Manchester Historian

Student newspaper for the University of Manchester's History Department

Monday 21st August 2017 | Manchester, UK

The Legacy of the Titanic

The Titanic was known as one of the most luxurious ships of her time, accommodating up to 2453 wealthy and poor passengers. However, whilst on her way from Southampton to New York City, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean causing her to sink in the early hours of 15 April 1912. Over 1500 people were killed in the incident, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. The lives of both the Titanic’s architect Thomas Andrews and captain Edward Smith were lost in the disaster along with countless other staff and passengers; most of whom were third class and male.

The Iceberg was first spotted at 11:40pm on 14 April and although first officer Murdoch tried to avoid a collision, his attempts were unsuccessful and the Titanic ultimately hit, sinking completely at around 2:20am. Inquiries into the tragedy began soon after with the US Senate beginning their inquiries on 19 April followed by the British Board of Trade inquiry later in the year. The overall findings stated a combination of failures which led to the sinking including inadequate lifeboat facilities and regulations, failures of the captain to take ice warnings seriously, the fact that lifeboats were not filled to capacity and the fact that the ship was travelling too fast in an unsafe area. Consequently, the International Ice Patrol was set up and stricter regulations were introduced through the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, both of which are still in place today.

Although it has been 105 years since the disaster, the Titanic has never been forgotten and its legacy lives on even today. As previously discussed, it meant that maritime safety regulations were updated, including new lifeboat requirements, the introduction of lifeboat drills and the Radio Act of 1912 which insisted on twenty-four-hour communication access on passenger liners. Furthermore, the Titanic has also been the inspiration for works of both fiction and non-fiction. The first film ever released was named Saved from the Titanic and came out only twenty-nine days after the disaster, casting an actual survivor for its star role. Many years later in 1997, James Cameron released his Titanic which won eleven Academy awards (including best picture) and is still extremely popular today. More recently, the Titanic has been the inspiration for a play named Titanic the Musical which will tour the UK in 2018. Additionally, the legacy of the Titanic also lives on through the many memorials and monuments set up to commemorate the ship and victims. One incredibly famous example is Titanic Belfast opened in 2012 on the actual site where the Titanic was built.

Comments are closed.