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Published December 15, 2017

 

The sinking of the Titanic is one of the best known, and most extensively covered, disasters of the modern age. To that end, there isn’t a great deal to be said that hasn’t been said before, but at the same time it would be a conspicuous absence if Great Disasters didn’t include it.

For me, personally, the Titanic has been something I’ve known about since I was a little girl. My mother shared my fascination with the subject, and we both watched old films like A Night to Remember and documentaries on the subject together.

I was quite small when the Titanic was rediscovered, but I do remember sharing my mother’s excitement when the first clear pictures of the wreck were broadcast.

We were never alone in our fascination with the Titanic. The tale has captured the imaginations of people across the world, from marine archaeologists and modern ship designers to writers, producers and directors in the glitzy world of Hollywood.

James Cameron’s film of the Titanic combined a romantic plotline with actual footage of the wreck; the effort involved made it the most expensive film ever made at the time, but also won the movie 11 Academy Awards. People still watch and love the film to this day – and still debate whether there was actually room on that door for two or not.

Of course, for some of us in the cinema, the plot of the film was a side show; what we really wanted to see was the ship. Cameron paid a lot of attention to detail, and it is possible to view the film as a kind of whistlestop tour of the grand liner, a tribute to her grandiose beauty.

It wasn’t just the beauty of the ship that made the tale of the Titanic so memorable; it was also the confidence with which she was imbued, the tragedy of her loss, and the sheer scale of the losses which you can see illustrated on the infographic below.

Titanic

Sources and Further Reading:

I admit, I wrote a lot of this episode from memory, because I’ve been reading about the Titanic for so long I’ve got a lot of the details in my head. Very naughty of me.

Many of the first hand accounts I’ve quoted are taken from the book “Voices from the Titanic” by Geoff Tibballs.

The Wikipedia article on the sinking of the Titanic is quite comprehensive, and includes an extensive bibliography, so to save space I’m just going to point you there.

You can find a transcript of the Titanic episodes of Great Disasters here.

Until next time, stay safe.

 

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