An odd exhibition

On Monday night I watched a documentary on Channel 5 entitled “Inside Titanic”. It was horrifying to learn all the shortcomings of the vessel, where appearances had taken precedence over basic  safety.  To send the SOS signal the captain had to get an officer to run from the bridge to the Marconi room some distance away. There was no communication between the powerhouse of the ship, the boiler rooms, and the Chief Engineer in his engine room.  So when water flooded in to the boiler rooms,  the engineers were told to proceed at half speed, thus forcing even more of the Atlantic into the vessel.  We all know about the bulkheads that did not run all the way up to the ceilings because that would have spoiled the layout of the corridors.   Water pouring over the top of these bulkheads contributed to the even swifter demise of the ship, as did the long straight corridor that ran the entire length.  The captain wanted to keep his ship on as even a keel as possible to enable the life boats to be lowered quickly and safely, but this was not feasible.

I remember that when we sailed on the France, it was at times necessary to go up or down from one deck to another to get from bow to stern.  One lesson learned.  One night the engines stopped and this woke us up. We learned next morning that the captain had had to change course because of iceberg warnings. It was a year when the bergs came farther south in the Atlantic than usual. According to reports, however, when the Titanic stopped its engines, passengers did not wake up and the crew had to wake as many as possible and get them on deck in their life-jackets.

In view of everything wrong about the Titanic, I cannot understand why Belfast is hosting an exhibition to demonstrate how wrong its shipbuilders got it, at the cost of hundreds of lives.

9 thoughts on “An odd exhibition”

  1. Sheona, I wonder if the reason is to be found in the fad for ‘truth and reconciliation’ – like politicians apologising for history and sackcloth and ashes being worn ad nauseam. And maybe N Ireland was bound to follow the trend, given the events of its last 100 years.

  2. I am beginning to think that the current obsession with the Titanic is becoming somewhat unhealthy.
    So the bloody thing sank!
    What about all the other ships that have sank with vast loss of life?
    Why do they have to keep on banging on about the same old same old?
    Why don’t they make stories and exhibitions about something new that has not been aired before so to speak.
    Sick and tired of remakes.
    Here all they ever seem to repeat is the Triangle Factory fire. One gets to the point that one couldn’t care less about how many burned at least its quicker than being bored to death by slow degrees!

    Notably they still carried on making that type of bulkhead, many others have gone down for exactly the same reason.

  3. Christina, I’ve never heard of the Triangle Factory fire. Was it really a factory that made small, three-sided musical instruments?

    Janus, sackcloth and ashes is OK, but actually putting on display everything you got wrong? Weird!

  4. I have a sneaking sympathy with Tina’s viewpoint here, Sheona, and like you, I don’t understand why Belfast would want to trumpet this news, except I think there is a horrible fascination with the Titanic, which they are exploiting perhaps?

    I think it has been done to death.

    That said, I understand the problems with communications, and potentially fatal judgements. The Concordia is a more recent point in case.

    In my own limited experience, communications between crew (me) and skipper(husband) on a 69ft narrow boat on the canals was fraught with difficulties, before the invention of the mobile phone.

    Jump he signalled via a small child dashing the length of the boat; get lost, was the response, we are at least twelve feet from a bank full of stinging nettles, and I’m not a gazelle! Get the blooming boat a bit closer!

  5. I think it is something to do with the claim that it was unsinkable. At least it demonstrated many thing that were wrong with ship design at the time. People are fascinated with it as they are, to a lesser extent, with the airship R101, which was “safe except for the millionth chance”, and also crashed on its maiden commercial flight.

  6. Triangle factory made shirtwaist dresses.
    Fire doors locked and others opened inwards, Somewhere on the East side of New York. V famous here, all the fire regulations were changed after this debacle.
    Lots of young lady machinists died rather nastily.

  7. Jay Lenno last night…

    “James Cameron is releasing Titanic in 3D next week.

    First reports are that the effects are so real it’s exactly like being on an Italian cruise liner”

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