Raising the Bow

Video highlights from Rebuilding Titanic

Learn more about what it took to rebuild the Titanic

Team Mission and Titanic
•    Titanic was 268 metres long and weighed over 46,000 tonnes.
•    Titanic’s hull contained 835 cabins and could accommodate three and half thousand passengers and crew.
•    The bow section of the Titanic was erected next to Titanic’s dry dock in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as a lasting tribute to the community that made her.
•    In this episode, sixteen tonnes of steel parts will be assembled in eight days.
•    A week into the build, the bow section stands at just over 9.4 metres. This structure represents only a fraction of Titanic's vast hull. From the bottom of her keel to the top of her funnels, Titanic stood at 53.34 metres.
•    The team of experts took five days to make one rib, one plate and part of the stem by hand, 1/19th of the entire section
•    Titanic’s stem was 45 metres long.

Shipping Industry and Harland and Wolff
•    Work started on the Titanic’s hull at Harland and Wolff’s shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1909.
•    On May 31st 1911, after two years of construction, workers, families and dignitaries made their way to the Belfast shipyard to witness the launch of Titanic.
•    At the time it was finished, Titanic was the heaviest man-made object ever moved.
•    To build the massive hull, lengths of steel were heated in huge furnaces, then dragged onto pegboards where expert steel workers quickly bent the steel round a guide to the exact curve they needed. The metal could only be worked when red-hot.
•    4000 men worked on Titanic, making over 600 ribs that formed the shape of the ship. It took in excess of two years to build her giant hull.
•    15,000 people poured through the gates of Harland and Wolff’s dockyards where Titanic was built every day.
•    Harland and Wolff built its last ship in 2003. It still exists today, specializing in marine engineering with a workforce of 300.
•    At 6.20AM the foreman would greet the shipyard workers at the Harland and Wolff gate. Anyone who arrived late would find themselves locked out, with no work and no pay. There was a morning break from twenty past eight until nine o’clock. There was then a lunch from one to two, followed by a short afternoon break.
•    In the Harland and Wolff shipyard every meal break was strictly regulated, and even toilet breaks were restricted.  An attendant would check workers in and out, and each person had just seven minutes in which to do their business.
•    In 1909, draughtsmen drew many sections of the ship to scale, piece by piece, on the floor of a huge loft, and used these drawings to make wooden templates, which were then used to shape each piece of the ship’s steel frame.


Linen, Titanic’s Textiles
•    Titanic's three and half thousand passengers and crew required some 45,000 linen napkins, 18,000 linen bed sheets, and 32,500 linen towels.
•    In Belfast, linen and textiles were the major employer of women, and was such a big industry that the city itself was referred to as 'Linenopolis.'
•    In 1911, 40% of the workforce was female. And of this, 75% were employed in textile manufacturing.
•    Women who worked in the spinning mills often worked in their bare feet. Women would often get trench foot from standing in water, and in the spinning rooms they would have got what was called mill fever. With the noise and the heat, they would feel dizzy and nauseous.

Rivets
•    Rivets were the super glue of the industrial age, and held together steel structures from trains to bridges.
•    Three million rivets were used to make Titanic.
•    Once hammered together, as the rivet cools down, it shrinks, and gets tighter.
•    Riveters took five years to master the craft and were highly paid.
•    Hand riveting on shipyards required a four-man team. One person to run the rivet over with tongs. Another person to hold it on the back with a big hammer. And then two people on the other side smacking it in.
•    The rivet counter would have clearly set out what needed to be riveted, inspected the finished work, and calculated how much the riveters should be paid.
•    Rivet squads were paid per rivet and competition between crews was fierce.
•    An estimated 75% of Titanic's rivets were fixed using hammers and sheer manpower.

Dangers of the Shipyard
•    Eight men died during the building of Titanic.
•    In 1910, in the shipbuilding industry it was acceptable to incur one death per £100,000 spent on a project. For a construction costing then nearly 1.5 million pounds, the loss of eight lives was considered acceptable.
•    The 1906 Compensation Act meant employers were now liable for accidents and injuries in the work place. The widow of Robert James Murphy senior received £300 from Harland and Wolff in compensation for her husband’s death, the equivalent of two and half years wages he would have earned as a master of the riveting trade.


 

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