'Titanic' reference plan goes on display in Belfast

Wed, Nov 28, 2012, 00:00

The original 32-foot long reference plan used during the inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic went on display yesterday at the Titanic Belfast visitor centre.

The latest addition to the centre comes as a result of an anonymous benefactor who bought the plan last year for £250,000. It was used as a reference tool for the British inquiry into the April 1912 sinking of the ship.

After the inquiry concluded that “excessive speed” caused the loss of the Titanic the well-preserved paper diagram was returned to its White Star Line owners. It remained in private ownership until it went to auction earlier this year. The undisclosed buyer donated it for display in the Titanic Belfast centre and it is now located in the “aftermath” gallery of the exhibition.

No details were given about the donor other than he or she is from Ireland and is a “Titanorak” and wants the public to be able to enjoy the benefits of his or her generosity.

The popularity of Titanic Belfast to date has exceeded all expectations. Earlier this year the Northern Ireland audit office warned it must attract some 290,000 visitors annually to break even while its operators were hoping in the first year it would attract 450,000 visitors. But in the first eight months of operation more than 607,000 people have visited the exhibition.

Inquiries were held in the US and Britain into how and why the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage with the loss of 1,502 of the 2,224 passengers and crew who were on board.

The plan bears chalk markings indicating where engineers, who gave evidence to the British inquiry, believed the ship struck the iceberg at 11.40pm on April 14th, 1912.