Monday, November 10, 2014

Titanic expo Brussels

Hi all,

A couple of weeks ago - on Friday 17th of October to be exact - I visited the Titanic expo which is held - after Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Amsterdam - in Brussels from May 31st 2014 untill November 30th 2014. Worldwide the exhibit already received 25 million of visitors. In Brussels more than 150.000 persons paid for a ticket.
The exhibition features a small extra as it told the story of the Belgians on board - due to the research of the journalist Dirk Musschoot : "27 Belgians boarded the Titanic. It could 've been 29 but 2 passengers were refused in Southampton due to an eye illness ... only 7 survived"

We all know how the "unsinkable" ship hit an iceberg on her maiden voyage in the early morning of April 15th 1912. It took 73 years (in 1985) before the wreck was found and now, even more than 100 years later, we are still fascinated by it's history. With a loss of over 1500 persons it is considered to be the biggest maritime disaster in peacetime ... That's why I decided to go and have a look before its closing.

I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't as good (or as bad) as I thought ... maybe I imagined it would be more spectacular but the exhibit is more based on the objects that were salvaged during the 8 times that expeditions were undertaken to find and explore the wreck. It also has a good audio tour (for adults and an adapted one for children) and panels giving some more information about the history of the ship and the objects found.

Titanic was one out of three ships (together with the Olympic and Gigantic) that were designed to be the biggest ships of their time. But ... it wasn't even sure if she would make her first voyage due to a shortage in charcoal (the Great Coal Strike). The amounts used to propel her were enormous. One 30kg chunk of charcoal could boost her for 20 metres. On one day she devoured 600 to 800 tons of charcoal.

Design offices at Harland and Wolff

Titanic's boilers

Titanic's engines and propellors

When entering the exhibition, I received a boarding pass with the name of a passenger (or two if they were in couple) and I got to explore later on if my "character" survived this terrible ordeal.
Here's mine ... guess I was in good company!

I had Mr and Mrs Strauss - 1st class (they were the co-owners of Macy's)
accompagnied by their personal staff - valet John Farthing and maid Ellen Bird
All the way you're guided through the ship ... from the top to the bottom (starting with first class and ending with the machine room and the disaster afterwards).

Here'a a couple of images taken from the web as it was forbidden to take pictures (shame on them because the prices weren't a bargain ... I guess they wanted their exhibition shop to bring in some money as well :-(.

“The First Class public rooms include the dining saloon, reception room, restaurant, lounge, reading and writing room, smoking room, and the verandah cafes and palm courts. Other novel features are the gymnasium, squash racquet court, Turkish and electric baths, and the swimming bath. Magnificent suites of rooms, and cabins of size and style sufficiently diverse to suit the likes and dislikes of any passengers are provided. There is also a barber shop, a darkroom for photographers, a clothes pressing room, a special dining room for maids and valets, a lending library, a telephone system, and a wireless telegraphy installation. Indeed everything has been done in regard to the furniture and fittings to make the first class accommodation more than equal to that provided by the finest hotels on shore.” (taken from the site of Daniel Allen Butler - author of RMS Titanic Remembered).
The price for a first class ticket with the Titanic for New York was 2.500 USD, something like 57.00 USD (or 42.000 EUR) nowadays. The most luxurious cabins were "sold" for 103.000 USD (or 76.000 EUR).

1st class

For a third class ticket one would pay 40 USD, something like 900 USD (or 660 EUR) now. But ... you had to share your cabin with 4 to 10 other people and men and women were often separated which meant that families slept in different rooms.

3rd class

Water was sparse at sea but the first class passengers had hot and cold running water. However, in third class , there were only 2 baths for 700 people (but they were contempt as this was something which wasn't available on the other ocean liners of that time).

Water (1st class)

60 chefs and souschefs worked in the five kitchens of the Titanic. Each division had it's own chef ... soup, meat, desserts, ... you name it they got it! ;-)

1st class ... the greenroom

The Grand Staircase ... can you see Jack and Rose?


And this is how she looks like now ... 

For those wanting more info ...
Quite some usefull and/or interesting info can be found on the English wiki page.
The excellent site from Daniel Allen Butler, a maritime and military historian. Author (through summer 2010) of eight books.
The passenger list (with all those that perished and survived) can be found here. The crew list is here.
And here's also some interesting documentaries to be found on You-Tube:
The making of Titanic

Titanic: Birth of a Legend (half documentary - half dramatised)

Titanic : The Survivor's Story

Titanic : The Untold Stories of the Titanic's Passengers

Treasures of the Titanic

I hope you liked this inside view.

Stay safe!

1 comment:

Giovanna said...

Wow, so interesting - thanks for sharing!