Gigantic

Mar 22, 2003
5,360
745
273
Chicago, IL, USA
In my opinion, the tone of some people on this thread is entirely uncalled-for. There are many good reasons why information may or may not be disclosed at a particular time, and not all of which has to do with money or selfishness. In some situations it is simply a case of releasing the information within the proper context. In others it is a case looking for supportive verification before disclosure. To suggest that information is being hoarded for selfish purposes without knowing the details is presumptive, and itself a very selfish position to take.

Parks was kind enough to explain what happened. He really didn't have to do that. Please accept what he said and move on.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
380
283
Easley South Carolina
>>In my opinion, the tone of some people on this thread is entirely uncalled-for.<<

I agree. It is.

Parks offered his mea culpa on this affair and indicated that in due course, the information he alluded to will be released by the one who did the legwork to find it in the first place. As a general rule, when he says something like that, it usually happens and that's plenty good enough for me.

He's not the sort who gets a kick out of hiding things. Quite the opposite in fact. He's tended to share anything he possibly could whenever he could, and sometimes, it's landed him in some hot water. While he clearly doesn't enjoy holding back, there is the matter of the Non Disclosure Agreement that he's bound by, and you don't get past that without risking some serious legal trouble.
 

Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
2,239
2
108
Bob, Just because the Gigantic was named in November 1911, doesn't mean that the White Star Line didn't consider it at one point. Its this possibility that I am investigating but it will have to wait till the New Year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ted Charlton NZ

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
Emphatically seconding Sam and Mike's remarks. I appreciate the position Parks is in, and found his explanation entirely satisfactory. I might also note that Parks has been extraordinarily generous with his research both in this forum and in others, including the rich wealth of data he has provided on his website. To imply (vitually directly accusing him of) hoarding information for self-aggrandisement, financial gain or other base motivations is not merely unfair, it is deeply offensive. In effect he has been given a backhander in return for his generousity over the years. By all means question him as to his sources - and you can either take or leave his answers as suits you individually (personally, I believe he is one of the researchers whose integrity and ability I have utter faith in). But never lose sight of the tremendous contribution he has already made to our collective knowledge, at great personal and financial expense.

My thanks to him - and to all researchers who do likewise, several of whom have already posted in this thread.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
380
283
Easley South Carolina
>>Bob, Just because the Gigantic was named in November 1911, doesn't mean that the White Star Line didn't consider it at one point.<<

I'd be truely amazed if it wasn't. The name would be consistant with the mythological figures that the first two sisters were named after. The thing is that the naming of a ship can often be a matter of some controversy, as witnessed by the debate over the naming of warships in the U.S. Navy. While I doubt the discussions in the White Star offices were anywhere near as sprited, I don't think J.Bruce Ismay just decided on the names on the spot.
 

Steve Olguin

Member
Mar 31, 2005
347
0
86
Once again I hope Parks doesn't stop posting here, but I wouldn't blame him in the least if he did. I think certain members of this forum need to "take a chill pill" already.
 

Bob Read

Member
Mar 3, 2002
393
4
146
Paul:
I'm cheering your efforts on. At least you publish what you've got when you've got it.

Regards,
Bob Read
 

Philip Hind

Staff member
Sep 1, 1996
1,743
9
168
48
England
I seems faintly ridiculous that someone should be brow-beaten into revealing a source. It's not surprising that a significant revelation or hypothesis would illicit curiosity as to it's origin but remember, this is only a message board. If, upon final publication, the source was similarly obscured it would be another matter since follow-up research would be stifled.
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,239
483
213
I think we are looking at the normal indecision over names that come with the building of ships and the birthing of our daughters and sons. Nothing more.

A ship goes through the same birthing as we do. At first it is a gleam in the eye, a desire. Then comes the swelling belly stage when it is obvious something new is on the way. Finally, there is the launch when a name is necessary. Families go through this process with children, often having a name in mind before the fact, other names come and go during the pregnancy, and only at birth is the child given its true name.

It looks pretty certain that "Olympic," "Titanic," and "Gigantic" were the three conceptual names for the class. of ships. They were all references to larger-than-life mythical creatures--the Olympians, the Titans, and giants.

Of the three names, "Olympic" and "Titanic" conjured up size, but little else specific in the ordinary person's life. Thanks to advertising, by 1911 the word "giant" was already conjuring up images of soap boxes in the popular mind. It no longer held the cachet of a large mythical creature. And, the hull that became Britannic was not really going to be a giant compared to the German competition, something the Germans were sure to point out. "Gigantic" was clearly a poor choice for a liner even before Titanic sank.

It would seem natural that there was a period of time when the name "Gigantic" began to lose favor, but was still used in conversation. "Britannic" would have been ascendent during that period. Both were probably used at various times. I suspect documents might exist showing what appears a flip-flop on the name choice, but really indicate only the indecision of the moment.

A shipyard is not really concerned with the official name of the ship until the time comes to incise it into the steel. Clients often change and re-change their minds on a name as the vessel grows. That's one reason why everything is identified by number even after the vessel is handed over to the purchaser. Had Titanic survived, it may have changed names over time if sold to a new company--but it would always have been hull #401 at Harland & Wolff.

Bottom line--the current argument over the naming of Britannic is over something that never really happened. It's no more important than the names you didn't get when you were born.

Ask your own mother and father what names they had for you before you arrived. My guess is dad had one idea and mom a different one. Your proud parents finally agreed on the moniker you carry today. What relationship to your reality do any of those unvoiced, unused names that you might have carried have today? Not much, especially when you sign a check.

-- David G. Brown
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
4
0
Paul, while you're at it, look into the previous ships that the White Star Line considered naming Gigantic, but didn't follow through with. You might establish a pattern. I don't know specifically which ships those were -- or how many...I have just heard that there were other ships in consideration to be named Gigantic before the Olympics came along. This is not a topic that I have dedicated any effort to, so I can't give you any more than what I have picked up in conversation.

By the way, this debate caused my source to out himself on another forum (the debate evidently spilled out onto that forum, too). For those of you who haven't already guessed, his name is Simon Mills. You may remember Simon...he has shared his Britannic and Titanic research in many forms: books, TV documentaries, Commutator, etc. His current research will be published soon. And he is just as appreciative of the comments posted here as I.

For those of you who feel left out in the cold...ask yourself why. Have you really done all that you can to get the information that you desire so much?

Steve, no worries...I will continue posting as long as I have something to contribute.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
380
283
Easley South Carolina
>>For those of you who haven't already guessed, his name is Simon Mills.<<

And that doesn't surprise me one bit. Futher knowing the man's history, if he says he means to publish, then that's exactly what he intends to do. I'll be looking forward to what he has to offer on the matter.
 

Paul Rogers

Member
Nov 30, 2000
1,244
2
168
56
West Sussex, UK
Parks said:
I have just heard that there were other ships in consideration to be named Gigantic before the Olympics came along. This is not a topic that I have dedicated any effort to, so I can't give you any more than what I have picked up in conversation.
FWIW, I had a conversation with Paul Louden-Brown (and others) some years ago whilst in So'ton and Paul implied that, according to the Press at the time, several pre-1911 WSL ships were allegedly to be named 'Gigantic'. Obviously, none ever were. I seem to recall that Paul thought the naming issue to be Press exaggeration, but my memory may be failing me on this point.

It was a social event, and I didn't ask Paul to document his sources.
 

Roy Mengot

Active Member
May 16, 2006
58
1
78
I agree with Parks's position and others expressed here. There is a lot of information that is isn't getting out to those of us in the community who are interested or may benefit by it in doing other research. "Making a splash" with new information that was painstaking acquired or analyzed, and profiting by it, is a valid reason. The important thing is the data does eventually get out. Just not as fast as you'd like.

I can't talk about it now, but there is a ton of new information that will become available in the next 6 months on Titanic from at least 3 different sources (that I know about) about both the ship and the wreck. That is information that will be shared. Let that whet your appetite.

For me, the one mother lode of information that is kept in private hands is the book on Titanic's internal furnishings and decor. Boy, would I like to see that.

Regards
Roy Mengot
 

James Smith

Member
Dec 5, 2001
490
1
146
For me, the one mother lode of information that is kept in private hands is the book on Titanic's internal furnishings and decor. Boy, would I like to see that.
Waaaaiiit---that still exists??? (Sorry if I'm hijacking the topic here).

--Jim
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Dec 29, 2000
6,103
174
223
Moderator's Note: Three messages in this thread have been quarantined, at least temporarily. Please re-read Phil's message and terminate any discussion of the propriety of not disclosing information garnered through private research.
 

Bob Read

Member
Mar 3, 2002
393
4
146
Mark:
The thing that started this whole problem was not non disclosure of information. If a researcher wants to hold information close to the vest until he finishes, no problem. The problem is when this information is disclosed then the reference and/or source is purposely hidden. Why can't something like this be discussed? Have we become so sensitive that anything of a controversial nature can't be discussed? Phil Hind said nothing of the sort.
He didn't set boundaries for this discussion other than the normal proprieties and if I may be so bold, neither should you. I made no direct ad hominem attacks against any person. What I was arguing against was the practice referenced above, hoarding of information (with no intent to ever reveal it), and attacks against me for daring to discuss such practices.

Regards,
Bob Read
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Dec 29, 2000
6,103
174
223
Hello, Bob---

Parks admitted that he made a mistake; that should have been the end of that part of this discussion. It serves no useful purpose to continue it especially since, as noted above, he's always been very generous in sharing information that he's uncovered.

Let's move on to something more productive than a debate about a mistake, shall we?
 

Paul Lee

Member
Aug 11, 2003
2,239
2
108
Nothing too dramatic, but whilst in Soton at the weekend, I had the chance to go through some old microfiche records about the whole Gigantic story. It threw up a few interesting snippets, but nothing major.

These are all from the weekly "The Southampton Times and Hampshire Express", which has a section within called "On Ship and Shore", a compendium of ship movements and news - note that the mention of this section's name in "Titanic Voices" is slightly incorrect
(viz. the "It was all a Gigantic joke!" bit)

2nd December 1911
"Improvements at Belfast"

"..In addition, the preliminary steps have been taken to add 100 ft to the huge gantry under which the Olympic was built, the extension being necessary in view of the much greater length of at least one vessel, for which Messrs Harland and Wolff have received the contract"

9th December 1911
"Bigger Than Ever"

"[it is] anticipated [that the new ship is] to be between 990 and 1000 feet in length, with a breadth of 94 or 96 feet. The keel is said to be 19 feet broad and 3 inches thick and it has been laid on the slip on which the Olympic was built...the company [WSL] refuses to confirm or deny this"


11th May 1912

"Why Gigantic?"
"It seems to be generally accepted that the big White Star liner now under construction at Belfast has been named the Gigantic. All the London papers give her that name, but the company's officials are not aware that the designation has been considered by those in authority! That she will be gigantic in size is certain. At any rate, the Company has given no indication of a change in their policy."

1st June 1912

"The report of the Company [WSL's accounts] is also notable because it contains the first official indication of the size of the new steamer which is to be built at Belfast for the Southampton-New York service. It will be upwards of 50,000 tons ... and apparently she will be slightly larger than the Imperator, launched last week for the Hamburg-American Line."

22nd June, 1912

"America has had two goes at christening the White Star Line's next mammoth steamer. The "Gigantic" having been scratched, they find consolation in the good old word "Britannic". Needless to say, the vessel's name has not yet been decided upon."

Incidentally, the "Gigantic was a joke" story recounted in Titanic Voices has the wrong date. It appeared in the above newspaper on May 18th, 1912.

Since then, another source has come to light which I will be researching as soon as I can get to it, and which promises "big things" so please be patient!

Thanks

Paul
--
http://www.paulee.com
 

Luke Owens

Member
Jan 18, 2007
87
0
76
I've become curious about the name of the Britannic. There are those who say that the ship was originally slated to be called "Gigantic", while others say this is a myth. Which is correct?

Luke

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally a separate thread, has been moved to this pre-existing thread addressing the same issue. MAB]
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,956
206
193
Luke, this has been discussed for years, as you can see in this thread. I've had a lengthy, friendly argument with the very able researcher and author, Mark Chirnside. I take the view that the Gigantic name was a press beat-up, probably originating with a freelance reporter in search of a dollar. Mark thinks that where there's smoke, there's fire, and White Star did consider the name at some stage.

We agree on some things.

There's no document from White Star or any other official source showing the name.

The so-called poster showing a ship of that name is a packing slip for household goods, such as sheets or blankets, not a shipping line poster. Thanks to Mark Baber for that insight.

If the name ever was considered, it was dropped some time before {Titanic} sank. This was done because the Germans had bigger ships under construction and the name had begun to look silly.

Britannic's entry in Harland & Wolff's registry of ships built show no sign of an alteration. There is no photographic evidence to settle the matter, as the only photos of Britannic under construction were taken at a late stage. They show her as Britannic.

The various references to Gigantic and Britannic are very confusing. I've turned up a reference to Britannic from as early as May 1911, yet later references either call the third ship Gigantic or say she's un-named.

Even after the name of Britannic was announced in May 1912, the press kept referring to Gigantic until at least August 1912.

So it's not settled and possibly never will be.