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.
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