How did the English feel towards the designers of the Titanic after the disaster?


James McRaney

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I have a collection of information about Wilfred Stephen Lockyer (born 1876), a marine architect from Bournemouth, Hampshire, England. He moved to Belfast to help design the interior for the White Star Line. He worked extensively with the chapel and other interior bright work, as he was an accomplished organist, and spoke of the Pilcher organ aboard.

He was scheduled to sail on the disastrous maiden voyage, but sold his ticket because an event before the launch was seen as a very bad omen. He emigrated to the US in May, 1913 and became an architect of some renown.

The story is that he was run out of England. Are there people in the community that can help me understand how the Brits felt about the designers and builders and others associated with the Titanic disaster? I'd like to know if they were chased with pitch forks, if they were blackballed and could no longer work in their trade, or if others emigrated because they were publicly shamed. Or perhaps his tale is exaggerated?

Best regards from Mississippi and Arizona.
 

James McRaney

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Where was there a chapel?
Aboard the Titanic. In First Class, I presume.

And is this the same person whose 1911 bankruptcy is referred to here?
Quite possibly. The man who came to the US was born in May 1876. The first venture of the guy in this article began in 1902 building and selling houses. Mr. Lockyer the future architect would have have been 26 that year. Would that be appropriate for the age? "Our" Mr. Locker also was to have graduated from the Guildhall School of Music in London.

I hope to find out.
 

Dave Gittins

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As to how the English felt about the designers, Lord Pirrie was placed in charge of British merchant ship building during WW I and achieved great things. Alexander Carlisle was already retired from H & W but went merrily on his somewhat eccentric way. Edward Wilding worked on at H & W before becoming a consulting naval architect and earning a CBE. The dead Thomas Andrews was made a hero. So nobody got chased with pitchforks.

Lockyer's mention of a chapel and an organ discredits him straight away. Titanic had neither.
 

Bob Godfrey

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An online article about the City Hall at Picayune, Miss, includes more recollections from the 'world famous architect' who designed the building:

"He (Lockyer) found employment with the White Star Line, a shipbuilding company located in Belfast, Ireland, which at that time was designing a luxury liner ship of which four models were to be built from the same plan: the Olympia, Titanic, Lusitania and Britinia ... The first of these ships to be completed was the Titanic; Lockyer worked on the interior design. He pointed out that each first-class stateroom had a grand piano and a large meeting space which served as an entertainment center. A chapel contained a large Pitcher pipe organ. Such facilities were common on luxury ships of that day. When the Titanic was completed and readied for its maiden voyage, the architects were given passage. Just before launch, a large guiderope broke which secured the ship, because it lurched in a high gust of wind. Superstition had it among sailors that if this particular rope broke prior to the maiden voyage of a new ship, it would sink and not complete its first voyage. Lockyer, being a devout Christian, chose to stand on the docks and sell his ticket and not take the trip."

All nonsense. If this is really what Lockyer himself had to say about the Titanic then clearly he knew nothing about that ship and very little about ocean liners in general.
 

Jim Currie

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One small point which may be considered frivolous.

Although James referes to the 'Brits' in his text, the title of this thread irritates some people.

Strange as it may seem, the Irish. Welsh and Scots also had feelings about the disaster. A disproportionate of these other members of the United Kingdon were directly involved with Titanic. Perhaps future 'posters' might like to remember that?

Another small point and I'll never mention the subject again. This is just one very small thing that will influences the Scots when it comes to the Independence vote later this year.

Jim C.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Not at all frivolous, Jim. But while it's fairly common in the US (where James is located, I think) to refer to the whole of the UK as 'England', UK citizens on this side of the border never speak of an 'English Army' or 'English Government' for instance, and almost always refer to themselves as British and their country as the UK. Especially when a Scotsman wins at Wimdledon!
 

Jim Currie

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Not at all frivolous, Jim. But while it's fairly common in the US (where James is located, I think) to refer to the whole of the UK as 'England', UK citizens on this side of the border never speak of an 'English Army' or 'English Government' for instance, and almost always refer to themselves as British and their country as the UK. Especially when a Scotsman wins at Wimdledon!
No big deal as far as I'm concerned Bob but I must admit, living in Portugal; it gets little under my right one when Time Share twits with Cockney accents ask me "are you English?" Particularly when I've been talking to them for 5 minutes and sound like a cross between Rab C Nesbit and Sean Connery or Mel Gibson on a good day.

The Scottish 'Camel' has broad shoulders (or is it humps?) and can carry a tremendous load of 'straw'. Such little but thoughtless, inconsideration grates on sensitive ears and might just prove to be a straw too much for some :rolleyes:

Jim C.

PS Where the hell is Wimdledon? Is it near Milngavie? (pronouced Mull-guy)
 

Bob Godfrey

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So you're not English, Jim? :)

I recall reading a discussion on a film website between two Americans who had been watching a Western in which the two lead roles were played by Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. "There are plenty of real American actors," complained one, "So why did they give these parts to two Scotsmen?" That's fairly typical, but I'm surprised that there are Londoners who can't detect a Scots accent unless you're sporting a kilt and a red beard. Perhaps they think that Connery, Nesbit, Connolly etc are English too "but from up norf sumware. 'ampstead, I s'pect".
 

James McRaney

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An online article about the City Hall at Picayune, Miss, includes more recollections from the 'world famous architect' who designed the building:

"He (Lockyer) found employment with the White Star Line, a shipbuilding company located in Belfast, Ireland, which at that time was designing a luxury liner ship of which four models were to be built from the same plan: the Olympia, Titanic, Lusitania and Britinia ... The first of these ships to be completed was the Titanic; Lockyer worked on the interior design. He pointed out that each first-class stateroom had a grand piano and a large meeting space which served as an entertainment center. A chapel contained a large Pitcher pipe organ. Such facilities were common on luxury ships of that day. When the Titanic was completed and readied for its maiden voyage, the architects were given passage. Just before launch, a large guiderope broke which secured the ship, because it lurched in a high gust of wind. Superstition had it among sailors that if this particular rope broke prior to the maiden voyage of a new ship, it would sink and not complete its first voyage. Lockyer, being a devout Christian, chose to stand on the docks and sell his ticket and not take the trip."

All nonsense. If this is really what Lockyer himself had to say about the Titanic then clearly he knew nothing about that ship and very little about ocean liners in general.
I believe these are Lockyer's words. The writer of that piece knew Mr. Lockyer as they were both musicians. It is the story Lockyer told.

Would you please educate me as to why his attributions would not come from someone with knowledge of that ship and ocean liners in general?
 

James McRaney

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One small point which may be considered frivolous.

Although James referes to the 'Brits' in his text, the title of this thread irritates some people.

Strange as it may seem, the Irish. Welsh and Scots also had feelings about the disaster. A disproportionate of these other members of the United Kingdon were directly involved with Titanic. Perhaps future 'posters' might like to remember that?

Another small point and I'll never mention the subject again. This is just one very small thing that will influences the Scots when it comes to the Independence vote later this year.

Jim C.
We also refer to the North American continent as the entirety of "America". :) I hope no one takes umbrage.
 
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I believe these are Lockyer's words. The writer of that piece knew Mr. Lockyer as they were both musicians. It is the story Lockyer told.

Would you please educate me as to why his attributions would not come from someone with knowledge of that ship and ocean liners in general?
Lockyer did not work for H&W and did not design the interior. The complete text is nonsesne. There were 3 ships (Olympic Titanic Britannic) and Olympic was the first which was build. (Lusitania belongs to the Cunard Line.) Not one 1st class stateroom had a grand piano (there was only one grand piano which was in the 1st class reception room) nore an large entertainment center. There was no chapel on board. As already mentioned church service was hold in the dining saloons. No guiderope borke during the launch and there was also no high wind during the launch.
 

James McRaney

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The Lusitania mentioned as being a sister ship was my first clue that all was not right with this story. :)

Mr. Lockyer did wind up working for the US Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression and designed quite a few major works in the southern US.

It's disappointing that his stories seem to be just that.

Hr. Georgiou - How do you say with certainty that he did no work for H&W or WSL? Who has such records? I believe your statement, but I'd like to have proof. Is there a published list of employees?
 

TimTurner

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Well, the information is certainly incorrect. But it's more than that.

My question to you, James, is how did you come across this individual and why are you interested in them? I think it's important to recognize that the source of this information is not wrong, they are lying. This raises the question of who are they lying to and why?

Mr. Lockyer may not even exist.

This appears to be your source: Picayune
Also: Picayune
In addition to the errors about the Titanic that have already been provided by Ioannis and others, there are numerous problems with the article.

The writing is poorly done and over-stylized, with badly-worded attempts to impress the reader. It's typical of a low-grade author attempting to mimic official writing. The photo credit in the article is attributed to the article's author. It has un-sourced claims presented in a way that a professional journalist would typically not present them, for example, the folklore about the rope (the phrasing "this particular rope" is particularly suspect). The article uses irrelevant facts to support it's reasoning, for example, that Lockyer being a devout Christian took the rope breaking as an omen. There is no particular reason why a devout Christian would consider random superstition any more than the average person, unless that superstition was actually related in some way to the religion.

There are questionable points in the Timeline presented: Lockyer designs the Titanic, misses sailing on it in Apr 1912, gets arrested for his work on the Titanic, manages to graduate from a music school in 1913, performing for a major audience, then leaves the country by May of that year. Awfully busy guy.

The writer gets the number of floors in the Woolworth Building wrong (claims 50, actual is 57). There is some terrible spelling in some of the articles I've seen on this.

There's also problems with the proposed history of the City Hall building. The original was built on 1904 and was used until the Lockyer City hall building replaced it, except that the building was built on the same site. Where did the city conduct business when the old building was being torn down and the new one being constructed?

David Stockstill is the only person who seems to have any pictures of Lockyer on any site that I've seen.

On multiple sites with articles, the articles are obviously sourced from one person. I'd say that a lot of amateur journalists have been had by Mr. David Stockstill. The questions you should be asking are about him, not Lockyer.
 

Jim Currie

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I believe these are Lockyer's words. The writer of that piece knew Mr. Lockyer as they were both musicians. It is the story Lockyer told.

Would you please educate me as to why his attributions would not come from someone with knowledge of that ship and ocean liners in general?
"He (Lockyer) found employment with the White Star Line, a shipbuilding company located in Belfast, Ireland, which at that time was designing a luxury liner ship of which four models were to be built from the same plan: the Olympia, Titanic, Lusitania and Britinia ... The first of these ships to be completed was the Titanic;"

For a Start. Anyone with shipbuilding or ship owning knowledge would know that the White Star Company was not a Ship Building Company. They simply owned ships. The only people they would employ in Belfast would be crew for their ships. Harland & Wolff built the ships.
Obviously the author got his facts second hand. He either mixed them up or got them from someone equally ignorant of ships and shipping.
Titanic was not the first of the four vesels mentioned. She was the second of a planned series which included Olympic and Britannic. The Lusitania was built in 1904/06 by by John Brown of Clydebank, Scotland who built most of the Cunarders including the Queens Mary and Elizabeth right up until the 1960s. (I suspect that WSL were impressed by the Cunarder and based the plan of the Olympic class on her. Maybe not)

Jim C.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Lockyer himself was real enough. He was running a small building firm in Hampshire in 1901 before the Olympic Class ships had been conceived and was sill running it in 1911 while the Titanic was under construction. While the ship was being fitted out and almost completed at the tail end of that year he was in the bankruptcy court. In 1913 he sailed for New York, and if anyone was pursuing him with pitchforks it would have been his creditors who had lost their money. In the ship's manifest his occupation was given as 'musician'. He is said to have graduated from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music in that same year, which would have required him to have been a student of the school for several years previous to that date, during a period when he was clearly otherwise occupied. As several of us have pointed out, his references to the Titanic are ludicrous and indicate total ignorance of the design of the ship and of the work undertaken by Harland & Wolff. It would be a waste of time pursuing that line of inquiry any further, especially when the 1911 census shows him to have been in Bournemouth building houses, not in Belfast fitting out the Titanic with imaginary luxuries.

It's obvious that either Lockyer or somebody claiming to have been well-acquainted with the man was 'a stranger to the truth'. If it was Lockyer himself who invented his own past then maybe he was a Walter Mitty character, maybe aiming to build a false but impressive cv prior to a new start in the US, maybe a bit of both. As for his achievements in the US, I can't comment on those but bearing in mind the obviously false claims about his background in the UK I'd want to investigate the possibility that the structures he built were actually designed by somebody else, an employee or an outside consultant perhaps. Whatever, he was certainly not a 'world famous architect' as the article quoted above would have us believe.
 

Jim Currie

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So you're not English, Jim? :)
How on earth did you guess Bob?

I'm surprised that there are Londoners who can't detect a Scots accent unless you're sporting a kilt and a red beard. Perhaps they think that Connery, Nesbit, Connolly etc are English too "but from up norf sumware. 'ampstead, I s'pect".


Don't know about that one Bob. Last Time I was in the 'Smoke', I had a hard time finding anyone who could speak english. Lot of pseudo JA MAY CAAN, MAAAN though.

I too am reminded of a golden moment in film. It comes near the end of that great movie "Finding Forrester".
Sean Connery who plays the recluse author Forrester is leaving New York to go back home. His young pupil played by Rob Brown suggsts "So you'll be going home to Ireland then?" To which Connery furiously replies " Sh-cotland for God'sh Sh-ake!

I resht my caish!

Jim C.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Serves Connery right, Jim, for playing so many Irishmen in his early films. Maybe the casting directors thought he really was Oirish? But of course whatever the role it was always Connery playing Connery, a specialism at which he excelled. And still the industry isn't saying "What we want for this part is a young Connery." Don't think, however, that we southerners haven't suffered too. Mention the name 'Dick Van Dyke' and watch any cockney turn pale.
 

Bob Godfrey

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As an ancient Brit like me, Jim, you'll remember The Blood Donor:

Nurse: You'll be perfectly all right, Dr McTaggart is an excellent doctor.
Hancock: Dr McTaggart? He's a Scotsman! Oh, that's fine, they're all good doctors, Scotsmen. Yes, like engineers, you know, it's the porridge that does it. Right, aye, carry on Macduff.
(Enters surgery): It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht. There's a bonnie wee lassie out there, hoots mon the noo.
Doctor (no accent at all): Do you mind sitting down there please, Mr Hancock.
Hancock: I beg your pardon for lapsing into the vernacular, but the young lady did say you were a Scottish gentleman.
Doctor: We're not all Rob Roys.

Now there's a Scots role that Connery couldn't have played.
 

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