A Titanic Launch- The Launch of RMS Titanic
Titanic was launched at Harland & Wolff’s yard at Queen’s Island, Belfast Lough
on May 31, 1911 in the presence of thousands of ticket-holding spectators and more than a hundred representatives of the press. It was a spectacular occasion, not just because one of the two largest vessels in the world was taking to the water, but because the great and good were in attendance.
This was a local, national and international event. Lord and Lady Pirrie
were there, as were the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Belfast. J. Bruce Ismay
, chairman of the White Star Line was also in attendance. It was only appropriate that the celebrated American millionaire, J. Pierpont Morgan should be there. He was the owner of the International Mercantile Marine Company, the parent company of Oceanic Steam Navigation Company that in turn owned the ships of the White Star Line.
The author, Filson Young remarked that “there was no christening ceremony such as celebrates the launching of lesser ships
Instead, a red flag was hoisted at the ship’s stern and ten minutes later, at a quarter-past noon, three rockets were fired and the great ship began to move, courtesy of twenty tons of animal fat spread on the launching ways. Titanic entered the water gracefully and quickly.
Local Reports- The Launch of Titanic in Belfast
A reporter from the Belfast NewsLetter remarked that the ship was eager for the baptism it had not received through the lack of a christening ceremony. The cheers and cap-waving of the men on board the ship were taken up and echoed by the spectators in the yard and on the river banks, women waving handkerchiefs and gentlemen their hats. It is usually forgotten that on the same day as Titanic’s launch, Olympic finished its sea trials. Ismay, Morgan, Pirrie and others were taken in the new tender, Nomadic, to join Olympic. Titanic’s elder sister then sailed for Liverpool, having been pronounced seaworthy, finishing off a red-letter day for the city of Belfast.