Media: Presentations & Interviews


‘Olympic: Thomas Andrews’ Notes from a Successful Maiden Voyage”’
(September 2023)

In June 1911, Thomas Andrews was onboard Olympic during her maiden voyage to observe how she performed under normal operating conditions at sea; to monitor her progress; and make all sorts of notes. His comments were wide ranging and went beyond matters of shipbuilding in a number of cases.  These included recommendations for changing particular operating procedures or improving the working practices of the ship’s crew; improving aspects of the ship’s passenger accommodation and increasing her earning power, such as by adding additional staterooms; or in making economies (he saw no need to provide both linoleum tiles and carpeting in the captain’s sitting room).  He made a particular recommendation to try and help keep third class female passengers safe from unwanted attention. Andrews’ notes included many aspects where Titanic‘s design was improved compared to Olympic‘s.  They show a remarkable attention to detail, demonstrating the concerns of a knowledgeable professional who was intent on improving her design in even the slightest way.

‘Olympic and Aquitania: Eyeing Up the Competition – Cunard’s “White Star Liner”’
(September 2022)

While Olympic was under construction, White Star’s rival Cunard was not idle. They were planning their answer to the competition in the form of their new Aquitania. Unlike Lusitania and Mauretania, which were financed with state support, Cunard had to finance Aquitania on a commercial basis and opted for comfort and luxury rather than speed. Maritime historian John Maxtone-Graham called her Cunard’s ‘White Star Liner’. 

They found out what they could about Olympic while she was being built and then Cunard’s naval architect Leonard Peskett sailed on her in August 1911. He noted some features worth considering as Aquitania’s design was finalised, including bringing elements of her design more into line with Olympic.

‘Titanic at 110: Learning, Unlearning & Relearning History’
(April 2022)

Titanic is one of the most famous ships in history and people might justifiably ask whether there is anything new to learn. However, 110 years after her loss many commonly-cited facts about the ship are either based on questionable evidence or are demonstrably untrue. Statements are often repeated from one modern-day source to another without reference to contemporary documentation from 1912.

Mark Chirnside takes a look at some of the testimonies of survivors from the bridge, engine and boiler rooms in a discussion about what happened before the collision; explores an example of documentation being mischaracterised in modern-day media; and discusses recently unearthed evidence about Titanic‘s propeller configuration.

‘Olympic & Titanic: “A Very Remote Contingency” – Lifeboats for All’
(September 2021)

Mark explores the issue of lifeboat regulation over the decades preceding the Titanic disaster and discusses the context immediately prior to 1912. He discusses the question of lifeboat provision for these new White Star giants and dispels a few longstanding myths and false claims made about Titanic‘s lifeboats.

‘RMS Titanic Reflections: Deep Conversations’ Episode 1
(February 2021)

Hosted by Joanna Dolan and RMS Titanic Reflections, Bill Sauder and David Gallo PhD discuss a wide range of Titanic subjects over more than two hours of fascinating discussion.  In this segment, Bill is asked about Titanic’s propeller configuration and comments about Titanic’s centre propeller specification.

‘The Chairman & The Commander: J. Bruce Ismay and Captain “E. J.” Smith’
(September 2020)

A talk focusing on two of the key personalities in the Titanic story: the White Star Line’s chairman, J. Bruce Ismay, and the Line’s senior captain, ‘E. J.’ Smith. Mark explores some of the history of these two men in the years leading up to 1912, including little known anecdotes and events – as well as some of the misconceptions surrounding them.

‘An “Olympic” Challenge: “We Have Reached the Limit…”’
(September 2019)

Building the largest ships in the world wasn’t simply a question of the shipbuilding process itself.  There were all sorts of other practical challenges to consider, including financing them, insuring them, expanding the port and docking facilities to operate and maintain them, and powering them across the North Atlantic.

Mark explores a few of the many financial, technical and engineering issues that confronted the White Star Line as they planned Olympic, Titanic and Britannic and explains how they overcame them.

‘The “Big Four”: Celtic, Cedric, Baltic & Adriatic’
(September 2017)

The White Star Line’s Celtic (1901), Cedric (1903), Baltic (1904) and Adriatic (1907), collectively known as the ‘Big Four’, served for a combined 110 years. Together they carried around 1.5 million passengers on the Liverpool to New York and Southampton to New York routes during their time in service.

Mark’s lecture provides a comprehensive overview of their history, from design and construction to Celtic’s wreck in 1928 and the withdrawal from service of her sisters in the early 1930s.

Mark Chirnside Interview
(July 2011)

Read the transcript of this interview here. It was done shortly after the release of the revised Olympic Class Ships book.

Mark Chirnside Interview
(January 2005)

Read the transcript of this interview here. The interview initially appeared in Der Navigator, shortly after Mark’s first book was released. 

More to come!