Titanic Launch

Titanic image courtesy of the National Museums Northern Ireland Collection

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.

Titanic Leaving Belfast, from the National Museums Northern Ireland CollectionInternational Guests

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.

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User Comments 6

Sept 2012 we went to see the Titanic exibition in Belfast. I walked along the slip way were that magnificent ship was launched on 31st May 1911. What a terific feeling it was.
k. Harrison 11 January 2013
Hi I was just wondering where I could find the original attendance for the titanic
kylie 29 November 2012
Titanic is my favourite and i always love to watch it.but i even feel bad for those who died in that incident.If i get an opportunity in my life i will love to see the place where such legendry ship has been created.VIKRANT
vikrant 18 October 2012
i love titanic so much and i am a big fan of it titanic is in my blood
mia 12 May 2012
could you tell me the name of the capitan that sail her to southampton from belfast... i think his name was captain freeman.... could you tell me if this is true... many thanks...yvonne
yvonne 30 March 2012
I am so sorry for the people who died. My daughter has to do a restaurant for school project and she picked the Titanic to be her theme. She loves Titanic.
Debbie 10 May 2011
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