Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Home of the Olympic

Something Surprising is not quite an Olympic-free zone, but the Olympic that I like to talk about is the ship, not the games.  These photos were taken this week in the city which normally claims to be the birth place of the famous ship Titanic and her sisters.

It is obvious why they choose Titanic in their claims, and yet neglect the names of its two, more successful, sister ships Olympic and Britannic, but I feel that it is a shame in many ways.  Britannic was lost in the First World War, (as I mentioned in a post 'Ironic - and her sister ships' a few months ago) but Olympic was a great success for the White Star Line.

But, as they like to say in Belfast, "there was nothing wrong with Titanic when she left here". 

So here is the huge dry dock, The Thompson Graving Dock, that was built in Belfast for the Olympic Class liners.  Construction was completed in 1911, just in time after great difficulty due to the soft ground.  The ships fitted rather snugly into this space, being just 5 feet shorter than the available length!

Titanic's Dry Dock, Olympics Dry Dock, Belfast, 2012
Titanic (and Olympic)'s dry dock.
See the size of the people near the far end of the floor of the dock - they give a real impression of the scale of this surprising engineering monument.

Titanic's Dry Dock, Olympics Dry Dock, Belfast, 2012
The view from the floor of Titanic's dry dock.
It is an impressive site, newly opened to the public this year.  Even more impressive is the claim that the pumps (originally steam powered) could empty this huge volume in just 100 minutes (albeit with the ships in place to displace most of the water, but still impressive).

Titanic's Dry Dock, Olympics Dry Dock, Belfast, 2012
Titanic's dock - two of the three pumps to empty the dock.

I've been visiting Belfast for 30 years an often wondered exactly where Titanic was built.  At last that area of the city is being opened again.

Do go to see it if you can (even though their web site is singularly unhelpful and contains pages where the text has never been added)!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, it's true, it was grand when it left here :)

(Apart from arguably ill-advised engineering)