The book, published 2009
Pool of Life discussed the first book to deal with the relationship between Titanic and her home port of Liverpool: Titanic and Liverpool. (Liverpool University Press and National Museums Liverpool, 2009). Written by Dr Alan Scarth of Merseyside Maritime Museum, the book comes back to my theme of transatlantic migration from Liverpool to North America. The gorgeous White Star Line ship might have been built elsewhere, but she was the pride of Liverpool.
Scarth used contemporary material from the White Star line archives and from the holdings of the Merseyside Maritime Museum. He asked what did the sinking of the Titanic mean for Liverpool, arguably Europe's most important shipping centre. Since many of her key officers and crew were either from Liverpool or had strong links with the port, and since the ship's owners were based in the city, the city must have been totally devastated. Juliet Gardiner added that with the city’s long seafaring tradition, it was inevitable that many of the crew who went actually went down with the ship were working class Liverpudlians.
Historians have long noted that while the wealthy brought retinues of maids and manservants onto the Titanic, but most members of the crew earned only tiny salaries. Thus it would have taken years for a Liverpool labourer working on the Titanic to save the money equivalent to a single, 1st class ticket. The ship's crew was of course made up of the most lowly manual labourers, toiling away in the heat and grime of the engine rooms. How many Liverpool families were left fatherless when the labourers drowned as their ship went down?
the Titanic, 1912, in ? Liverpool docks*
A very interesting show is now on at the Melbourne Museum, opened almost 100 years after the catastrophe, and called Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition. It is an incomparable insight into the grandeur, romance and the tragedy of the Titanic and her passengers and crew. By displaying extraordinary objects removed from the sea bed, visitors will be able to get closer than ever before to the passengers and crew. Note the exacting re-creations of the ship’s interior, delicate bottles of perfume, china bearing the logo of the elite White Star Line, even a piece of the ship’s hull.
Titanic relic, Melbourne Museum, 2010
As they enter the exhibition, each visitor is presented with a replica boarding pass of a real passenger on the original ship. Then begins a journey through the life of Titanic, from construction - to life on board - to its ill-fated voyage - tragic sinking and rescue mission. In the Memorial Gallery, guests can take their boarding pass to the memorial wall and discover whether their passenger and travelling companions survived or perished. The same exhibition has already been hugely successful in cities like Paris, London and Chicago.
Confessions of a Ci-Devant is a blog with the most detailed description of life in The Titanic for 1st Class passengers that I have seen. In a second post on the subject, Confessions discusses a memorial I was totally unaware of - to the Belfast engineers who gave their lives trying to keep the light and heat going for as long as it took the Titanic to sink. This memorial sits outside Belfast City Hall. I warmly recommend you have a look at Confessions.