Titanic: Blood and Steel  
The Blood, Sweat & Tears of Building the Titanic...  



Titanic Facts - The Construction of The Titanic

The Contract for constructing the Titanic, Olympic and Britannic

The construction of Titanic was part of a major contract awarded to the Harland & Wolff shipyard by the White Star Line, following a meeting between J Bruce Ismay (Chairman, White Star Line) and Lord Pirrie (Chairman of Harland & Wolff) in 1907.

The first part of the contract was for the construction of The Olympic and The Titanic and was a fixed price contract of £3million. When the contract was formed, no facilities existed to build or berth (or place in a dry dock) such a large ship!

Harland & Wolff set about building the two slipways, having demolished three smaller ones to make room. They constructed two huge gantries, with moving cranes and lifts, called the Arrol gantries. They also purchased a massive 200 ton floating crane which was used to lift the huge boilers and other mechanical items into place on the ships.


The Construction of Titanic

Although The Olympic fas built first, construction overlapped with that of The Titanic. Titanic's keel was laid on 31st March 1909 in Yard No. 401. Harland & Wolff, Belfast employed between 13,000 - 15,000 men at various times during the construction and gradually the Titanic took shape beside her sister ship, The Olympic.

Lord Pirrie and Bruce Ismay inspecting Titanic

Titanic - construction being inspected by Lord Pirrie and Bruce Ismay

Using detailed drawings produced in the drawing office at Harland & Wolff's yard, the army of managers, foremen, skilled craftsmen and labourers created the largest ship that had been built at the time. The huge structure of Titanic could be seen across most of Belfast City, together with the massive gantries.

On 31st May 1911, The Titanic was launched - slipping gracefully down the slipway into the River Lagan. Over 100,000 shipbuilders, their families and Belfast residents witnessed the launch - joining the dignitaries, including; Lord Pirrie, J. P. Morgan and Bruce Ismay.

After the launch, tugs manouevred Titanic to the fitting out berth, where in 10 months the weight of the liner was increased, by the fit-out, from the 24,000 tons at launch to the final 46,328 tons (gross) "in-service" weight.

Titanic's Vital Statistics

 Titanic Side Elevation - colour

  • Length : 882ft 9in
  • Beam : 92 ft 6in
  • Screws : Three
  • Weight : 46,328 tons
  • Boilers : 29 (in six compartments)
  • Engines: 2 x Four cylinder steam reciprocating engines + 1 large "Parsons" Steam Turbine (driving the centre screw)


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