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Titanic Liverpool Tour

Posted on Dec 31, 2017 by in Liverpool tours | 8 comments

Titanic was a Liverpool ship.

Our Titanic Liverpool Tour follows the ghosts that still haunt her historic port of registry – a home she never got to visit, but which contains deep traces of her brief life.

Titanic on arrival at Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland, showing her name and Liverpool as port of registry on her stern.  This was to be her final calling point.

A Titanic tour of Liverpool today yields many surviving signs of this most enigmatic vessel – some magnificent, some modest, and some gone or about to disappear forever. 

Liverpool’s Titanic Monument to the Engine Room Heroes Pic (c)

Titanic was built in Belfast, sailed from Southampton, and was owned and registered in Liverpool by the White Star Line of 30 James Street, her name inscribed directly above the city’s on her stern.

Titanic HQ – Global Head office of the Oceanic Steamship Company, better known as the White Star Line, at 30 James Street, Liverpool.  Rival shipping line Cunard’s historic HQ is on the far left.  Pic (c)

Titanic’s headquarters still stand proudly on Liverpool’s waterfront Strand, almost opposite the historic head offices of White Star’s formidable rival – and nemesis, Cunard.

Cunard – White Star’s nemesis, Titanic’s rescuer. Cunard’s beautiful HQ was built in 1914, 2 years after the loss of rival White Star’s flagship. Titanic’s survivors all owed their lives to Cunard’s RMS Carpathia. Cunard would steadily eclipse the White Star, and within 20 years Titanic’s old line was effectively controlled from this building. Pic (c)

Both these great Liverpool shipping lines, White Star and Cunard, are central to the Titanic story, and their magnificent HQ buildings demonstrate the confidence of this lost era.

Mercedes Viano MPV at Liverpool's Pier Head

Titanic tour of Liverpool – our Share the City tour vehicle outside Cunard-White Star’s historic HQ in Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pic (c)

Just as new babies are documented at their parents’ nearest registry office, Titanic’s legal existence began here in Liverpool on the 25th of March 1912, when she was entered in the port’s Statutory Register of Merchant Ships beneath the great dome of the 1828 Georgian Customs House,

Titanic’s place of registry in 1912 – Liverpool Customs House, superb artistic visualisation by (c) Ed Farrell of

Titanic’s registration in Liverpool, which forever bestowed the city’s name alongside hers, was signed by Harold Arthur Sanderson, White Star’s General Manager, who had overseen her construction, and sailed on Titanic’s delivery voyage.

Titanic’s ‘Birth Certificate’ – Titanic was registered by Harold Sanderson on the 25th March 1912 beneath the dome of Liverpool’s Georgian Customs House, tragically firebombed in WW2 and subsequently demolished.  The original documents survive in Merseyside’s Maritime Museum.

Sanderson and the White Star Line’s owner, J. Bruce Ismay, were friends who lived in adjacent mansions, Holmfield and Sandheys, in the south Liverpool district of Mossley Hill.

Holmfield, White Star Line General Manager Harold Sanderson’s mansion, who oversaw Titanic’s construction, signed her certificate of registration and sailed on the delivery voyage.  Pic (c) Mr Ronald May, Images of England.

Sandheys has gone, but Holmfield House survives in good condition.  Also nearby is Sudley, a very similar mercantile home to Sandheys, belonging to George Holt, founder of the Lamport and Holt shipping line and brother of Blue Funnel Line founder Alfred.

Sandheys – Titanic Owner Ismay’s south Liverpool House at the time of the disaster (from Oldham Ismay Line, p19 of Alan Scarth’s brilliant Titanic and Liverpool book).  Today Rangemore and Tullimore Roads bound the site.

Happily, Sudley is today a national public gallery, offering a window on the cultured lifestyle of Liverpool’s Victorian shipping magnates.

Sudley House is ‘next door’ to Titanic owner Ismay’s lost Sandheys estate, and also White Star manager Sanderson’s Holmfield.  Sudley, now a public art gallery, gives an atmospheric insight into the lives of Liverpool’s super-rich Victorian shipping families. Pic (c) Wikipedia.

Just 15 nights after her registration, Titanic would lie on the seabed of the north Atlantic with the mortal remains of so many souls still on board, infamous among the worst maritime disasters of all time.

Titanic survivor's Lifejacket and Lifeboat nameplate

Titanic Survivor’s Life Vest and Titanic Lifeboat Nameplate on display in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum – salvaged by Mr Ernest Sinclair of Liverpool, who was a 19 year old waiter aboard the rescue ship, Cunard’s Carpathia.  To the left are two ‘thole pins’ from the Titanic lifeboat – the pivots on which the oars rotate. Pic (c)

Titanic’s hull had been launched ten months before her registration, from Slipway 3 at Harland and Wolff’s Queens Yard on 31st May 1911, a half day sail from Liverpool and now the site of the captivating Titanic Belfast museum, and also of the only White Star vessel still in existence today, ‘Nomadic’, which ferried passengers on board Titanic at Cherbourg in France.

Titanic’s birthplace at Slipway 3 of Harland and Wolff’s Queens Yard is now the site of the astonishing Titanic Belfast museum and of ‘Nomadic’, the last surviving White Star ship in the world, which took Titanic passengers aboard at Cherbourg. Pic (c) Titanic Foundation

Titanic’s hull was launched with her almost identical older sister RMS Olympic in attendance, fresh from successful sea trials in Belfast Lough.

Titanic’s brand new twin sister RMS Olympic, Captained by Edward Smith, visits her Liverpool port of registry the day after Titanic’s launch in Belfast, 31st May 1911.

With (future Titanic Captain) Edward Smith in command, Olympic then sailed to Liverpool and the world’s largest liner was opened for public visits on 1st June.  On board was New York financier J. P. Morgan, who had bought out the White Star Line in 1901, White Star owner J. Bruce Ismay, and Titanic’s designer Thomas Andrews.

Titanic’s twin sister Olympic visits Liverpool on 31st May 1911, after attending Titanic’s launch. Wirral artist Robert Lloyd’s superb painting brilliantly captures the precise moment of White Star’s zenith, and perhaps Liverpool’s, with the new Pier Head buildings (Cunard’s yet to come) somewhat dwarfing White Star’s HQ, red, far right. (c) Robert Lloyd and Hansen Fine Art.

Many of Olympic’s senior crew would be transferred to Titanic to oversee her maiden voyage – and many would thus perish on that terrible ‘night to remember’, 15th April 1912.  As Olympic went to work, fitting out of Titanic’s floating hull continued throughout 1911, and the keel of the third sister, Brittanic was laid down on Titanic’s vacated slipway.

Titanic’s other twin Britannic, commissioned in Liverpool in December 1915 – at 48,158 tonnes, the biggest ship in the world.  Note the large number of lifeboats – bitter lessons having been learned from Titanic’s loss.

Titanic’s younger twin Britannic would be officially commissioned in Liverpool in December 1915, not as the glamorous liner White Star intended (she never carried a fare-paying passenger), but in the life saving role of His Majesty’s Hospital Ship.

Titanic’s ‘future captain’ and Captain of her sister Brittanic, Charles ‘Iceberg’ Bartlett, went on to be Commodore of the White Star Line. He lived at 15 Victoria Road in Waterloo, Crosby, an elegant suburb north of Liverpool.

Britannic set sail on her maiden voyage without ceremony under Captain Charles ‘Iceberg’ Bartlett, once the near neighbour of Captain Smith in Crosby – indeed White Star had planned for Bartlett to succeed Smith as Titanic Captain following the maiden voyage.

Titanic ornate ventilation grille, salvaged from the ship wreck

One of Titanic’s ornate lead ventilation grilles, salvaged from the wreck and on display in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum. Pic (c)

In her short service Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship on the planet.

A century on she remains the most infamous, immortalised in legends, the best known ship since Noah’s Ark.  

Here is our initial selection of Titanic locations in Liverpool – there are many more to come, and your suggestions and comments are very welcome.

1. Titanic’s Headquarters – Albion House, 30 James Street, Global Centre of the White Star Line

The White Star shone across the world from 30 James Street, Liverpool, Titanic’s global headquarters.

Titanic HQ – Global Head office of the Oceanic Steamship Company, better known as the White Star Line, at 30 James Street, Liverpool (Built 1896, now a hotel – note the rooftop bar). Rival shipping line Cunard’s historic HQ is on the far left. Pic (c)

As in today’s Seattle or Silicon Valley, great commercial rivals were controlled from the same city – in fact overlooked the same street, Liverpool’s waterside Strand.

Titanic’s HQ at White Star’s Head Office, 30 James Street Liverpool, pictured around the time of the sinking. Pic

White Star and its rival shipping line Cunard were the Edwardian equivalent of Apple and Microsoft, Boeing or Google. They were hi-tech controllers of global communication and trade, with networks encircling the globe and offices on every continent, amassing unimaginable amounts of capital.

Titanic’s HQ at White Star’s Head Office, 30 James Street Liverpool, pictured March 2018. Pic (c)

White Star’s HQ is now a hotel which makes many references to its history, while Cunard’s houses the local council and a music museum. A drink in the rooftop Carpathia bar of 30 James Street affords excellent views across Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site skyline and waterfront.

White Star’s first class booking halls, behind the large ground floor windows, are now used for weddings and conferences.  Norman Shaw, the co-architect of the 1896 HQ with J. Francis Doyle, had earlier designed White Star Line founder Thomas Ismay’s mansion at Dawpool on the other side of the River Mersey, the lodge and stable blocks of which remain.

Titanic’s White Star HQ at 30 James Street, Liverpool contains this grand booking hall for first class passengers – now in regular use as a hotel and event centre. Pic (c)

2. Titanic Monument – Monument to the Heroes of the Marine Engine Room

Sculptor Sir William Goscombe John’s work is one of the first public sculptures to celebrate the nobility of civilian workers, a radical contrast to classical statues of royalty and military figures.

William Goscombe John's 1916 granite obelisk is Liverpool's monument to the Titanic

Liverpool’s Titanic Monument commemorates all Heroes of the Marine Engine Room. The Engineers are shown on the west (river) side, with Stokers and firemen on the east. The monument is directly alongside Liverpool’s modern cruise terminal. Pics (c)

The inscription on Liverpool’s Titanic Monument reads:

The Brave do not Die, Their Deeds Live Forever, And Call Upon Us, To Emulate Their Courage, And Devotion to Duty.

3. Titanic’s Original Shipyard Model – Merseyside Maritime Museum

Liverpool houses the priceless original 1910 Harland and Wolff Shipyard Model for Titanic and the White Star Olympic Class liners – it is 20 feet long!

The original Titanic Shipbuilder’s Model from Harland and Wolff in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum. Pic (c)

Built in the same place and by the same people as the full sized ship, the Titanic model is on free public display in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum.

It was commissioned to show the Olympic class ships and was amended as the designs evolved, so has features of each of the three sisters.  It was originally illuminated from within by electric lights, and deserves to be fully restored .

4. Titanic Bell and Porthole Castings – Merseyside Maritime Museum

Titanic Porthole and Bell Casting from Thomas Utley’s Foundry at the Silverdale Works in Tuebrook – now on display in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum.  Pic (c)

Titanic Artefacts in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum include this rare Spode chinaware unique to first class passengers, and poignant personal items salvaged from the wreck such as a pair of spectacles and a wrist watch.

5. Titanic Homes – Owner’s, Captain, Crew and Passengers

Titanic expert Alan Scarth identifies at least 114 crew members with strong associations to Liverpool, many of them the most senior officers and staff.

From the Owner, Captain, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer, Purser and Head Steward right down to band members and Lookout Fred Fleet, who first spotted the fatal iceberg, we find Liverpool homes.

White Star founder Thomas Ismay lived at Beach Lawn in Crosby from 1865 to 1885. His heir, Joseph Bruce Ismay, who survived the Titanic sinking, was brought up here. Pic (c)

There are therefore many houses and locations associated with Liverpool Titanic travellers – perhaps hundreds.  These are some of the most prominent, starting with the childhood home of White Star Line owner and Titanic survivor J. Bruce Ismay at Marine Terrace, Waterloo, and those of Captain Edward Smith.

Titanic Captain Edward Smith’s family home from 1898 to 1907 at 17 Marine Crescent, Crosby.  Sarah and Edward brought up their only child Eleanor here, the location of the famous Daily Mirror front page photo. Pics (c); Wikipedia; Bnps.

Captain Smith’s family home at 17 Marine Crescent is just a few yards from Ismay’s childhood home at 13 Beach Lawn.  Owner Rose Gallagher sometimes opens Smith’s home to visitors and has written a charmingly quirky book on her time there, called ‘The Captain, Titanic and Me‘.

Titanic Captain Edward Smith was born in Stoke and became a Liverpool sailor at 13. His first home as a White Star captain was 45 Osborne Road, Tuebrook, Liverpool 6 (top left pic, in brick). Around 1887 he and wife Sarah moved to 39 Cambridge Road, Waterloo, L22 (top right pic, open door), and then in 1891 to nearby 4 Marine Terrace. Pics (C) SharetheCity, Encyclopedia Titannica.

Titanic’s Chief Officer and 2nd In Command was Liverpool man Henry Tingle Wilde, who had already served as Captain Smith’s right-hand man aboard Titanic’s sister ship Olympic. Born on Highfield Road, Walton, Wilde lived at 25 Grey Street at the time of the tragedy, which he did not survive. His loss on Titanic is commemorated on an obelisk in Liverpool’s Kirkdale Cemetery. Pics Google, Wikipedia and Nils Solsvik.

Titanic’s most senior surviving officer was the formidable 2nd Officer Charles Lightoller, who lived at 8 Cambridge Avenue Crosby, north Liverpool, before moving to Southampton in 1908. ‘Lights’ was Captain Smith’s deputy on Titanic’s predecessors Majestic and Oceanic. Cambridge Avenue is just a few yards from Carpathia Captain Rostron’s House. Pic (c) Google

Titanic’s Purser Hugh McElroy (pictured with Captain Edward Smith) was born in this grand townhouse at 3 Percy Street in Liverpool (bottom, far left). The family moved a few streets to Number 6 Eversley Street in Toxteth, Liverpool 8 when he was 7 – the street survives but the house has been demolished recently.  McElroy went down with the ship but was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett and buried at sea. There is a memorial to Purser McElroy on the family grave in Liverpool’s Anfield Cemetery.

Captain Edward Smith joined White Star owners the Ismay family on the same exclusive seafront row, Marine Terrace in Waterloo in 1891, firstly living at Number 4 until 1898, and then for a decade at a larger property at Number 17, where he and Sarah Eleanor had their only child, daughter Helen.

Back in 1887, the year Captain Smith took his first command of a White Star ship, the SS Adriatic, he was living in Tuebrook, at 45 Osborne Road, in a house that still survives – just yards from two other locations which would come to resonate in the Titanic story 25 years later.

Titanic’s look out Frederick Fleet may have spent time at the Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphanage in Newsham Park, which was funded by shipowners including the Ismays.

That same year, Titanic’s look-out Frederick Fleet was born, probably at 99 Hodder Street in Everton.  He was first to spot the fatal iceberg.  Poor Fred was abandoned by his parents as an infant and may well have spent time at the Royal Liverpool Seamen’s Orphanage in Newsham Park, just yards from Captain Smith’s Tuebrook home.  The Orphanage had been visited by Queen Victoria the year before and was funded by shipowners very much at the opposite end of the social scale to Fred, including the Ismays.  Fleet is also known to have lived in an orphanage at 272 Parliament Street in Toxteth.

In a further irony, the bell Fred Fleet rang to warn the bridge was cast in Tuebrook, again just yards away from the Orphanage, at Utley’s Silverdale Works, which has just been demolished in 2017.

I will be adding more about the Liverpool characters and stories in the Titanic’s story, including the tough officer Charles Lightholler, who loaded the lifeboats and was the most senior survivor, Benjamin Guggenheim’s valet Victor Guglio, who ‘died like a gentleman dressed in his best’, and stewardess Elizabeth Leather, who lived in Port Sunlight.  There is also the apron belonging to Laura Francatelli, maid to the controversial Duff Gordons, perhaps the only piece of clothing remaining from the sinking, and the incredible story of Violet Jessop, who survived the disasters that befell all three sister ships.

Titanic’s Chief Baker Charles Joughin was born in Birkenhead and lived in Liverpool’s Walton district – he famously survived hours in the freezing water after the sinking, believed to have been insulated by a warming jacket of whisky in his bloodstream.

There are at least four other ships with a central role on the night of Titanic’s disaster, and each was Liverpool registered, and had Captains from the city, whose homes can still be seen.

Foremost is Cunard’s RMS Carpathia, the ‘hero’ of the night, Captained by Arthur Rostron of 52 Victoria Road in Crosby, north Liverpool’s beachfront suburb. Everyone who lived to tell the tale of the sinking had Carpathia and Rostron’s crew to thank.  They were showered with honours, with the Captain presented the United States Congressional Medal at the White House by President Taft.  Rostron was later Knighted and became Commodore of the Cunard Fleet.

Titanic’s only rescuer, Cunard’s RMS Carpathia, was Captained by Arthur Rostron, who lived here at 52 Victoria Road, Great Crosby, to the north of Liverpool’s docks. 

Leyland Line’s Californian under Captain Stanley Lord was painted as the ‘villain’ for failing to respond to Titanic’s distress, and debate continues as to the fairness of this conclusion.  Captain Lord lived in Wallasey, facing Liverpool on the Cheshire side of the River Mersey.

The Canadian Pacific ship Mount Temple under Liverpool Captain James H. Moore did respond to Titanic and steamed to the scene but was blocked by ice and arrived too late to help.

Olympic under Crosby’s splendidly named Captain Haddock also heard the distress calls of her stricken sister and rushed to help but was 500 miles away and was turned away by Rostron when still 100 nautical miles distant.

Interestingly, the Marconi operators who sent and relayed the messages on the night of the tragedy were trained at Marconi’s school in Crosby.

6. Titanic Musicians’ Monument and Castle Street Agency

The musicians for Titanic’s band are celebrated as some of the bravest protagonists of the tragedy, and they are commemorated by a bronze memorial at the entrance to Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall.

Titanic Musician’s Memorial in Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall. Pics (c)

They continued to play to soothe the passengers and prevent panic as the lifeboats were loaded and the ship sank, all of them losing their lives, including bassist John Frederick Clarke, who lived in Liverpool at 22 Tunstall Street.

Titanic’s musicians were all booked through the Liverpool agency C. W. and F. N. Black on the third floor of this office at 14 Castle Street.  Band leader Wallace Hartley is known to have visited in the week before the sinking on the 9th April 1912 after arriving from New York on the Mauretania.

Titanic’s band were signed from Black’s Music Agency at 14 Castle Street, Liverpool – third floor. Pic (c)

The (long defunct) firm was said to have disgraced itself after the tragedy by sending bereaved families a bill for the cost of unpaid and unreturned uniforms.

7. Titanic Cathedral – Memorial windows to Captain Smith and Ismay

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s radical design for Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, the biggest church in Britain, was submitted in 1909, the same year as Titanic began construction.  The Cathedral contains memorial windows to both Thomas Ismay and Captain Smith, and a detailed stone carving of Titanic.

Titanic Cathedral -designed in 1909, the same year as Titanic began construction.  The Cathedral contains a detailed stone carving of the Titanic. Pic (c)

Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral contains memorial windows to Titanic Captain Edward Smith and White Star Line Founder T. H. Ismay. Smith’s is in the small chapel of the Holy Spirit, while Ismay’s is the vast East Window behind the High Altar.

White Star ship on this WW2 wartime inscription from Liverpool to the USA – ‘God be thanked for our friends of the United States’ – the stone tablet is on Liverpool’s Pier Head, near the Titanic monument. Pics (c)

8. White Star Pub, Button Street

Liverpool’s White Star pub on Button Street dates back to the 1880s, when Thomas Henry Ismay was building his great house at Dawpool.  The pub remains one of the most authentic and attractive Victorian hostelries in Liverpool – just round the corner from the Cavern Club, it is famously where the Beatles were paid after their early shows, and contains four brass plaques in the back lounge where they sat. Pic (c) Google

9. Cunard Building

Titanic’s Rival Cunard and Rescuer Carpathia.  Liverpool’s Cunard HQ of 1914 faces White Star 1896 head office across the waterside Strand.  Cunard would eventually absorb White Star during the 1930s depression.  Cunard’s Carpathia received Titanic’s distress call and was the only ship to reach the wreck site in time to rescue survivors.  Granite benches in front of the HQ  commemorate the great Cunard ships, with Carpathia’s featuring morse code reading ‘CQD’ – the call made by Marconi operators Harold Bride and Jack Phillips. Pic (c)

10. Broughton Hall, Liverpool – Where Harland met Wolff, and Ismay met Schwabe

Broughton Hall in Liverpool is where Harland met Wolff – it was the home of Hamburg-born financier Gustav Schwabe, Wolff’s uncle.  Over a game of billiards in 1869, he agreed to support Thomas Henry Ismay’s new venture – in return White Star would build all their ships at his nephew’s shipyard.  The first vessel purchased was a sailing ship, named Broughton

11. Scotland Road, Titanic and Liverpool

Titanic’s ‘Scotland Road’ was the crew’s name for the long service corridor running the length of Deck E, shared by steerage passengers and service personnel. It took its name from Liverpool’s mighty north road, the old stagecoach turnpike route to Scotland, the heart of the city’s dockland and particularly Irish working class life. Pic (c) Google

12. Merseyside’s own Arrol Gantry – The Warrington Transporter Bridge

Merseyside’s own Arrol Gantry – the Bank Quay Transporter Bridge over the River Mersey at Warrington was built by Sir William Arrol in 1915, and makes an interesting comparison to the 1908 structures built for Titanic, Olympic and Brittanic at Harland and Wolff.  The Bridge is a protected monument but is no longer in use and ‘at risk’. An active ‘Friends’ group is attempting to raise awareness and funds to enhance the structure – their website is here. Main pic (c)

Arrol Gantry – Warrington’s Transporter Bridge is similar in proportion to the structure of London’s Tower Bridge, whose frame was also constructed by Sir William Arrol’s firm, who made Titanic’s gantry at Belfast. Main pic (c)

13. Cunard-White Star’s first joint ship – RMS Mauretania II (1938) – Brass nameplate at Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum

Titanic, Olympic and Brittanic were built as White Star’s response to rival Cunard’s Mauretania and Lusitania. This beautiful brass nameplate is from the second RMS Mauretania, built in Liverpool’s Cammell Laird shipyard at Birkenhead, 1938. It was the first vessel built for the merged Cunard-White Star line. It can be seen in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum.

14. Titanic Rival Lusitania’s Port Propeller, Liverpool Albert Dock Quayside

Lusitania’s propeller on Liverpool’s quayside. It was one of four that drove RMS Lusitania across the Atlantic. Lusitania and her sister-ship Mauretania were originally fitted with three-bladed propellers. In 1908 Mauretania had a new set of four-bladed propellers fitted, which immediately improved her speed. In early 1909, Lusitania also had hers replaced. She was the first ocean liner to be propelled by quadruple screws, the first ship of over 700 feet in length to be powered by turbine engines, and the first of a number of four-funnelled passenger liners. The Cunard ship was returning to Liverpool from New York when she was torpedoed by German submarine U-20 off the coast of southern Ireland, on 7 May 1915. She sank in less than 20 minutes and 1198 men, women and children perished. The propeller was salvaged by Oceaneering International Services Ltd in 1982. Each year on the anniversary the museum holds a memorial service around it to remember those who lost their lives.

15. Titanic Hotel, Liverpool Stanley Dock

Titanic Hotel, Liverpool – Liverpool’s Stanley Dock warehouses have been converted to a hotel by the same company responsible for Belfast’s Titanic museum.

Liverpool’s Lost Titanic Heritage – Harland and Wolff Engineering, Regent Road – demolished 2013

Harland and Wolff established a major maritime engineering works in the city where they met.  Their  beautiful Liverpool HQ was demolished in 2013 after government advisors English Heritage decided it was of insufficient historic or architectural interest. Pic. Liverpool Echo – full story here.

Liverpool’s Lost Titanic Heritage – Thomas Utley’s Silverdale Works, where Titanic’s Bells and Portholes were cast. Demolished 2017.

The Bell Tolls – Titanic’s bells and portholes were cast here, as were the bells for her sisters Olympic and Britannic, and those for many other famous Liverpool liners including Lusitania and Mauretania. The historic foundry is being demolished at the time of writing in late 2017.  However the firm continues to thrive from premises in St. Helens on the edge of Liverpool.

Titanic’s bell foundry, Liverpool’s Silverdale works, being demolished in November 2017.  The cast for Titanic’s bells and portholes are in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum.  Interestingly, Silverdale Avenue is just a few yards from Newsham Park’s Royal Seamen’s Orphanage, where Titanic lookout Frederick Fleet is thought to have spent time as an abandoned child.  Fleet rang the crow’s nest bell to warn of the fatal iceberg.  Osbourne Road, where Captain Edward Smith lived on first joining White Star, is immediately opposite Silverdale Ave.

Beyond Liverpool – other Titanic Locations within Britain and Ireland

Titanic was conceived here at Downshire House on London’s Belgrave Square, home of Lord Pirrie, Harland and Wolff’s chairman. He and his biggest client, J. Bruce Ismay, met here in 1907 to plan the world’s three largest superliners in response to Cunard’s Lusitania and Mauretania.

Titanic’s loss is announced by newsboy Ned Parfett outside White Star’s london HQ, Oceanic House at Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square. 

Titanic’s London HQ – White Star’s Oceanic House today. Pic Google

Titanic’s sister Olympic has her first class lounge preserved in the White Swan hotel in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Plaque on the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick

Titanic’s first class lounge was identical to this, Olympic’s. This atmospheric room crossed the Atlantic hundreds of times.

Olympic’s exquisite carved oak panels in the White Swan in Alnwick. The hotel’s revolving door is from Olympic’s restaurant.

Titanic’s twin Olympic shared the same wood paneled lounge – it can be seen at the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick.

Olympic’s first class lounge was almost identical to Titanic’s

Olympic’s aft grand staircase has its upper ballustrades in situ at the White Swan, leading to the conserved First Class lounge.

Titanic’s sister – The central balustrade of Olympic’s Grand Staircase in the foyer of the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick, 2017.

Titanic’s Captain Edward Smith is represented in this fine statue in the Staffordshire town of Lichfield, county of his birth. It was placed here on the main road and rail route between London and Liverpool so American friends of the ‘millionnaires’ captain’ could pay their respects en route to and from New York.

Titanic’s brave bandmaster Wallace Hartley is commemorated by this bust in his hometown of Colne in Lancashire, about 60 miles from Liverpool. His body was recovered and shipped to Canada Dock in Liverpool, from where it was taken home by horse drawn hearse.  His violin was said to have been strapped to his body in the water, and was recently auctioned for over $1,000,000 – see this article.

Titanic’s last mooring Roches Point, Cobh (formerly Queenstown) in Ireland, superimposed on a recent picture taken from cruise ship MS Marco Polo

Titanic’s last anchorage at Roche Point, Cobh (formerly Queenstown) in Ireland. Taken in 2017 from CMV’s classic cruise ship MS Marco Polo, en route from Liverpool to Bristol via Dublin and Cobh.

Titanic’s last boarding point – White Star’s office on the quayside at Cobh, formerly Queenstown, in Ireland, a day’s sail from Liverpool. Today the building houses an excellent Titanic museum.

Titanic’s final (dis) embarkation point – the pier and White Star office at Cobh, formerly Queenstown, in Ireland. The man in the bowler hat just to the left of the arched window in the black and white picture is standing where the lady in blue on the contemporay picture is stood. This is where the wooden pier is photographed from.

Hardwood chair from Titanic’s rescue ship RMS Carpathia, made by A. Blain and Co. of Paradise Street, Liverpool.  This is displayed along with many other items of interest in the Titanic museum in White Star’s old booking office in Cobh, formerly Queenstown, Ireland.

Titanic memorial garden in Cobh, formerly Queenstown, looking out to her last anchorage at Roche’s Point, between the two distant headlands.

The Titanic Memorial Garden at Cobh contains a memorial to J. Bruce Ismay, moved from his Irish estates at Costelloe Lodge in Connacht. Erected by his wife Florence it reads:

“In memory of Bruce Ismay, who spent many happy hours here 1913-1936. He loved all wild and solitary places, where we taste the pleasure of believing that what we see is boundless as we wish our souls to be.”

Lahardane in the parish of Addergoole, County Mayo, is known as Ireland’s ‘Titanic Village’. From a tiny population of a few dozen, some 14 people emigrated to the USA on the ship of dreams. Just 3 survived. All are memorialised in the village today.

Thanks to Liam McGuire who drew my attention to the story of Lahardane in the parish of Addergoole, County Mayo, which is known as Ireland’s ‘Titanic Village’.  From a tiny population of just a few dozen, some 14 people left hoping to emigrate to the USA on the doomed ship of dreams.  Just 3 survived.  All are memorialised in the village today – I’m grateful to Liam for his link to the parish’s excellent website –

Titanic Locations – Beyond Britain and Ireland

I will be adding more links including the Titanic Museum at Cherbourg in Northern France and to locations in Canada, New York City and beyond.

This is a particularly good review of locations in Manhattan, where Titanic was destined, never to arrive….

The Titanic Guide To New York City

These explorations have been guided by the forensic research gathered on the admirable Encyclopedia Titanica website and in Alan Scarth’s brilliant book Titanic and Liverpool,  essential and intriguing reading for anybody interested in both the ship and the city.


  1. Awesome read!

  2. I’ll be adding more to this page soon after my visit to the Ocean Liners exhibition at the V & A in London – many items of great interest there including a deckchair from Titanic!

  3. as always I have gained so much knowledge from your writing and investigation JB very much appreciated

    • Very kind of you Naomi, thanks for reading and for your generous comment.

    • Dear Liam – thank you very much for this and apologies for my slow reply. I still have so much to learn, and the story of Lahardane, the ‘Titanic Village’, is another revelation to me. 14 people left on the ‘ship of dreams’ to build a new life in the USA and just 3 survived – a terrible blow anywhere, but devastating in such a tiny community. It is unsurprising and heartening that they are still respectfully memorialised today.

      The Addergoole-Titanic website is very informative – I will put a link to it in the article above – I’m sure many people will be fascinated by the story of emigration it highlights. Best wishes, Jonathan.

  4. The Ismay house is on Beach Lawn, which is a continuation of the Marine Terrace. The memorial at the Pierhead originally it was to be dedicated to Titanics engine room heroes, before its completion WW1 had commenced and ship losses due to U boats were becoming a serious problem. By the time the memorial was commissioned it was therefore decided to dedicate it to all engine room heroes who lost lives at sea.

    • Dear David, many thanks for your comment, and I will note the ref. the Beach Lawn.

      Yes, the dedication of the Pier Head memorial was widened from the engine room heroes of the Titanic to all such mariners during the carnage of the ‘Great War’. So, it is Liverpool’s Titanic monument, but not exclusively so. This gives a sense of the shocking attrition, with almost daily sinkings from U Boat attack:

      You might be interested in this interpretation of the monument’s architectural symbolism:

      “at the top of the obelisk, four maidens stand in flowing robes, suggesting the sea. Crowning the obelisk is a torch with golden flames, reported at the time to represent the triumph of fire (see Cavanagh 138) — that is, the victory over the water of the steam engines tended by these indispensable heroes.”

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