Titanic and Liverpool
The city's connections to the tragedy are explored in the current exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story, which opened to mark the centenary of the loss of the ship.
Although she never visited Liverpool, Titanic had strong links with her home port, as Dr Alan Scarth mentions in this short excerpt from a talk he gave in 2011.
Read a transcript of this audio clip.
Titanic's managing company, the White Star Line, had its head office in James Street, Liverpool. White Star's main New York service sailed from Liverpool until 1907, when it was transferred to Southampton. This was partly due to the competition of the new Cunard liners Lusitania and Mauretania, both sailing from Liverpool from that year.
Although Titanic didn't visit the city, the organisation of her maiden voyage, including the selection of her officers, was overseen by Charles Bartlett, White Star’s marine superintendent at Liverpool. At least ninety members of Titanic’s crew on that tragic voyage (about 1 in 10) were from Merseyside or had close links with the area. Most of her key officers and crew had originally sailed from Liverpool for White Star, and many still lived there in 1912.
Titanic and Liverpool book
This book by curator Dr Alan Scarth, which contains a lot of new research into the full story of the Titanic tragedy and its connections with Liverpool, is available to buy from the online shop.
Did you know ?
- Captain Smith of Titanic was based on Merseyside for 40 years. He lived in Waterloo, near Liverpool, before moving to Southampton in 1908.
- The eight heroic musicians in Titanic’s band were recruited by music agents CW and FN Black of 14 Castle Street, Liverpool.
- Fred Clarke of 22 Tunstall Street, Smithdown Road, Liverpool, was bass violist with the ship's band, who famously kept playing while the Titanic sank.
- Titanic’s huge kitchen ranges were made by Henry Wilson and Company, Cornhill Works, Liverpool.
- The long passageway connecting crew quarters deep below on Titanic was called 'Scotland Road' by the crew, probably after the famous Liverpool thoroughfare of that name.
- The Liverpool-based Cunard liner Carpathia rescued all 705 survivors of the Titanic disaster.
- J Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, had a fine house, Sandheys, in Mossley Hill, south Liverpool. He escaped from Titanic by climbing into one of the last lifeboats to be lowered, but only after helping many other passengers into boats. Ismay’s reputation was badly damaged by his survival of Titanic, especially following his very harsh treatment in the US press. This is unfortunate in view of his many achievements before and after the disaster.
- Fred Fleet, Titanic’s lookout who spotted the iceberg, was originally from Liverpool. He always said that if he had been supplied with binoculars the ship might have been saved.
Stern of Olympic/Titanic model, showing propellers and name 'TITANIC LIVERPOOL'. Accession number 51.36