This documentary came up on my suggestions a few months ago and I immediately was hooked. This was an individual who took it upon himself to put together a documentary about a tragic shipwreck called the SS Atlantic.
Thomas Lynskey, the narrator had wrote and research this shipwrecked, as well as visited the site in Canada. The SS Atlantic isn't as well known as wrecks like the Titanic or Lusitania. The seas were rough and the ship was delayed. The coal stores were running low, or were they? Rather than take the risk, the ship pulled into another harbor during a storm...this was when tragedy struck. The ship hit a rock and started to sink on its side. No women and one child survived and only a couple hundred men survived. Lynskey explores the the history of this wreck as well as the site of the wreck.
Lynskey, hits on the history of the White Star Line and the different ships that were built before the SS Atlantic. Then goes into details how ship design evolved over the years before the 1870's. Even though the ships of the day were powered by steam power, passengers still found comfort in sailing on ships with a full compliment of sail. The sails could be unfurled and the ship could sail under wind power when the coal ran out. The SS Atlantic was part of the Oceanic Class. Passenger areas were now separate from crew areas. There were electric buzzers installed for cabin class passengers and the quarters were still lit by oil lamps. There were indoor toilets for the passengers. The hull was bigger, which allowed her to carry more people. She was one of the fastest ships on the Atlantic.
The 19th Voyage started like normal. Passengers boarded and saw the name plate of the ship. The found their cabins and settled in for the voyage. There were delays due to storms over the voyage which made the ship burn more coal. John Foxley, the chief engineer, kept reporting the coal reserves. Foxley was the one who reported to the captain that the coal reserves were low, which caused the captain of the Atlantic to divert to get more coal. The ship was diverted to Halifax to pick up more supplies. Halifax has a reputation for being a difficult harbor to get into with hidden rocks and strong currents. However the storms caused the Atlantic to divert off course and they ran aground...
To find out more about what happened to the Atlantic continue to watch the documentary.
I would recommend using this for research for a lecture on immigration and ocean travel, but if you needed a filler for a day with a sub, use this video in your classroom. Lynskey is a fantastic narrator for this documentary and the animations of the shipwreck are well done. Even if you don't use it in a classroom, it's a well done documentary.
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You can find the link for the YouTube video here.
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