Titanic connections to Liverpool
Although she never visited Liverpool, Titanic had strong links with her home port. 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.
The organisation of Titanic's 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 Dr Alan Scarth, which contains a lot of recent research into the full story of the Titanic tragedy and its connections with Liverpool, is available to buy from the online shop.
Stern of Olympic/Titanic model,showing propellers and name 'TITANIC LIVERPOOL'. Accession number 51.36
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.
The Maritime Archives and Library also hold a lot of relevant material about the Titanic, including the only surviving first class ticket. You can read more online, with information sheet number 41: RMS Titanic.
Read the full story in the Titanic and Liverpool book, which is available to buy from the online shop.
There are regular free events, talks and roleplayer performances about the Titanic. Further details and upcoming dates are in our Titanic events programme.