sea with over 43 years’ experience.
Lots of people say that he actually ignored iceberg warnings as he was trying to set a new time record. This isn’t true. That would be very irresponsible!
The Titanic was almost as long as three football fields, as tall as a 17 storey building, with four smoke stacks; only one of the smoke stacks was for decoration to give the ship a balanced look. The engines used more than 800 tons of coal daily and the top speed was 24 knots (27 miles per hour). She was one of the first ships to have a telephone system and electric lights in all bedrooms, with four elevators, a heated swimming pool, a gym, two libraries and two barber shops. There were 840 staterooms, 9 decks and 10,000 light bulbs. Wow!
The cost of a First Class ticket was $4,350 (£875), $1,750 for a Standard Class ticket and $30 for a Third class ticket. These were mostly for families who were emigrating to the United States. In many cases they had sold everything to get onto the Titanic and to give them some money to get started in America. Those were some seriously expensive tickets!
Titanic could carry about 3,547 people when fully loaded, which is both passengers and crew but they sailed from Southampton with 2,223 on board. 1,324 were passengers and 885 were crew. There were 13 honeymooning couples too.
When the Titanic sank, the total number of survivors was 706. Of these 492 were passengers most of them from First Class, and 214 crew members. All 25 Engineering Officers died whilst trying to keep the ship afloat. Two dogs survived and the band played music till the ship went under. Unfortunately none of the band members survived.
Here are just some of the supplies the Titanic carried (she certainly did carry a lot!):
On 14 April 1912 the Titanic received warnings of icebergs in the area from other ships. The lifeboat drill for that day was cancelled by the Captain, so the crew didn’t know what to do.
After the second iceberg warning the ship changed course, which landed up being a big mistake as it took it right into a collision course with the iceberg. More warnings came, but Captain Smith didn’t receive them. He also didn’t receive the final one at 9.40pm that night.
At 11pm the ship Californian, sent a message to say she’d stopped sailing due to icebergs but the acting captain wasn’t interested.
The fatal iceberg was 15 miles (24 kilometers) away. There was no wind and the waters were calm. This actually made it more difficult to spot icebergs as you couldn’t see water breaking up against it. Titanic hit the iceberg at 11.39pm. When the Captain put out a distress signal, the nearest ship – the Californian – 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, had turned off her wireless. The ship Carpathia – 58 miles (93 kilometers) away – sent a message to say she was on her way, but she was actually four hours away. Lifeboats were launched, but lots of them weren’t actually very full.
By 2.20am the Titanic slipped beneath the freezing water which could kill people quickly.
By 4.10am Carpathia arrived and the captain Arthur Rostron said: “Except for the [life] boats beside the ship and the icebergs, the sea was strangely empty…”
By 8.30am Californian arrived after realising the disaster and by 8.50am Carpathia sailed for New York with 705 survivors and many dead. It was a very sad occasion.