Titanic & Liverpool: the untold story- steam whistle

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The Willet Bruce Tri-Tone steam whistle from the ship MV Britannic (1930-1960) is one of the objects which is on display in the Titanic & Liverpool: the untold story exhibition. This photo shows it being installed in 2012

The steam whistles for Olympic and Titanic were the largest ever made at the time and could be heard for over a distance of 11 miles. This whistle is the same type as those found on Olympic and Titanic but it is quarter their size.

It was designed by William Joseph Willet Bruce who was a manager and engineers superintendent of White Star Line’s workshops on Strand Road, Bootle.

The steam whistle, which weighs just over quarter of a ton, was made by local firm Chadburn’s; William Chadburn lived at 15 Beach Lawn, Crosby which was two doors away from Thomas Ismay’s home who was the then chairman of White Star Line.

There were many Liverpool firms involved in supplying fittings and materials for the construction of Olympic and Titanic. One example is Thomas Utley & Company of Silverdale Avenue who made Titanic’s bells and more than 1200 portholes each for both ships. You can find out more about the local firms in the book ‘Titanic and Liverpool’ by Dr Alan Scarth which offers an excellent insight into Titanic’s Liverpool links and whose research formed the basis of the content for this exhibition.


 The steam whistle being displayed for the exhibition