To mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Liverpool is putting on a series of events on the Mersey waterfront. BARRY TURNBULL finds out more
In the big screen movies about the Titanic, the inscription ‘Liverpool’ can be seen emblazoned on the ship’s hull.
Yet the last word in cruising luxury was not built in Liverpool, nor did she ever visit the port.
The Mersey connection
The city was, however, home to the White Star Line, the owners of the vessel.
Because of this link, there were so many Scousers employed on the Titanic that the main corridor was nicknamed ‘Scottie Road’ after a famous Liverpool thoroughfare.
The White Star Line’s headquarters, with its familiar orange and white brick exterior, still stands (above).
Today it is empty, almost forlorn, overlooked by majestic new modern developments. But it was from a balcony on this building, Albion House, that the terrible news of the Titanic disaster was announced.
A century on, the city which was once the greatest port of the British Empire is commemorating the most famous maritime disaster of the twentieth century.
The events include an incredible piece of street theatre, Sea Odyssey and a major exhibition.
The street spectacular takes place from April 20-22 and features Little Girl Giant - a towering figure who will roam the city looking for her father who was reported lost at sea when the supposedly indestructible ship sank to the icy depths on April 15, 1912.
This follows a previous visit to the city by a huge mechanical spider for another event that literally brought traffic to a standstill.
The exhibition to mark the momentous anniversary has already opened at the Maritime Museum, Albert Dock.
Liverpool – the Untold Story is a fascinating trip down maritime memory lane, jam-packed with hitherto unseen mementoes of the tragic event.
They include artefacts from the ship, the last surviving first class ticket, and newsreels from the time of the disaster. Some interesting facts too – the dearest ticket was £25,000 in today’s money, and even the steerage class citizens had to cough up £450 a head.
In addition to the Titanic exhibition, the Maritime Museum has a host of other exhibits and displays.
It was fitting that our visit to Liverpool should have something of a nautical theme.
The imprint of maritime history here is inescapable; this city was moulded by the River Mersey.
The spectacular waterfront has in recent years been transformed into a stunning tourist attraction.
Three traditional imposing riverside structures are now flanked by a new museum of Liverpool, a cruise ship terminal, and two black office and apartment structures that resemble huge chunks of granite.
The Yellow Duckmarine
After visiting the display, it seemed appropriate that a trip on the Yellow Duckmarine amphibious vehicle should be next on the agenda.
The duck bus sets off from Albert Dock and does a quick spin of the city before splashing down in the docklands for a water-based tour of the docks.
During the hour-long tour, guides explain the history of Titanic’s headquarters as part of the itinerary.
Where to stay
We stayed at the new Days Inn hotel – located right next door to Albion House, the historic Titanic building.
This modern city centre hotel in James Street has 154 rooms (from £48 a night) and a restaurant/bar, and offers easy walking distance access to many of Liverpool’s top tourist attractions.
To learn more about the street theatre event, Sea Odyssey, check out this YouTube video clip