The sinking of the Titanic on April 15th 1912 was a disaster that resonated around the world. News of the tragedy was met with shock in Scotland, which was home to several passengers and crew, and was a world centre for the shipbuilding industry.
In this blog, we take a look at some local connections between the Titanic & our company's home city of Glasgow.
Local Connection #1: Did you know that the current Scottish Opera headquarters at 39 Elmbank Street, Glasgow, were once the headquarters of the professional engineers of Scotland?
In this building there is a ornamental marble plaque that holds the names of 35 men.Two angels top the plaque, appearing to be laying a wreath on the sea. Each year, overseen by the president of the engineers’ institution, a solemn mass is held, and the Scottish members of the engineering field reflect on the importance and danger of their chosen profession.
The memorial was built by sculpture Kellock Brown and was unveiled in 1914 on the 2nd anniversary of the Titanic disaster. It reads: “To keep alive the memory of the engineers of the Titanic who all died at their duty on the Fifteenth day of April 1912, when the ship was lost in mid Atlantic. This tablet was erected by the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.”
Local Connection #2: Did you know that Titanic's radio operator and survivor Harold Bride spent his last days living at Provan Hall House in Glasgow as caretaker and tour guide ?
On the night of the sinking Bride relayed messages to and from Captain Smith on the bridge regarding the progress of the Carpathia and other ships in the vicinity, whilst fellow radio operator Phillips worked the key. It was Bride who had first jokingly suggested sending the new emergency distress call 'SOS' at sea instead of the usual 'CQD' signal. This was the first time that the signal 'SOS' had ever been used.
Bride managed to survive the disaster by standing on the upturned Collapsible B Lifeboat from where he witnessed the Titanic's final moments:
"I felt I simply had to get away from the ship. She was a beautiful sight then. Smoke and sparks were rushing out of her funnel. There must have been an explosion, but we heard none. We only saw the big stream of sparks. The ship was gradually turning on her nose, just like a duck does that goes down for a dive."
Bride fled to Glasgow with his wife and children to escape the press attention he received as a Titanic survivor and lived happily and in apparent obscurity until his death in 29th April 1956, aged 66.
Local Connection #3: Did you know that Titanic's capstans were made by a Glasgow firm called 'Napier Brothers Ltd' and that the word 'Glasgow' is still visible on the Titanic wreck?
This image is taken from a video shot by Jason Jr., a remotely operated robotic vehicle used by Robert D. Ballard's team in 1986, on their second expedition to Titanic.
A capstan is a vertical-axled rotating machine developed for use on sailing ships to multiply the pulling force of seamen when hauling ropes, cables, and hawsers.
The 'Napier Bros Engineers Ltd' company is still thriving more than 100 years later and can be found at 67-68 King Street, Rutherglen, Glasgow.
If you know of any other 'Titanic' connections to Glasgow, please get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org or look us up on Facebook / Twitter.
Book tickets for 'Murder on the Titanic!' at the Butterfly & The Pig in Glasgow city centre on April 14th 2018.