FIT OUT IN BELFAST

 

Belfast

 

A bright sunny day in late-February, 1912. Titanic sits at the fitting out basin at Harland & Wolff. Work is progressing at a frantic pace to complete the new White Star liner in time for her projected maiden voyage on March 20th, 1912.

Workers swarm over the ship's interiors installing paneling, carpeting, carved woodwork, furniture and fictures. Outside, workers are giving the hull another coat of black paint. Her funnels are all in place and painted in White Star Line's buff colors.

The davits that will hold the sixteen wooden lifeboats are in place. The lifeboats are still being painted in another yard location. They will be tested and then installed. All lifeboats, in total, could carry just 1,200 people.

Titanic's full capacity would be just under 3,000 people including the officers and a crew of 900. It was finally decided by the owners that both Titanic and Olympic far exceeded the boat requirements of the English Board of Trade for "any vessel of over 10,000 gross tons".

Incidentally, Titanic measured in at 46,500 gross tons. Both ships, in fact, exceeded the number required by four extra lifeboats. Originally, Titanic was to have carried up to 48 lifeboats on the boat deck.

Mr. Bruce Ismay, the Managing Director of the Line rejected this plan by saying "Passengers don't want their promenade decks cluttered with lifeboats. Titanic and Olympic were their own lifeboats" The Publicity at the time heralded both ships as "practically unsinkable" due to their advanced watertight bulkhead construction.

Also at this time it was decided to enclose the forward portions of Titanic's promenade deck "A" with windows. Experience on Olympic proved that ocean waves and spray would reach the First Class passengers as they strolled or sat along this deck.

This feature was the one that would differentiate between both vessels. In early February a wrench was tossed into the works to complete Titanic on time. Olympic had tossed a screw on an earlier crossing and required a return to Belfast for a replacement. She took one of Titanic's.

Titanic, at that time was still in the fitting out drydock and had to be moved out in order to accommodate her sister. Work was set back. Titanic would not be ready by March 20th for her maiden voyage. The new date would have to be Wednesday, April 10th, 1912.

 


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