RMS Titanic was once hailed as “unsinkable” by the press and public. It was this statement, along with the vessel’s grand design, that ensured RMS Titanic was one of the most famous ships in the world at the time of her maiden voyage – as well as the most luxurious.
The title of “unsinkable” would unfortunately tempt fate, as the White Star Line ship collided with an iceberg at 11.40pm on 14th April 1912, and sank a few hours later at 2.20am on 15th April 1912. Due to a lack of lifeboats onboard the ship, more than 1,500 people sadly lost their lives in one of the greatest maritime disasters in history. Only 705 people survived the tragic event, and were rescued by the Cunard ship RMS Carpathia, which was commanded by Captain Arthur Henry Rostron.
The sinking of RMS Titanic shocked the world. The tragedy impacted lives all over the world, as international passengers travelled aboard the liner on business or pleasure. No other city was affected quite like Southampton, as most of the crew were born and raised in the city.
All that was left from the luxurious liner was the survivors, Father Browne’s photographs and the wreck that lays 12,415 feet on the seabed of the North Atlantic Ocean, 375 nautical miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. It was until her discovery in 1985 that 5,000 artefacts were recovered from the vessel, and are now on display in museums across the globe. Many more Titanic artefacts were also donated by survivors or retrieved from the victims’ bodies following the disaster.
Some of the items recovered from the wreck include everything from a small hairpin to the 17-ton section of the ship. A number of personal items were also recovered, including a bracelet, mesh purse, a second class White Star Line ticket, a six button vest and an 18k gold ring that belonged to Titanic steward Thomas Hewitt. A number of White Star Line artefacts were also recovered, including the company’s china, the wheel stand, table settings, a grand staircase cherub and a White Star Line candy dish.
One museum currently exhibiting RMS Titanic artefacts in Liverpool is the Merseyside Maritime Museum – which is located a short walk away from 30 James Street. Other museums showcasing the items include Titanic Belfast, the Seacity Museum in Southampton, England, and The Titanic Artifact Exhibition in Las Vegas, Orlando and Buena Park, USA.
A number of explorers, scientists, film-makers and tourists have visited the Titanic wreck since its discovery. The ship, however, is significantly deteriorating, which is reportedly due to the rate of the iron-eating bacteria of the vessel’s hull. Scientists have estimated the wreck’s structure and hull will collapse within the next 50 years, leaving the more durable fittings in its wake.