MORE than one hundred years ago on April 10, 1912, the newly-built Titanic transatlantic liner left Southampton for New York on its maiden voyage.
Four days later at around midnight it was struck by an iceberg in mid-Atlantic and within three hours sank with the loss of almost 1,500 lives in what is one of the world’s greatest maritime disasters.
The tragedy has always captured the imagination of writers and filmmakers. Numerous films and documentaries have been produced analysing the reasons and decisions which led to the loss of what was deemed an unsinkable ship as well as the personal stories of the passengers and crew on board.
In what is an unforgettable step back in time, the story of the Titanic is now a major exhibition on display in Madrid. It is presented as a journey through the interior of the liner, recreating its cabins, lounges, restaurants and radio room. There are over 200 unique objects on display including photos, letters and personal items belonging to passengers and crew and technical information into the building of what was the largest ship ever built. Visitors can also participate in the scientific and cultural programme of activities and lectures relating to the Titanic, which was discovered in 1985.
The Titanic was designed to carry nearly 3,000 passengers and crew. Its commander was the experienced Edward Smith. Being a maiden voyage there were many personalities on board travelling first class including the ship’s owner and several prominent and wealthy American families. In contrast hundreds of European emigrants seeking a new life in America were crammed below in the cabins.
Built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, the Titanic was owned by White Star Lines. Designed with three classes, totally segregated, as well as storage space large enough to transport motor vehicles, the ship was considered unsinkable with watertight compartments and doors.
However, a lack of strict regulations meant it carried lifeboats for only half the number of passengers. The Marconi wirelesses were not always operational and problems with communication meant the SS Californian, the nearest other ship, did not react in time and Cunard liner Carpathia was also late in reaching the liner to pick up survivors.
The exhibition is organised by Musealia, a Spanish company, which organises interactive theme exhibitions for family entertainment. The Titanic experience runs until March 6 at the Fernan Gomez Centro Cultural de la Villa in the Plaza Colon in Madrid.