The sinking of the Titanic is a tragedy that’s well-known by most – after setting sail in April 1912, the luxury liner was tragically destined to collapse just five days into its journey. Over 700 passengers survived the disaster, but over 1,000 lives were lost.
Whether you are fascinated by the history of the incident or would like to know more beyond the movie of the same name, here are some interesting facts about the Titanic that are worth remembering.
RMS Titanic: Quick facts:
Set sail from Southampton: 10 April 1912, 12pm
Destination: New York
Crew and Passengers on board: 2,208 people
Captain: Edward Smith
Maximum Capacity: 3,547 people
Maximum Lifeboat Capacity: 1,178 people
Speed of Titanic: 22 knots
Iceberg Strike: 11:40 pm – 14 April, 1912
Titanic Sank: 2:20 am – 15 April, 1912
Total Survivors: 705 passengers
1. The Titanic took less time to build than you might think.
The Titanic took an impressive two years to build, and work started on the ship in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
2. It pulled in the crowds!
The launch was truly huge – more than 100,000 people were in attendance to see the ship set sail.
3. Unfortunately, the early press was very wrong indeed.
Ironically, the ship was referred to many in the press as ‘unsinkable’ before it set off.
4. It cost a very pretty penny to put to the water.
At the time of building, the ship cost an eye-watering $7.5 million in building costs.
5. That’s a lot of heat on board.
The Titanic took a lot of power to run – nearly 30 different boilers powered the ship.
6. The lack of lifeboats was a massive flaw – and one that should have been dealt with before launch.
It’s true – it’s recognized as a massive safety failure that there were simply not enough lifeboats available to protect all on board.
7. The disaster killed hundreds as a result – with many going down with the ship.
There were more than 2,200 people on board the Titanic – and yet only a third of these would survive the sinking. Around 1,500 people died in the disaster.
8. The crew badly judged the threat of icebergs.
It’s thought that the lookouts on board the ship were aware of an iceberg, but it was thought that they’d escaped the danger.
9. Some thought they’d escaped the bergs completely.
It was, ultimately, the spur beneath the iceberg that would eventually pierce the ship, causing it to take on water.
10. The lifeboats were seriously wasted – as well as in short supply.
The lifeboats actually launched, initially, barely full – the evacuation mission did not go according to plan.
11. The fateful time and date.
The Titanic would completely sink at around 2:20am, as of April 15th, 1912.
12. It took a long time for people to find the ship.
The Titanic’s remains were only discovered in 1985 – amazingly, they went undiscovered in the waters for more than 70 years!
13. Hollywood took a keen interest.
There have actually been more than a few movies based on the tragedy of the Titanic. These even include two released in 1912, months after the disaster took place.
14. So did Nazi Germany, apparently.
Bizarrely, Joseph Goebbels – head of propaganda under Adolf Hitler – directed a Nazi ‘retelling’ of the Titanic disaster in 1941.
15. There wasn’t a gender split.
The vast majority of the enormous crew – numbering 885 – were male. Only 23 members of staff on board were female.
16. It might not have been built to weather the waves.
Some experts actually claimed that the sheer design of the Titanic meant it was never designed to survive a disaster. Its fairly ‘cutting edge’ design was seen as esthetically pleasing, but not necessarily practical!
17. The Cameron movie made big money.
Of course, James Cameron helped to bring the story of the Titanic to the big screen in 1997 – it cost $200 million to make, but made a colossal $2.2 billion worldwide! It’s one of the most successful movies, financially, of all time.
18. Was the captain drunk at the wheel?
The captain of the Titanic, Edward Smith, was reportedly drunk when the ship hit the iceberg in those fateful moments – could his failure to act have also helped to cause such a disaster? We may never know for sure.
FAQS about The Titanic
Which company built the Titanic?
The RMS Titanic was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland by the shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff.
Who owned the Titanic?
The Ship Itself was actually owned by an American tycoon called John Pierpoint Morgan. The Titanic was however registered as a British ship as Morgan’s company owned the controlling stake in the successful British shipping company, White Star Line.
Who was the captain of the titanic?
The Titanic's captain was Edward John Smith (27 January 1850 – 15 April 1912). It's been alleged that he was in bed, drunk, at the time of the collision with the iceberg.
Where is the Titanic now?
The wreck of the Titanic is still at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean - that’s 13,000 feet below.
Is the Titanic on Google Earth?
You can’t explore the Titanic on Google Earth - but you can easily spot the site where it sunk!
Did Titanic survivors ever get compensation?
Yes - eventually, some survivors were able to get $665,000 each as a result of the disaster.
Do you know any history or interesting facts about The Titanic? Share them in the comments below!