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    TITANIC LAUNCHED IN BELFAST 100 YEARS AGO TODAY

    Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
    TITANIC was launched in Belfast on May 31, 1911 – 100 years ago today.  To mark the centenary artefacts recovered from the wreck went on display for the first time in Northern Ireland. Seven of the items – which will be displayed as part of TITANICa: The Exhibition at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum – are on show for the first time anywhere in the world.

    This is one of several first-class glass serving dishes. Reminiscent of a ribbed shell, this candy or condiment dish has a modern appeal. The White Star Line logo is etched into the glass at the apex of the dish. ©1987-2004 RMS Titanic, Inc. (click to enlarge)

    This demitasse cup decorated with one of Spode’s famous cobalt blue designs is thought to have been used in the exclusive Café Parisien, adjacent to the à la carte Restaurant. The gold Greek key pattern within a cobalt field at the rim provides a striking pattern. ©1987-2004 RMS Titanic, Inc.

    This is one of several hand mirrors produced by “Royale Ivoire France.” The handle and backing are made of an early form of plastic created as a faux ivory which allowed for mass production. ©1987-2004 RMS Titanic, Inc.

    THE exhibition features 35 items from the wreck including a part of the hull structure, a porthole, silverware, glassware and personal belongings. They are part of a loan from US-based RMS Titanic, Inc a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and the Salvor in Possession of the wreck site.   Premier Exhibitions has conducted seven research expeditions to Titanic recovering more than 5,500 artefacts. In summer 2010 the company completed its eighth dive to collect scientific data and visuals on Titanic’s condition.
    These artefacts will join some 500 objects from the Folk & Transport Museum’s own collections. A magnificent 20ft long plan capturing last minute design changes to Titanic will be going on show for the first time. The plan has a significance which could never have been foreseen by the draughtsmen working at the Harland & Wolff shipyard a century ago. Meticulously drawn and annotated, it offers a unique opportunity to glimpse something of the world in which Titanic was built and the people who built and sailed on her.
    Part of the exhibition at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum enables the visitor to step back in time to uncover life in Belfast 100 years ago. Daily routines and  activities from the shipyard worker’s home, to the carpenters workshop, to Kelly’s Coal Yard at Belfast Lough are re-created.  The exhibition runs until August.
    The plan of the Titanic used in the inquiry into the sinking of the ship in 1912 sold for £220,000 at Devizes-based Henry Aldridge & Son in England last week. Commissioned by the British Board of Trade it had been estimated at £100,000-150,000.  The auctioneer said the sale aroused interest from around the world.