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The RMS Titanic and Belfast, Northern Ireland

Did you know that some people blame Belfast for the sinking and tragedy of the Titanic?
\"TitanicTitanic in SouthamptonThe Titanic does not normally need much explanation.  People know about the tragedy that unfolded that chilly night on 14 April 1915 (the ship sank early hours of the 15 April 1915).  But, not everybody knows that the Titanic, the largest passenger steam ship built in her time, was built in the biggest shipyard of its time, and that that shipyard was in Belfast. Belfast was the mecca for shipbuilding in the UK and also the world at that time.   
While Belfast was the largest shipyard of its time, as we also know from our earlier History lesson, Belfast and the north of Ireland was riddled with sectarian strife (Northern Ireland was not created until 1920).  In Belfast, 75% of the inhabitants were Unionist.  As for the men who built the Titanic, they numbered roughly 14,000 and Protestants outnumbered Roman Catholic workers 8 to 1.  They were expected to work 6 very hard days a week and even their time in the toilets was monitored; they were allowed only 7 minutes a day!  It is said that the Titanic was given the number 360604 which when either read backwards as reflected by the water’s surface or when written badly and read through a mirror was said to spell ‘No Pope’.  This is large offence to Roman Catholics and apparently is the reason why the Titanic sank – retribution for the offence caused by those dockers!
 Workers leaving the shipyard; Titanic in background
\"WorkingIf you come to Belfast expecting to see a large area dedicated to the Titanic, you will be sadly disappointed.  Currently, you can see a memorial plaque in Belfast City Hall’s gardens however the signature project ‘Titanic Quarter’ has not yet been fully built (see more info at Areas of Interest in Belfast).  This project is expected to be completed for the 100th year anniversary of the ship’s sinking, although there are some in Belfast that are dubious this deadline will be met.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as why would a city want to lay claim for the building of an “unsinkable” ship that sank on its maiden voyage; the same ship which took 5 years to build but only three hours to sink!
Oh, the Titanic’s number was not 360604 but 401.  Good story, though.
Many thanks for www.channelten.co.uk for some of the factual content. 


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