RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died in the sinking, making it one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. The largest ship afloat at the time it entered service, the RMS Titanic was the second of three Olympic class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line, and was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, her architect, died in the disaster.
1. The ship burned around 600 tonnes of coal a day – hand shovelled into its furnaces by a team of 176 men. Almost 100 tonnes of ash were ejected into the sea each day.
2. The ship’s interiors were loosely inspired by those at the Ritz hotel in London. Facilities on board included a gym, pool, Turkish bath, a kennel for first class dogs, and a squash court. It even had its own on board newspaper – the Atlantic Daily Bulletin.
3. There were 20,000 bottles of beer on board, 1,500 bottles of wine and 8,000 cigars – all for the use of first-class passengers.
4. Only 16 wooden lifeboats and four collapsible boats were carried, enough to accommodate 1,178 people, only one-third of Titanic’s total capacity, but more than legally required.
5. The ship made two stops after leaving Southampton – at Cherbourg in northern France, and Cobh (then Queenstown) in Ireland.
6. The last supper served to first-class passengers consisted of 11 courses.
7. John Jacob Astor IV was the richest passenger on board, with a net worth of around $85m (approximately $2bn today), and went down with the ship. One legend claims that after the ship hit the iceberg he quipped to a waiter: “I asked for ice, but this is ridiculous”.
8. Another notable victim was Benjamin Guggenheim, an American businessman. Realising that the ship was going down, he and his valet, Victor Giglio, reputedly changed into their evening wear while he remarked: “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” They were last spotted on deck chairs drinking brandy and smoking cigars.
9. Noel Leslie, the Countess of Rothes, was also on board, but survived. She is mentioned in an episode of Downton Abbey. “Isn’t this terrible? When you think how excited Lucy Rothes was at the prospect,” remarks the Countess of Grantham when she hears of the disaster.
10. Two of the nine dogs on board were rescued – a Pomeranian and a Pekinese.