Titanic launch anniversary

31 May 2011 by Karen

Model of a ship in a glass case in a museum

The model of the Titanic at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post & Echo.

April 1912 is the date most people usually associate with Titanic; whether it’s her leaving Belfast on 2 April, the start of her maiden voyage on 10 April, or her sinking on 15 April.

However, 31 May 1911 is also an important day on the Titanic calendar as it was the day on which the ship was launched. One hundred years ago today she slipped down the greased no. 3 slipway into Belfast waters, before being moved into dry dock for fitting-out.

It must have been a momentous day for everyone associated with the shipyard. Tickets were distributed for the 12.15pm event and a grandstand was erected for spectators. The spectacle was witnessed by over 100,000 people which must have been a sight in itself.

Regular visitors and readers will know that Merseyside Maritime Museum has an excellent Titanic gallery, with a special centenary exhibition, Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story, to follow in March next year. What you might not know is that our resident Titanic expert, Dr Alan Scarth (who actually retired last week – congratulations, Alan) has written a book, Titanic and Liverpool, that explores the stories that link the city and the ship. It’s a fascinating read with some excellent photos, and is available from our online shop and our venue shops.

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