Thursday, November 08, 2007

And then there was one...

The Titanic sailing from Southampton
10 April 1912

Barbara West Dainton (96) the second to the last living survivor of the Titanic disaster has reposed. This leaves only one known survivor of the epic catastrophe still among the quick. Ms. Dainton was traveling to America with her family at the time and making the passage on the maiden voyage of the world's largest ocean liner must have been seen as quite a treat for the family. She was too young to recall the accident and always avoided discussing it later in life. However various family sources report that after the ship hit an iceberg her father behaved in exactly the manner expected of an English gentleman of that era. He put his family into a lifeboat and waived goodbye from the deck of the sinking liner. His body was not recovered. More than 1500 people were lost in the ice cold waters of the North Atlantic when the Titanic sank a little over two hours after hitting the berg.

The ship was a marvel of luxury and modern engineering at the time. She was almost 900 feet long and 13 stories from her keel to the top deck. Her three massive propellers could mover her at a very respectable speed of around 22 knots. She boasted such amenities as a French style sidewalk cafe, squash and racquetball courts, an indoor swimming pool and electric elevators. Her 16 watertight compartments that could be closed off from each other by reinforced steel watertight doors were thought to make the ship virtually unsinkable. However the watertight bulkheads did not extent to the top deck. While the ship was said to be able to float with any two or three of her compartments flooded (a worst case scenario in the minds of her builders) the collision opened up her first five compartments to the sea. Tragically the ship carried only enough lifeboats for a little over a thousand people. Even given this terrible discrepancy many of the early boats launched left with room to spare. Of the 2200+ passengers and crew aboard only 705 survived.

Since childhood I have had something of a fascination with the doomed liner. Because her service life was so very short and given the age she was built in there are relatively few pictures of the Titanic around. Many photos of her nearly identical sister ship the Olympic are occasionally mistaken for the Titanic. For those interested I am going post some of the few known pictures of the Titanic below. You may click on any of the photos to see it full sized.

The Titanic dressed in holiday regalia for Good Friday 1912 four days before sailing on her maiden voyage. This is the only known photograph of the ship with all her flags and pennants up.

The starboard boat deck probably taken during the passage from Cherbourg to Queenstown Ireland (modern day Cove)

Titanic's propeller shaft under construction in Belfast N. Ireland

The Titanic's propellers while under construction in Belfast N.Ireland

The Titanic on the stocks while under construction

Titanic fitting out at Harland & Wolfe after her launch. The forward section of her promenade deck would eventually be glassed in (see the picture at the top of the post) to protect passengers during inclement weather. This was one of the few features distinguishing her from Olympic.

The Grand Staircase made famous in the romantic film drama with Leonardo DiCaprio. The elaborate wood carving around the clock was supposed to represent Honor and & Glory crowning Time.

The top of the Grand Staircase under the stained glass dome over the First Class Foyer. The windows look out onto the boat deck.

The First Class Smoking Lounge. Men only of course...

The First Class Lounge

The Palm Court a popular place for afternoon tea

The French style Cafe Parisean

One of only three known photographs of the massive Jacobin style First Class Dining Saloon

This is believed to be the only existing photograph of the Titanic's First Class Dining Room during a meal. Given what appears to be daylight it is likely that it was taken during the lunch served on the 11th of April en route to Queenstown.

First Class dinner menu (almost certainly a reproduction but included to provide some flavor)

The Turkish baths. This is one case where the black & white really does not do the subject justice. The baths were incredibly gaudy and would have fit in well with any Rudolph Valentino movie set.

The gymnasium with its electric rowing and riding machines. There was a large map on the wall that was updated daily with the Titanic's position for passengers keep track of. The odd looking riding machine in the far corner was an electric camel.

Stateroom B-57

Bedroom of stateroom B-58

Stateroom B-59

The bedroom of stateroom B-64

The Second Class lounge

Second Class dinner menu.

The 3rd class (steerage) common room. Compared to most other steamers of the period the 3rd class accommodations in the Olympic class ships were considered quite decent. Of course the standard steerage ticket covered meals but not access to the lifeboats in case the ship sinks. The loss of life among the poor immigrants in steerage was appalling.

The 3rd class dining room.


Suzunoharu said...

Even if it's posted years ago, thank you very much for sharing all these rare photos. It is very, very much appreciated.

Christina said...

JUst found this post looking for information on the Titanic for a tea party of all things- what a wonderful wealth of facts and haunting photos!