Page 5 - The Times Titanic Souvenir 1988
P. 5
From the early days of huge luxury vessels crossing the Atlantic in the late 19th century, PAUL LOUDEN-BROWN tells the story of rivalry and greed that spawned the tragedy of lhe Tttanic CHAPTER I hinof 'eams HE Titanic is the greatest metaphor for mankind's progress - and for the stupidity of man. The ship was a remarkable technical achievement, but it was han- dled with a folly that turned it into the world's largest coffin. What was literally a dreamboat, a ship that was supposed to make a lot of men a lot of money, has become the symbol for ambition that overleaps itself. Since the earliest days oftransitlantic travel, Britain's largest shipping companies, Cunard and White Star, had been bitter rivals. By 1902, White Star had been bought by the American financier, J Pierpont Morgan. He dreamed of creating a monopoly on the north Atlantic, fixing the cost of travel and freights and so eliminating competition. But Cunard resisted his atten- tions, winning a t2.6 million low- interest Government loan, repay- able over 20 years. The loan led to the construction of the Lusitania and the Mauretania - ocean lin- ers which dramatically changed the face of transatlantic travel when they entered service in 1907. Joseph Bruce Ismay, the chair- man and managing director of the White Star Line, was an astute TheTitanicheld the title as the businessman. Son of the founder world's biggest liner of the line, he had negotiated White Star's purchase by the Americans and following the founding of the International Mercantile Marine Company, Ismay, at the age of just 41, was propelled to the head of one of the largest shipping organisations in the world. He closely followed the developments of his principal rival n;:" :: #' tr iJ,ll'* ilix,:# trr Jfi y, "#:1"; 6
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10