Article from the Archives: ‘Britannic: The Length and Breadth of The Ship’
Even today, precisely 107 years after Britannic‘s loss, her history is often misunderstood. Many popular beliefs about her are demonstrably false. Among them are two basic points about her dimensions:
- The belief that she was 903 feet long (overall length), whereas she was exactly the same length as her older sisters.
- The belief that her beam (breadth) was increased following the Titanic disaster in order to make room for the ‘inner skin’ which was fitted along the length of her boiler and engine rooms. In reality, the decision to increase her beam had been taken already prior to the keel being laid.
This detailed article provides an analysis of the evidence about her length and discusses the reasons her breadth was increased. It was first published in the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Commutator February 2020: Pages 171-76.
Above: The sea above Britannic‘s wreck is a beautiful, deep blue (photographed in 2016). (Author’s collection)
Article from the Archives: ‘Lusitania and Mauretania: Perceptions of Popularity’
One of the common problems with research into Titanic history in particular, and ocean liner history more generally, is the repetition of claims in secondary sources (such as articles, books and television programmes) which do not match up to the available evidence. One such claim is that Cunard’s Lusitania was more popular with the travelling public than her sister Mauretania. Perhaps her tragic loss in May 1915 has distorted perception and memory as the years passed, because the available data on the number of passengers carried by both ships in the 1907-14 period is clear that Mauretania carried more passengers in total and a higher average passenger list.
My article, ‘Lusitania and Mauretania– Perceptions of Popularity‘, was published in the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Commutator 2008 : Volume 32 Number 184: Pages 196-200. It examined the number of passengers carried by each ship year by year and even included selected break downs by each class (first, second and third) and direction (westbound and eastbound). Although Lusitania carried slightly higher numbers of passengers initially, they drew level by 1909 and, from that point on, Mauretania was clearly in the lead.
Article from the Archives: ‘Whatever Happened to Germanic/Homeric?’
It’s sometimes said that the White Star Line’s Germanic, laid down in July 1914, was intended as a replacement for Titanic on the Southampton to New York express service. In fact, she was designed to serve their secondary service from Liverpool to New York. The fortunes of war meant she was never completed. My article ‘Whatever Happened to Germanic/Homeric?‘, published in the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Commutator 2013: Volume 38 Number 201, examined her history and I’m highlighting it for those who might have missed it when it was first published.
New Article: ‘”The Old Rules…Are Entirely Obsolete”: British Lifeboat Regulation in the 1880s’
A new article, ‘”The Old Rules…Are Entirely Obsolete”: British Lifeboat Regulation in the 1880s’, explores lifeboat regulations in the 1880s. They were comparatively worse than the rules in force when Titanic foundered in 1912, but a senior official argued ‘you can make ships perfectly safe by [watertight] subdivision’.