Page 8 - The Times Titanic Souvenir 1988
P. 8
f, 'F' iltilnt{tcsI0nY (mntinuedfrompage6) Ismay discussed plans for a new class of liner - larger and finer than anything the competition had yet dreamed of. Much historical significance is given to this meeting, where the two men planned the Olympic and the Titanic. In truth, however, the development of these liners began when the Oceanic enterd service in September 1899. It set White Star's poliry of ves- sels of huge size and moderate speed, affording great mmfort to their passen- gers. There were good reasons for building these floating palaces. Wages, turnaround times, cargoes and passen: ger receipts - all benefitted from the use of fewer, larger ships. Maybe more importantly, national pride was at stake. With White Star and other British lines in American hands, the British Mercantile Marine's reputation had been dented. In return for much-needed state aid, Cunard White Star chairman Ismay promised to remain British and allow sumived the disaster its new ships to be used during a war. Morgan's dreams of his company fixing ticket prices and so eliminating competition were dashed when a price war broke out - by 1908 an emigrant could travel to America for just [2. The rivals were forced into talks which led to price stability but for Ismay the only solution to the threat posed by Cunard and the reduction in passenger receipts was to build larger and finer ships. He decided to replace the older tonnage then operating between Southampton and New York with a fleet of ocean giants; the first of which, the Olympic, would inaugurate a new era in luxury sea travel. The Titanic would enter service next, followed by a third ship. Winning the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing held appeal for White Star. What mattered was that each ship in ttrrn would hold the coveted title of largest liner in the world. Although Morgan's dreams of controlling Atlantic shipping never became a reality, the White Star Line would turn a dream into reality at the shipyards of Harland and Wolff in Belfast. The liners were protectd with a double bottom and 16 watertight rtments, formed by 15 bulkheads across the ship. Doors in bulkheads could be closed instantly by a switch on the bridge. , predicted what the film would cost, nobody any two of the largest compartments become flooded, the would have made it," he laughs. could remain afloat indefinitely. These safeguards led White The horror stories of the making of the to boast that the ships were practically unsinkable. , $200 million film are well known. Just as , every journalist has a Robert Maxwell . story, everybody in Los Angeles has a had a gm,Tudrish baft and library i Cameron story. The director admits that ; there were many times when he felt he was length of one of these ships, at 882ft, exceeded the height of the , going to fall off "the high wire without a Building in New York by 130ft; from keel to the top of : net", and with that pressure it is hardly funnels, each reached as high as Nelson's Column in , surprising that the shoot was often an falgar Square. Each liner boasted a squash racquet court, a , acrimonious affair. h bath, a fully equipped gymnasium, plunge pool, Parisian- , As a result, the maker of some of the cafds and libraries supervised by librarians. Some suites on , most expensive films ever -Terminator 2 Titanic had private promenade decks at a cost of $+,:SO in , cost $90 million, True Lies $gS mittion - season. For first-class passengers, free meals were served in , predicts that a future project may be a lot Jacobean-style dinning room but eating in the A la carte restau- ; smaller, tiny even. "One of my ideas is just t, panelled in French walnut, cost extra. , to do something with some actor friends The Olympic completed her maiden voyage to New York in , and literally shoot it myself and do the : whole thing for practically nothing." l9ll in a blaze of publicity. Ismay wrote to lord Pirrie: : No doubt film studio suits will be delighted is a marvel, and has given unbounded satisfaction." , wittr ttre iOea. , Of course, the idea ol aTitanic 2 has ) iH"il'ffi il,11""Hff.,111'";::;"I;T:,':":TIEF
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