FROM Titanic’s birthplace in a Belfast shipyard to its resting place in the North Atlantic, thousands gathered yesterday to remember the cruise ship that embarked on its maiden voyage as an icon of Edwardian luxury but became, in a few dark hours 100 years ago, an enduring emblem of tragedy.
The ship was travelling to New York when it struck an iceberg at 11.40pm on 14 April, 1912. It sank at 2.20am on 15 April, with the loss of more than 1,500 of the 2,208 passengers and crew.
Aboard the Balmoral, a cruise ship that is taking 1,309 history buffs and descendants of Titanic victims on the route of the doomed voyage, passengers and crew held memorial services at the site of the disaster, 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland – one marking the time when the ship hit the iceberg, the other the moment it sank below the waves.
In Belfast, where Titanic was built, the pride of the Harland & Wolff shipyard, thousands attended a choral requiem at St Anne’s Cathedral and a televised concert at the city’s Waterfront Hall last night.
The most famous maritime disaster in history was commemorated around the world, even in places without direct links to it.
Venues in Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston and even Singapore are hosting Titanic exhibitions that include artifacts recovered from the site of the wreck.
Among them are bottles of perfume, porcelain dishes and even a 17 ft piece of hull. The centenary of the disaster has been marked with a global outpouring of commemoration and commerce.