Accuracy of Photo Captions


Doug Criner

Member
Dec 2, 2009
442
63
133
USA
Sometimes I wonder about the accuracy of photo captions - for example, the drafting room photo that pops up on this website from time to time, captioned: "Harland and Wolff Draughtsmen pore over the Titanic deckplans at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast." How do we know that they were "poring" over the Titanic's drawings?

A very similar photo appears in Volume One of "Titanic - The Ship Magnificent," and is captioned, "Drawing Office - The drawing office at Harland & Wolff. A half-model of Olympic mounted to a board is visible at the back of the room." The source of the photo is stated to be from the "Author's collection," i.e., Bruce Beveridge.
 

James Garrett

Member
Sep 24, 2011
45
0
46
Metro Detroit, Michigan
I suppose it depends on the date the photo was taken.
Are those two photos just similar or are they identical?
Since the exterior of Titanic and Olympic was initially virtually identical, the Olympic half model would still be useful for Titanic even after the Olympic was launched and fitted out and the Titanic was still under construction. So it is possible there is no contradiction.

I would trust "Titanic - The Ship Magnificent" not to take guesses on things like that. For example, the H&W blueprints seemed to missing part of one of the watertight bulkhead B from F to E deck if I recall correctly. The book explains this situation instead of taking a guess as to what the details are in the diagram that WTB that is included in the book.

An earlier book that I have called "Titanic and her Sisters Olympic and Britannic" has a number of picture captions that are obviously incorrect including a picture of the HMHS Aquatania labeled as HMHS Britannic! Perhaps the publishers put enormous pressure on the authors to get that book in print for the post James Cameron Titanic merchandising boom.
 

Doug Criner

Member
Dec 2, 2009
442
63
133
USA
James, all good points, thanks. If somebody makes a supposedly factual post with no attribution or back-up, then many of us are pretty quick to respond, properly so. But pirated, copied photos (with no attribution) are often accompanied by captions that are questionable, to say the least. Such captions go too-often unchallenged.
 

James Garrett

Member
Sep 24, 2011
45
0
46
Metro Detroit, Michigan
Doug:
I just would want to reiterate that I would trust the authors of "Titanic - The Ship Magnificent"; I have not met any of the authors personally but the amount of research that went into that set of books is staggering. I have absolutely no reason to suspect anything like what you suggest might have happened in this case (I am not sure if that was what you were implying; if not disregard the previous sentence). I have heard of at least one other book where the quality of the photos suggest that they were photocopied out of earlier books!

Perhaps an ET member who is also an author of a book on the Titanic that includes illustrations could shed some light on how the date and subject of a photo is verified.

There appear to be two common photos of the drawing room(s):
1. Shows men at work on drawings, includes the "Olympic" model, and the room features two arched windows in the center of the lunette.
2. Also shows men at work on drawings, does not include any ship model, and the room has three arched windows in the center of the lunette.

Since the two drawing room buildings are nestled inside the open part of the squat "U" shaped H&W headquarters building, I suspect that in picture 1 the view is toward the base of the "U" since there are doors on the left and that in picture 2 the view is looking out of the open part of the "U". A picture of the exterior looking at the open part of the "U" shows that both drawing rooms have three arched windows in the center of the lunette.

By the way here is an October 11, 2013 story about the planned restoration of the drawing offices:
Hotel plan for Titanic Drawing Offices - Ulster Business

-Jim
 

Similar threads

Similar threads