General Information about Empress of Ireland


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David Zeni

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Back from a wonderful crossing on Millennium where, with special permission from Merlin Films, showed their English Adaptation of "Journey To Oblivion". Ken Marschall was one of the Steamship Historical Society of America lecturers. He gave several talks. One was about working with Cameron on the sets of Titanic. One lecture, which I really enjoyed, was about his work starting with a sketch he made at about age 9 and showing his progression as an artist.
Ken actually saw his interview in "Journey To Oblivion" for the first time. On Super VHS projected onto Millennium's three-deck high screen, the film really works! Many commented on how moving it was. Some particularly liked the underwater sequences. Others enjoyed the computer graphics. As for people like Gavin who wish to add input to Merlin Films, I don't think it is falling on deaf ears. I suspect that any plans to make changes would depend on if Merlin gets further sponsorship and the requirements; format, etc. of that sponsor.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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G'Day Dave, I put yours on my Christmas wish list. Great if I get it, but if not, there's alway Amazon.

So many titles, so little time!

By the way, did Ken Marschall ever do any interpretations of the Empress of Ireland? His work is phenomanal.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Gavin Murphy

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M,

To answer your question, yes he did.

It can be found in the book Lost Liners, prepared by good ole Madison Press of TO about 3 years ago.

Regards,

G
 

Eric Sauder

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Nov 12, 2000
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Hi, Michael:

Yes, Ken Marschall has done one painting of the Empress of Ireland. That was a wreck scene for the book Lost Liners. It is now in a private collection in Toronto. Unfortunately, that's the only one he has done of her. All of his painting commissions come from publishing houses so, once he accepts a job, he doesn't choose the specific subject, but he has complete control over angle, lighting, etc.

Lost Liners was probably the best book he has worked on since this gave him the opportunity to paint ships he had never done before (Normandie, Empress of Ireland, etc.). I also think it helped him show that he is not only a "Titanic artist."

As a side note, Ken hasn't done a private commission in nearly twenty years (although I'm still working on it!).

Eric Sauder
 
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Gavin Murphy

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The word now is that the Empress artifacts on offer will likely be sold to one of two Canadian bidders and therfore remain in Canada--where they belong. I am not aware who those bidders are. Does anyone know?

Gavin
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello Gavin, No, I have not heard this update. I suppose that their remaining in Canada is the lesser of two evils! I just hope that they go into a private collection and are not split up and sold.
Geoff
 
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Gavin Murphy

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Geoff,

I agree and will try and find out more. I have just left a message with Hustak.

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Gavin Murphy

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To Geoff and others,

Word on the street is that it is a bulk purchase by the Quebec gov't, which is somewhat of a relief, and the idea is to put the artifacts on display at the museum in Rimouski and elsewhere along the river. So I don't think the collection will be broken up, at least not broken up and sold individually.

G
 
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David Zeni

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Gavin, Geoff, Mike P., and Empress specialists:

The Dec 4th Maclean's magazine reports in a small piece entitled "ARTIFACTS GROUNDED" that Quebec has placed a moratorium on the sale. Another source says the Quebec Government offered $325,000 cash for the collection and that Heritage Canada is to do an inventory. In the Maclean's piece, Beaudry is quoted: "After 30 years, it's time to close the chapter, I worked so hard for so many years without any help that I can't care anymore if it stays or goes outside Canada". This is a sad assessment from someone who devoted his life to the Empress and only months ago was taking the high ground in PBS's "Lost Liners" documentary sharing his epiphany about preserving the wreck with Bob Ballard.
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Dave & The Laird,
My email is back in operation now - but your address has disappeared! Did you get a copy of the article from the Gazette that Alan Hustak sent me?
Geoff
 
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David Zeni

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Geoff (from the Laird's author):

We receieved a copy of an article Alan wrote for the Ottawa Citizen. This matter was fairly well reported in the Canadian press as far as I can tell from here in the greater Cape Cod Harwiches. In other news, I have been researching the big wave that hit the QE2 in 1995. Have performed a couple of interviews so far and it is a far greater story scientifically than simply "a big wave". The Laird sends his best...his trusted writer, David. Email: dzeni@earthlink.net or the Laird at jim02_@hotmail.com. Our Best to all!!!
 
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David Zeni

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For Michael S.

I don't have any insight into what might have worn down Beaudry except that Canadians do not seem to think that The Empress of Ireland is an important part of their history. Not quite comparable is our S.S. United States which is going nowhere as a hulk. D.Z.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Thanks for that,David, depressing as it is to hear. History seems to get short shrift these days.

Unfortunately, I'm all too aware of the sad state of the S.S. United States. Lots of good ideas floating around as to what to do with her, but I have an ugly suspicion that her next voyage is going to be under tow to the breakers.
sad.gif


Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Paul Rogers

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Nov 30, 2000
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Hello all.

Recently, I was lucky enough to find a 1980 publication of a book called "Fourteen Minutes" by James Croall. (First published 1978.) I believe Michael P. mentioned the book in a much earlier posting on this thread.

The book is a very good read but, unfortunately, there are no references or footnotes regarding from where Mr Croall drew his material. In his own words: "Since I believe the average reader shares my distaste for footnotes and is unlikely to be interested in detailed references, I have not provided any." So, any E of I buffs out there: What's your opinion of the book's general accuracy? (This is the first real literature I've read regarding the ship.)

The book's overall view on the cause of the disaster seems to be that the Storstad shouldn't have changed course, and that the Empress shouldn't have reversed her engines - so I'd say it's fair to 50/50 apportion the blame. Is this the accepted view of researchers today?

Things I never knew before reading this book:

Interesting Point no. 1: Almost exactly the same sequence of events led to the sinking of the Andrea Doria... seems like we never learn! And both ships had radar by then.

Interesting Point no. 2: In 1912, the sister ship of the Storstad (Helvetia) was rammed and sunk by the sister ship of the E of I (Empress of Britain) in a similar fog bank and in almost the same location on the St Lawrence. Blimey! Fate works in mysterious ways...

Regards, and a Merry Christmas to all.
Paul.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I'm not at all sanguine about a book perporting to be history which doesn't list the sources used. I want to know where the material came from, and I suspect a lot of people here are of the same mindset.

One of the reasons I forked over the money for copies of the Senate and BOT transcripts for the Titanic is that I wanted to be able to read the testimony for myself. All of it, not bits and peices out of context.

While I'm no expert on the Empress of Ireland, one thing that got my attention in a History Channel presentation was the assertion that both ships altered course AFTER losing sight of each other in the fog. Rather a dumb move if true.

David Zeni, anything you can add to this? You're the man with the plan on this.(I don't trust the History Channel.)

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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David Zeni

Guest
Paul R. and all:
First, Happy Holidays and best wishes for new historical finds in 2001! Paul, if you need references get a copy of Forgotten Empress and check out the bibliography. Your observations from Fourteen Minutes are right on target. As for the Andrea Doria comparisons, I found them chilling. One in particular is when Kendall is being grilled by Storstad's lawyer and can't explain how it was physically possible to get the Empress from one point he indicated on a chart to another (speed x time = distance). The identical exchange happens 42 years later when Andrea Doria's Captain is asked the same question and can't explain how his ship made up an unbelievable distance on the charts. Add to this deja vu the incredible fact that the attorney(representing Stockholm) is the son of the lawyer who represented the Storstad in the Empress Inquiry! Back to Fourteen Minutes, I have spoken to Croall and he advises that his account is largely based on contemporary newspaper stories. You may have noticed that Fourteen Minutes says that attempts to salvage the silver and mails were abandoned. Having been through the microfilm reels I can tell you that this conclusion was reached from a Headline in the Montreal Daily Star
which said exactly that. If Croall had looked ahead a few days he would have discovered that the salvage was resumed and quite successful...a danger when using newspaper stories. HOWEVER, I have found that in general the contemporary accounts of surviving passengers reported on the rescue train to Quebec are the most accurate. As days went by, people started to make stuff up. I am always amused when someone shares a newspaper account with me from a survivor on say the 25 anniversary of the sinking and treats it as gospel. These reflections are often how the survivor would like to remember the tragedy rather than the truth. A good example are stories about people calmy singing while the ship sinks beneath them. The truth is that people were in an ugly struggle to survive, very ugly.
 
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