Launch of Titanic


Dennis Smith

Member
Aug 24, 2002
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Hi All,

I think I've seen this question asked before, but I'm damned if I can find the thread.

I was watching ANTR this evening and at the beginning of the film there is the launching of some vessel or other,not the Titanic I think, with a woman breaking the bottle of bubbly over the bow (what a waste).

What I want to know is, did the Titanic have a big launching ceremony and who, if there was one, broke the bubbly over her bow.

I await your knowledgeable answers

Best Wishes and Rgds

Dennis
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
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Dec 3, 2000
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Niagara Falls, Ontario
G'day Dennis,

It was White Star Line's tradition not to have any kind of ceremony whatsoever. That included breaking a bottle of champagne over the ship's bow.

As one shipyard worker at Harland & Wolff put it,"they just build 'em and shove 'em in". He couldn't have said it better.

The ship in that particular scene, is actual footage of the Queen Elizabeth being launched.

Hope that helps.

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 

Dennis Smith

Member
Aug 24, 2002
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Hi Jason,

Thanks for that, your reply has only confirmed what I thought was the facts.

Does anyone know why WSL just "built 'em and shoved 'em". Seems very strange when all the major companies around wanted to give their ships the showiest launching they possibly could.

Best Wishes and Rgds

Dennis


PS - Love Canada - spent some time in St. Johns and B.C. - Loved it!!! Not made your neck of the woods though - Maybe someday!!!
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi Dennis,

You're welcome. I'm not sure what the reason is behind that tradition. Mark Baber would probably know. If he sees this thread, he'll post an answer.

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your time here. If you're ever in the area, it would be a pleasure to meet you and show you around.

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>Does anyone know why WSL just "built 'em and shoved 'em". Seems very strange when all the major companies around wanted to give their ships the showiest launching they possibly could.<<

Yes it does. The only speculation I can offer is that it was the way it was always done and nobody ever gave it a lot of thought. I'm sure there was an underlying reason, but I suspect by 1911, it was forgotten. When a tradition becomes entrenched, "This is the way we've always done it." tends to be taken as a reason in itself.
 

Martin Pirrie

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Dec 30, 2000
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I believe that the low key attitude to launching came from Lord Pirrie whose sole ambition in life was to build ships. I was not even aware that anyone broke a bottle of champagne over the bows of Titanic. This was just another big ship for WSL. Lord P gave the nod to Charles Payne who released the hydraulic locks and another ship was born. It was Lord P's birthday: he was not well but I have no doubt that his mind was on the next ship " to build and shove".
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Lord Pirrie used to launch ships with the full rigmarole for other lines. There are photos in Shipbuilders to the World showing parties with bottle at the ready. Lord P. liked to keep the customers happy.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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Did Cunard Line, White Star's big competitor, launch their ships with great fanfare or did they "build and shove them"? during the same period?

(I know that Hamburg-American Line had a fanciful launch for their new flagship, the Imperator in 1913)
 

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