This blog will conclude our exploration of documentaries on the Titanic. This one will feature several documentaries that I found on YouTube with a summary. It took a lot of digging through search results due to the movie. There are also many mini-documentaries available. These mini-docs tackle a variety of topics including what happened to the bridge, Titanic’s children, launching lifeboats, and what happened to the Titanic’s bodies. Share these documentaries with a class or have a substitute teacher show them off. Use these documentaries or clips from these documentaries at your discretion. If you can afford it, purchase these documentaries for your classroom library, support the historians who work tirelessly to bring us quality material.
There are hundreds of stories that have come out of Titanic and thousands of more theories. Did week rivet heads cause the ship to sink? Was there a design flaw in the ship that caused it to break apart? Why were there not enough lifeboats? Before the Carpathia reached New York there were already questions. The United States had their inquiry about the sinking and then the British had their inquiry about the sinking. The official line was that the Titanic sunk in one piece, despite what the passengers said. Bob Ballard confirmed the passengers' observations when he discovered the wreck. Expeditions after brought up artifacts from the wreck. That stirred up debate as to whether or not Titanic should be treated as a gravesite or whether artifacts should be brought up to preserve them.
Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved - YouTube
Even at 100 years old the Titanic is still revealing its mysteries. A new expedition goes to the wreck site to map out the whole area. Did Titanic have a fatal flaw that doomed her to sink? This is a follow-up to the expedition that found two pieces of Titanic bottom on the ocean floor. The expedition approaches their hypothesis about the Titanic the same way air crash investigators. They put the ship together in a virtual hanger. This expedition not only finds missing pieces of the Titanic but also puts together a site survey map for a future expedition. They were looking for where the ship broke apart.
Titanic Discovery: Professor Robert Ballard - YouTube
Bob Ballard became a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. He did this lecture at the University of Rhode Island. He discusses the discovery of the ship as well as how the ship can be preserved.
Titanic: The Nightmare and the Dream - YouTube
This documentary was filmed in 1986 and it is about the Discovery of the Titanic. Bob Ballard had worked with the Navy to discover the vessel at the bottom.
Titanic - YouTube
In 1997 Titanic came out and was the highest-grossing film in the world at the time. James Cameron, the director, assembles a team to look at the sinking of the Titanic. This documentary came out in 2012 to coincide with the anniversary of the sinking.
Who Sank the Titanic - YouTube
This documentary is about the human errors that lead to the sinking of the Titanic. This docu-drama features the officers’ decisions on board as well as the materials used to build the Titanic to determine whether or not the ship could have avoided its fate.
Titanic’s Missing Pieces – YouTube
In 2005 two pieces of Titanic bottom were discovered by an expedition to the ship. This expedition was lead by explorers Chatterton and Kohler. It was a discovery that sent shockwaves through the Titanic community. What could these two pieces reveal about Titanic’s final moments?
Titanic Anatomy of a Disaster – YouTube
This is a 1997 Documentary about the Titanic disaster. It explores the wreck to solve the mysteries of her sinking.
Titanic: Secrets Revealed is an older documentary. When the Titanic sank she left a lot of mysteries. Was there a cover-up of the sinking? Did her owners commit insurance fraud and sink her deliberately? Was the sinking a hoax? This is a documentary you need to take with a grain of salt, however, to keep up with the Titanic theme for April I am sharing this documentary.
Edith Haisman was fifteen when she boarded the Titanic. She was in awe of the ship when she boarded it. The Titanic set the bar for style and elegance. Competition between the shipping companies was fierce. J. Bruce Ismay wanted a piece of the Atlantic pie and felt he could get a piece of that pie by building luxurious ships.
Titanic was 900 feet long and 220 feet high. Her interior was the best in the world. The builders spared no expense. She only had three screws and three propellers. Did these propellers factor into the sinking? Maybe because it made her slow to turn.
Eva Hart and her family were originally going to go to America on the Philadelphia. However, due to the coal strike, the passengers who were scheduled to sail on other ships soon found themselves boarding the Titanic. Conveniently, the coal from other ships was transferred to the Titanic.
John Jacob Astor and his young wife invited Molly Brown to come along with them on the Titanic. In the bowels of the ship, third-class passengers were kept. George Vanderbilt was supposed to sail on the Titanic, but he canceled at the last minute. It would prove to save his life.
Eva Hart remembers her mother had a sense of dread about the Titanic. Although her father tried to reassure her mother, it was a feeling that stuck. Another premonition was the fire that was discovered in a coal bunker. The near-collision with the New York also gave passenger pause. It also annoyed J. Bruce Ismay as the Olympic had a similar event happen with a British Navy vessel. The Navy vessel was drawn into the side of the Olympic carving a hole into the ship.
The voyage continued and everyone enjoyed themselves. The sea was calm but the temperature had dropped. The officers in the crows' nest had trouble seeing. Passengers would have commented on the chill in the air. Ice warnings came through to the Marconi operators. Unfortunately, they were busy sending messages on behalf of the passengers. Many of the messages did not make it to the bridge. In this documentary, did Ismay push Captain Smith to go faster? Passengers commented that Ismay had made comments about beating Olympic’s record for speed.
Suddenly, the men in the crows’ nest saw the iceberg. The ship attempted to turn, unfortunately, the Titanic struck the iceberg. Eva Hart and Edith Haisman were sleeping when the Titanic hit the iceberg. The ship designer, Thomas Andrews went down to inspect the damage. The hull was damaged on over two hundred feet of the hull.
To continue to learn more about the Titanic, continue to watch.
BEWARE, there are some shaking issues with the documentary. The video shakes periodically during the documentary. It was transferred from a VHS tape to a digital format and then to YouTube. There is also a nasty tone to the video, especially from the narrator and some of the participants. It was grating and condensing at times. It could be as a result of what was known about the Titanic at the time. As I said at the start this is an older documentary and there have been new discoveries about the Titanic.
You can access the YouTube documentary here.
In 2012, the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic’s Sinking occurred. It was also a year that produced a lot of documentaries. This documentary explores the world of the shipyard that built the Titanic. Belfast underwent many changes to get the Titanic built and was deeply impacted by its loss. Two experts make their way to Belfast, Ireland where the Titanic was built. The harbor Belfast is alongside was transformed into a ship-building factory.
Harlan and Wolf were based in Belfast. Its buildings were long abandoned. The story begins with the rivalry between Cunard Line and the White Star Line. Cunard built two of the fastest ships in the world while White Star focused on luxury. They wanted to build three ships. The head of Harlan and Wolf was ambitious and wanted to build the biggest ship in the world. The Titanic would boast nine decks and could hold over 3,000 people.
In the old Harland and Wolf offices, the blueprints for the Titanic are discovered. Everything needed to build the Titanic was decided in Belfast. So why did Harlan and Wolf want to build the biggest ship in the world? He wanted to make money off the immigrants as well as the wealthy people. He wanted the prestige for building the biggest ship in the world.
Belfast grew as a result. Shipbuilding was always a part of Belfast’s history, however with the demands of Harlan and Wolf, there needed to be changed to Belfast. The city authorities had to redesign the harbor. The river was narrow and shallow so it was dredged out. They made an artificial island to help build large ships. It was all hand done. It was the world’s ship builders.
The gantry was the next thing built and it was the biggest in the world. The cement pad remains of the structure as well as the stumps of the gantry. The gantry was noisy and dangerous at the same time. Visitors to Belfast could hear the work being done by the ship workers. Ship workers went deaf as a result of their work. A majority of the workers came from East Belfast.
As a result of building the Titanic, the city grew. New churches and schools were built, new industries came in. At the time, the shipyard was the main employer. 15,000 workers were employed to build the Titanic and the Olympic. Over three million rivets were used to hold the Titanic together. Three cranes also remain from when the Titanic was built.
Eventually, the workers were done building the outer hull of the Titanic. Titanic was ready to be launched. This could prove dangerous to the workers as she was sitting on wooden slips. They had to be knocked out by hand by the workers before she would slip out of her slipway. It took 62 seconds for her to slip in the water. One man was killed during her launch. The next step was to put the funnels on, get the anchors set, put the engines and boilers in. The engines were the largest ever built.
To continue to learn more about the Titanic continue to watch the documentary.
It is a fascinating look at the city that built the Titanic. They walk the streets of Belfast, show where Harlan and Wolf were original. They even walk the yard where the Titanic was built and found rivets. It is an interesting thought that the rivets could potentially be from the Titanic. I would recommend using this documentary for research purposes. This documentary is slow-paced and was more about Belfast and the building process rather than the Titanic.
You can access the YouTube video here.
Another day, another Titanic documentary. Like Henry VIII, Titanic has an inexhaustible supply of documentaries. This is a docu-drama about what it took to attempt to save the Titanic. It is called Saving the Titanic. It about the crew members who tried to save the ship. In the days after the Titanic’s sinking, the heroism of the crew took center stage. The surviving crew members were subpoenaed for their testimony during the Titanic Inquiry. This docu-drama is based on the words of the surviving crew members.
Their story opens with practicing a lifeboat drill, which consists of the men getting called to lifeboats and just standing in the engine room before being ordered back to work. Titanic is undergoing sea trials and the engine room is under the command of Thomas Bell. His younger son, an engineer is demonstrating his knowledge of the engines for Bell who is impressed by the lad’s knowledge. He continues to tour the engine room and leads the engineer to the boiler room.
A pair of engineers climb up the fourth funnel to see the crowds that are sending Titanic off on her maiden voyage. The Fourth Funnel was a dummy funnel because the public associated four funnels with speed. Lusitania and Mauretania had four funnels and they were the greyhounds of the sea. The Titanic clears the ship of its visitors before setting off on the maiden voyage. The Titanic plans to sail at noon. Thomas Bell’s son leaves the ship while Bell investigates a coal fire. This was a common occurrence in the age of steam. The Titanic had loaded up cheap coal into the ship as the result of the coal strike occurring at the time.
The narrator talks about the working men who staffed the engine rooms. Four out of five members of the crew came out of Southhampton. When the Titanic went down, it had a devastating effect on the community. Every school-aged child in Southhampton lost someone on the Titanic when it went down in April 1912. The engine room and boiler room crew were housed in the front of the ship, another clear picture of the class structure on Titanic. Titanic’s construction began in 1909 in Belfast. It was born out of the conflict between the Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants. These tensions boiled over to the crew. There were fights between the Protestant and Catholic crew members. Bell intervenes reminding the crew that he will not tolerate fighting on the ship. If the crew was caught fighting, they would be punished with double shifts. In one instance a man was punished with eight hours in the coal bunker.
The producers of this documentary did a fantastic job recreating the engine room and boiler room of the Titanic as well as showing the conditions the men worked under. The actors did a job of portraying the crew members who worked in the bowels of the Titanic. It was also fascinating to learn about the issues that the crew members brought with them when they boarded the Titanic to work. This is a documentary that does not focus on the rich and famous on board the Titanic but the working men who stoked the fires.
To continue to learn more about what it took to save the Titanic continue to watch the documentary.
This would be another fantastic documentary to show in the classroom. You could pair it with Waking the Titanic or a documentary about the discovery of the Titanic. If a student was researching Titanic for a project then you could point them to this documentary and the other ones I am sharing on this blog.
You can access the YouTube video here.
Today we are continuing with our Titanic documentary blogging. Today is an episode of Time Watch about the Titanic called “Myths of Titanic.” Over the years, there have been more devastating shipwrecks including the Atlantic, Empress of Ireland, Lusitania, and the Wilhelm Gustloff. The first myth of Titanic was that it was unsinkable. However, when she hit the iceberg and sank she captured everyone’s imagination.
The Edwardian Period has captured everyone’s imagination. The rich passengers also captured the imagination of the people. The Astor’s, Guggenheim’s, Strauss, and nobility lived lives that ordinary people could only dream of. There were severe divides between the classes. Everybody knew their place on board the ship.
The Countess of Rothes was making her way to America. Her husband was there and she wanted to reunite with him. Molly Brown was high society, her family was self-made after discovering the richest vein of silver in the country. However, the old-established money treated her poorly. It was only after the Titanic’s sinking she was welcomed into upper society.
There was a nip in the air outside, however, it was warm in the ship. Sunday services were just held and the passengers took a stroll around the deck. It was a peaceful voyage. At least until the telegraph operators received warnings of ice ahead. These messages were passed to Captain Smith, who regarded icebergs as a natural hazard. The crows' nest suddenly spotted a large iceberg and radioed the bridge. However it was too late, the iceberg had sliced open the Titanic.
Titanic myths immediately started. One of the earliest stories was that the Titanic did not hit the iceberg and that all passengers were safe. Other stories included the rich men helping women and children into the lifeboats. The Countess of Rothes was in her cabin when the iceberg hit. She made her way to the deck but did not worry that the ship was sinking.
It was a story where the first-class men and officers had a monopoly on heroism. The press described the third-class men as animals who had to be beaten back by the officers. More men from First Class survived than children from third class. Captain Smith was regarded as a hero because he went down with his ship. It is hard to challenge that myth, the myth factory generated the story about this brave man. He had songs written about him. He had a bronze statue. However, with time and reflection, Captain Smith is shown to have failed his passengers. He ignored ice warnings.
Hollywood also developed more myths about the Titanic. Titanic which came out in the 1950s said if you died on the Titanic you were a hero. It was a fictional story about an aristocratic man who redeems himself by saving his American wife and children. By sacrificing himself, he had saved his marriage. American values were on full display in the movie. Another British Titanic movie put Officer Lightoller at the forefront and myths about him grew from there.
Then there is J. Bruce Ismay, who is the villain of the story. He got into a lifeboat and got away. William Randolph Hearst made sure that Ismay’s reputation was destroyed. The media said that he was responsible for the lack of lifeboats or ordering the Titanic to keep the speeds up. That he dressed like a woman to get off. The passengers even said that they overheard Ismay order the ship to speed up. He was known as “J. Brute Ismay.” His crime was that he survived and would spend the rest of his life being haunted by what happened.
To continue to learn more about the myths about Titanic continue to watch the documentary.
You can access the YouTube video here.
To continue with our Titanic documentary blogs we will turn to another documentary on the Titanic. This time it is the Words of the Titanic. This documentary features the words and documents of the survivors of the Titanic played by a variety of actors and relatives of the survivors or crew members. It is narrated by Charles Dance.
New York and London were linked by the shipping routes. They were the richest cities in the world. Titanic would help maintain that link.
Second Officer Charles Lightoller kicks off the documentary discussing the sea trials of the Titanic. He said it took him fourteen days to learn to navigate the decks of the ship comfortably. He was Titanic’s second officer. He was proud to be a part of the ship’s crew. He talks about how there was a stop in the action when the Titanic hit the iceberg. It was an unexpected stop.
Violet Jessup was the second voice of the documentary. She moved to Ireland in search of work and she was a stewardess. She speaks about the crew and how they marveled about the ship and the areas of the ship. She was also a stewardess on the Olympic and a nurse on the Britannic. She is one of two survivors who sailed on all three ships. She was one of 900 crew members and she describes the crew as a big family. A steward grabbed a hold of Violet Jessup to get her onto the deck.
Lawrence Beesley was a second-class passenger who survived. He was on his first foreign trip. He paid 13 pounds, which is 1,000 pounds today for a second-class cabin. He gushes about the looks of the ship as well as the media activities on board before the voyage commenced. He talks about how the collision felt. He investigated what happened and was pointed to the iceberg. Beesley went out to investigate and was shocked to find that the deck was covered in ice.
Archibald Gracie, a first-class passenger, found the wealth on board the Titanic extravagant. He even suggested that the Almighty would want to punish the ship for the wealth. He discusses his daily activities including using the Titanic’s pool for swimming. It was the best swim he had ever had.
Elizabeth Schultes, a first-class passenger and a governess for a family discuss how cold it was and how it woke her up. It made her nervous. The crew members assured her that there was no danger. However, she was suspicious of his words and listened in on a conversation where the same crew member said that “They can keep the water out for a time.”
Charles Dance narrates the story of the Titanic in between the readings. He discusses the near incident with the ship New York. The weather was commented on, with an ominous tone. Then he talks about the unusual seas coming up. At about 20 minutes before midnight, the Titanic hit an iceberg. Titanic then sent out a distress call. Passengers were then shuffled out to the deck with their life jackets.
It is a fantastic documentary using primary sources to retell the story of the Titanic. The teacher could discuss the use of primary documents in historic research. It would be appropriate to show in April, however, I could foresee using this documentary at the start of the school year to teach how to use primary sources in research. You could use this documentary as inspiration for a potential assignment where students could do a video reading/acting out the primary sources they find.
Continue to watch this documentary to find out what happened and how the survivors got off or survived the Titanic.
You can access the YouTube video here.
It is April and it is the month Titanic sank. I thought to share some documentaries on the Titanic. In 2021, it will be the 109th Anniversary of the sinking. Waking the Titanic is the story about the Addergoole 14. They wanted to seek their fortunes in America. They were among the poorest to board the Titanic. Fourteen young people went to America onboard the Titanic and only three survived. It was a devastating blow to their community. Addergoole went silent after this tragedy. This docu-drama is narrated by Allan Leech.
The Addergoole passengers were John and Catherine Bourke, Mary Bourke, Mary Canavan, Patrick Canavan, Bridget Donohoe, Honor Fleming, James Flynn, Anne Kelly, Bridget Mahon, Mary Mangan, Delia McDermott, Catherine McGowan, and Anna McGowan. This documentary also reached out to the families of the fourteen to discuss the story of the Addergoole 14. It is the first time in one hundred years that these families and the village are telling this story.
Life in 1912 Ireland was hard. Families and communities banded together to help survive. Half the Irish population immigrated. However, to thrive, many Irish people left Ireland for America. Jobs and land were limited to these poor communities and leaving was the only option. The girls were sent to America and communicated home as often as they could. Families would gather together to read the latest news from America. Families would display the letters and photographs from their loved on. The immigrants also sent money back home to bring other family members over.
The news media pressed people to immigrate. The shipping companies competed with each other to get people on board their ships. The price of a third-class ticket was seven pounds sterling, which today is the equivalent of 700 pounds sterling. Shipping companies made a majority of their profits on steerage or third-class passengers – mainly immigrants. For Titanic, the third class was just as good as a second class on other ships. It would take three years to save for a voyage on the Titanic.
The group was led by Catherine McGowan. She had come back to Ireland to bring her niece back to Chicago. She was the epitome of success to the village. She started recruiting additional people to come with her and Annie. Catherine could set them all up with jobs in Chicago. Several members of the group planned on going to America, however, decided to travel with McGowan because there was safety in numbers.
Before the group went off their families had wakes. Immigrating was like death since the families would never see their family members again. There were fourteen wakes held in Addergole to mourn the leaving of the group. Afterward, the group packed up for their trip and spent time with their families. They then boarded a train for Southhampton and then onto the Titanic. It was a journey of many firsts, the first time they left their homes. It was the first time they had their room, let alone a bed, the first time they used silver cutlery, and the first time they saw electricity.
To learn who survived the Titanic’s sinking, continue to watch the documentary.
This documentary is worth sharing with a class when your students learn about the Titanic. It was in third grade when I first heard about the Titanic. You can show this documentary to a wide variety of age groups. It tells the story of the real people who boarded the Titanic. When April 12 comes around, then you can put this documentary up for your students. If you need a filler for a substitute teacher, then have them show this documentary.
You can access the YouTube video here.
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