Primary Sources please


Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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There are a number of Titanic tales that are constantly repeated as fact but I have never seen primary sources for any of them. What does this learned group say about----

The alleged dinner at which Pirrie and Ismay planned the Olympic class ships.

Captain Smith’s supposed retirement after Titanic’s maiden voyage.

The copy of the Rubaiyat allegedly on board.

The claim that Titanic was warned of ice by Rappahannock by Morse signal. This one makes no sense to me at all. If it happened on the night of April 14th Rappahannock had just done by night what Captains Lord and Stulpin could barely do by day, that is, cross the icefield from east to west. If it happened on April 13th the ships were over 500 miles from the scene of the wreck and the claimed wording of the warning makes no sense.
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 27, 2000
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Dave asked about sources:

The copy of the Rubaiyat allegedly on board.

Hi, Dave,

One of the earliest accounts I found regarding this book was in "The Deathless Story of the Titanic", an English memorial newspaper which came out right after the catastrophe. Under the heading "Some Incidents of the Disaster" is the following:

"The copy of Fitzgerald's translation of Omar Khayyam, with Elihu Vedder's beautiful illustrations, known as 'the most remarkable specimen of binding ever produced' went down with the 'Titanic'. Less than a month ago it realised 405 pounds at auction, where it found an American purchaser."

Hope this is of some help.

Best regards,
Cook
 

Dave Gittins

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Thanks for your effort, but that's not a primary source. If it was, we'd have to allow the story of Rigel the dog and other tall tales.
 

Martin Pirrie

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Dec 30, 2000
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It was a lways a family story that Lord P sat down with Ismay after a dinner at Lord P's house in London (now the Spanish embassy) and sketched out the Titanic and the Olympic on the back of an envelope! I believe that there was more to it than that but not much.The dinner did take place and the early request would have ben in this seemingly casual way. The inital stages of the design were pretty sketchy. Lord P knew Ismay well enough to know what was needed almost instictively. The cost and payment terms were equally sketchy! Lord P was not known as Mr 5% for nothing!
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Martin,

Do you know anything about the story that Lord Pirrie fired Naval Architect Edward Wilding after he testified at the British Board of Trade Inquiry? Do you know anything about the circumstances under which Mr. Wilding left H & W?
 

Martin Pirrie

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I think that I have something about Wilding. You'll have to bear with me because I am moving house and most of the papers are in storage.
 

Martin Pirrie

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I have not been able to find anything in my records about Wilding. If you e-mail, I can speak to you on this subject which interests me.
 

Dave Gittins

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I covered this some weeks ago on a closed thread, but don't ask the name of it.

Wilding worked on at H & W after Titanic and designed alterations to Olympic and Britannic. In 1923 he was "stood down due to ill health" by Lord Pirrie.

It was really Pirrie's doing. He was building ships for a client at cost or below but he kept the financial details secret, as was his way. Wilding thought they were being built on the cost plus commission basis used for Titanic. He therefore added all manner of things to them, thinking the buyer would pay. This cost H & W a bomb and when Pirrie found out he called Wilding to London and the highly strung Wilding broke down. Pirrie stood him down to save face.

The above is detailed in Shipbuiders to the World and I've had it independently confirmed. There is a fairy tale that Pirrie sacked him in 1912 or 13 for building the ship that drowned his nephew, but it's pure fantasy.
 

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