New Information on Titanic: What's there left to say?


After a year of researching and drafting my (hopefully good) book on Titanic, I begun to realise that we after 50+ years of books and research by numerous historians and writers (from Walter Lord to our very own members here), we have found out about practically everything to know about Titanic.

With a few exceptions, we know everything about the lives of the passengers and society, to the ship's interior design and edwardian mechanics, not to mention seafaring law and opinion at the time, we literally know every minute of the Ship's existence now which begs the question, Where do we go from here?

Many books, research papers and scientific tests have been done and written up about, but for Titanic writers and researchers of the future, except for new photos, the occasional survivors account or even new Californian or mystery ship data, They might end up just repeating what's known.

What are other's thoughts on this? Is it good we found out everything, is there still a huge mountain of missing evidence out there somewhere in a attic or library somewhere?
 

Kyle Naber

Member
I’ve thought about this actually. There’s over 2,208 ways to tell the story, but eventually, we will run out of new things to find out. It’s sad haha.
 
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As someone else had once said, "Those who think they know it all have no way of finding out that they don't." If the only thing one can do is regurgitate what others had said before, then there is little added value to what they themselves have to say. It's when one can see things differently than others, that is when progress is really made.
 
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There are two areas I'd like to know about, but I fear the records are lost or destroyed.

What was done with the thousands of dollars collected in the USA for the benefit of survivors? We have a great deal about the Mansion House fund in Britain, but I've never seen anything about the use made of the US fund.

What claims made against White Star in Britain were settled out of court and for how much? We know a good deal about the four claims that went to court and how the court ruled against White Star. We know other claims were made. I fear the records were destroyed, perhaps when White Star joined with Cunard.
 
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Rob Lawes

Member
In terms of the disaster itself I think after over 100 years of publications, films, stories etc there is little left to say that hasn't been already said. What we are left with in the main is reinterpretation of the existing evidence. Unless any new evidence turns up then that's the situation we are left with.

Having been a member of this site for a number of years now, the level of discussion is extremely absorbing and very enjoyable but most of the time you require a Masters certificate to keep up with it. That's not a criticism but just shows the level of understanding required to reinterpret or challenge the status quo.

This site is rare in so much as it features contributions from some of the foremost members of the research community. Published authors, maritime experts and those who have studied the subject for years. While casual members such as myself can play a role by asking the occasional question that could trigger a new line of thinking most of the hard yards have already been ran. What we see as eureka moments are generally met with weary but patient responses of 'nice idea but we've already put that one to bed'.

As far as I can tell, there are others but these are the most obvious unknowns that cause the most heated debate:

1) The actions immediately prior to and post impact on the Bridge
2) Was there a clock change prior to the collison
3) The events surrounding the Californian
4) Unknown ships that were in the area. The Mystery ships as they are known.

All 4 of those debates are currently at an impasse. The views of the most experienced members of the forum are keenly expressed but are entrenched in their opinion. It's left to the rest of us to decide who to believe.

What needs to happen is we need to get off our backsides, get back out there and put in the same amount of effort as those who have gone before us in uncovering new details. It's very easy to rely on 'Doctor Google' but the truth is not to be found there. The inquiry while being a fascinating source of material has be scoured, interpreted and re-interpreted dozens of times. The ink won't change on that paper. There must be undiscovered scraps of info in family collections, boxes at the back of storerooms in local museums and news paper offices. Until some light has been shed into every dark corner the debate won't move on.
 
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Great speech.

I agree and think we also need to begin tracing the footsteps of the Californian's Crew. They obviously know more than what was implied yet this website's list is extremely sparse except for Lord's account. Only Gill's footsteps were traced by Molony to Australia (and this requires a second magnifying glass to look over so to speak.)

Maybe we should change course to the Californian evidence / look for new info in the libraries and archives of Britain, Given the collective amount of Brain Power on here alone to Titanic, The Californian might be done a bit of good from us.
 
I don't like your chances of finding anything of value about Californian. Others have already done a great deal. A huge pile of documents is held in a museum in Liverpool. They were donated by Captain Lord's son, Leslie Harrison and others. Unfortunately, very few are from 1912. Many are letters between Lord and his apologists. Some show how he gained his various certificates. There are details about his career after 1912. They've been dug over thoroughly, without adding much to the 1912 evidence.
 
I not referring to all the Evidence already discovered about Lord and the Officers, but the other Crew-members.

Now we know Stewarts (and Gill's?) mentioned how the Californian crew had talked about the rockets AND that at least 3 of the crew were ready to testify but never did.

I reasoning that if some of them were married or had family, then they must had written letters or had the inquiry papers stored somewhere in a attic or some treasured album. Maybe one of the crew was a amateur Photographer?

The Problem is that apart from Lord and maybe Gill, we know nothing but the barest facts about the crew who must know more than we know.

If we could direct the Brain Power and attention from the tracing of Titanic passengers history, then we MIGHT find something useful to clear Lord.
 
>>...then we MIGHT find something useful to clear Lord.<<

If that is your starting point, your are apt to fail. It's like a lawyer asking a detective to look for new evidence that could clear his/her client. Not a very objective start.
 
>>...then we MIGHT find something useful to clear Lord.<<

If that is your starting point, your are apt to fail. It's like a lawyer asking a detective to look for new evidence that could clear his/her client. Not a very objective start.

At the very least, we could find out what the atmosphere or gossip was like on board and how the ordinary members of the crew would have interpreted it.
 

Jim Currie

Member
As I see it, much of what has been written about the Californian lacks original thought and has been formed from ideas pre-conceived in minds short on originality.
Not enough time has been spent sifting the available evidence. A classic example of this is the inability of our predecessors to properly analyse the evidence of the Californian's 3rd Officer.
 

Isis

Member
This thread reminds me of an article I read about porn directors, how there are only so many ways to show people having sex ;) Eventually it becomes boring

The titanic has been analyzed to death over the years and there probably isn't that much that isn't known about it. But there are always new ways to tell the same story. You just have to be creative.
 
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B-rad

Member
Not everything is known about Titanic, though perhaps like Isis mentioned everything has been analyzed. A lot of things we are just left with our best guesses and interpretations, the truths of which we may never know for sure. One thing that still isn't known is the mystery box on the Boat deck by the 2nd class entrance starboard side. There is also new ways of looking at things. Some facts have been around but no one has ever bothered to write or publish them, so unless you have access to original documents the general public at large won't know about it, so even though its not "new data", its still new to the public, which can lead to someone else discovering, or interpreting something new.

For instance, I wrote my article on the WTD because I found a couple of things about the doors I never saw published before, such as a key needing to be used to operate the vertical doors via the deck plate, the fact that the doors could be operated via the deck plate even without the clutch needing to be released, and that the forward most lateral door was operated from the deck above its watertight bulkhead. These discoveries (if they can be called that), and more, led me to write the article, in which I also interpret the WTDs on the tank top level pertaining to the boiler rooms were operated from their aft side (including the one from the fireman's tunnel), where every publication has them operating from their forward side.

I think it all depends on how much one is willing to dig, look and analyze. Perhaps even some assumptions will prove false, but its the effort made that matters, and people (as I have learned) appreciate effort, but are quick to call you out when you haven't put in the time.
 
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