One of only six life jackets remaining from RMS Titanic has gone on display at Titanic Belfast to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the world’s most famous ship.
This is the first time the life jacket has been on public display on the island of Ireland and it is free for the public to view in the Grand Atrium of Titanic Belfast until Sunday 24th April.
It was recovered from the field of debris by Robert Edwards, Quartermaster of the Cable Ship Mackay-Bennett which was the first of four ships chartered by the White Star Line to search for bodies in the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic.
The life jacket is made of linen and cork and is in fair condition with all original ribbon ties still in place. It was made by Fosbery and Co. Ltd, manufacturer of life saving devices for many of the White Star Line ships and is now over 110 years old.
Judith Owens MBE, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast said: “Having this life jacket here in Titanic Belfast is really something special. There were 3,500 life jackets onboard but only six remain, so this is a unique, and very emotive, opportunity for the public to see a piece of history in real life. It is especially poignant to have the authentic artefact on display as we commemorate the 110th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and honour all the lives that were sadly lost.”
Rodney McCullough, Former Official Historian for Harland & Wolff added: “I joined Harland & Wolff in 1959 and many of my colleagues knew of people who worked in the Drawing offices in 1912. I remember them telling stories of the shock and confusion when the news hit about Titanic’s tragic fate. Seeing the life jacket in person makes everything suddenly very real and reminds us of what a tragedy this story really was.”
Titanic Belfast will mark the 110th anniversary with ‘A Night to Remember’ on Thursday 14th April. Visitors will be guided on a living history tour taking you on a journey of reflection, hearing the story of Titanic through the eyes of those whose lives were shaped by her journey. Guests are invited to then join a candle lighting ceremony at 11.40pm on the slipways, marking the exact time that Titanic struck the iceberg thus sealing its fate. The tour leaves every 10 minutes from 8pm until 9.40pm. Booking is essential and tickets cost £15.
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