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From the BBC -

Long before Leonardo DiCaprio helped make it even more of a global phenomenon, a Canada-based architect came up with the vision of how Belfast should celebrate its Titanic legacy.

Architect Jonathan Kearns had a plan to exploit the Titanic legacy
It was a cross-sectional piece of the ship on the slipway where it was built, complete with a five-star resort hotel.

That was in 1991, six years before the blockbuster film - and three years ahead of the first IRA ceasefire which helped transformed the city's potential as a tourism destination.

Today, a model in Jonathan Kearns' office in Toronto is all that is left of his brainchild.

It grew out of a conversation with the then Economy Minister Richard Needham, who wanted a vehicle to communicate the opportunities available in Northern Ireland for North Americans, particularly Canadians.

The clients, Harland and Wolff and the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, were initially keen but Mr Kearns believes that it was eventually shelved because politically and economically, Northern Ireland was still in transition.


I think the project we have on the table is a wonderful iconic project for Belfast

Mike Smyth
Titanic Quarter Ltd
But lately some interested parties have again been giving his dusty plans the once over.

Long after he first had the idea, there is now a real possibility that the place where the doomed ship was built will finally get round to cashing in on the worldwide interest in everything Titanic.

Plans for a so-called "ship of lights" appear to have been quietly dropped but revised proposals for a "Titanic Signature Project" are taking shape.


Unlike the issue of a national stadium, there is no debate over where any Titanic project should go - right where the ill-fated ship was built in Belfast docks.

But there is a question over what it should be, how much it would cost and whether enough people would want to see the project, marking the ship which sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912, killing more than 1,500 people.



Various commercial projects are planned for Belfast's Titanic Quarter

The still largely desolate landscape where once stood the largest shipyard in the United Kingdom is now known as Titanic Quarter - 165 acres set to be transformed in the biggest property development scheme Northern Ireland has ever seen.

At its heart would be visitor attractions linked to the Titanic.

Plans have been drawn up by the so-called "Titanic Alliance", a group of stakeholders including the Northern Ireland Tourist Board; the Belfast City Council; the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Titanic Quarter Ltd, but they are still tightly under wraps.

The project could cost up to £100m, a combination of public/private money, and an application has been made for a potential award of between £10m and £25m from the Big Lottery Fund. An answer is expected in the autumn.


Thompson Dry Dock will feature the centre-piece of the attraction
But you don't have to spend long with tourists, who regularly visit the Titanic Quarter on one of the many bus tours which now include it on their route, to discover there' is still much work to do.

A surprising number don't even know the famous ship was built in Belfast. That must change if Titanic is to do for tourism in Northern Ireland what it did at the Hollywood box-office in the late 1990s.

Currently only one of Northern Ireland's tourism draws is regarded as world class - the kind of thing that people come here for because they can't get it anywhere else - and that's the Giant's Causeway.

In 2005 - the last year for which figures are available - it drew 464,243 visitors - more than 200,000 over any other single attraction. Tourism chiefs believe the Titanic Signature Project would have a similarly world-class status attracting about 500,000 people a year.

The Tourist Board says tourism cannot progress unless the project gets the go ahead.

Its chief executive, Alan Clarke, says: "If it doesn't happen, I think Northern Ireland tourism will really struggle as a sustainable element of our economy long term - it's as important as that."

Jonathan Kearns agrees. He says that had his idea been commissioned all those years ago today, Northern Ireland "would have a far more active and successful tourism economy because what Northern Ireland tends to lack is destinations for tourism".

There's every reason to believe that tourists will come here in their tens of thousands to see it

Michael Smyth
University of Ulster economist
But it must be built by 2011 if it is to be in place for the Titanic's centenary in 2012 - when interest in the ship and its story is likely to be very high.

Mike Smith of Titanic Quarter Ltd says: "If there's nothing there to celebrate the centenary of the Titanic then serious questions will be asked, and I think the project we have on the table is a wonderful iconic project for Belfast."

Of course many will see as a waste of money. We are fond of writing off major projects as "white elephants" before they are even built.

Both the Waterfront Hall and the Odyssey Arena were similarly dismissed, yet Belfast today is barely imaginable without them.

Economist Michael Smyth of the University of Ulster believes the Titanic project is in the same bracket - so long as "it's not some kind of Disneyworld attraction, a stack 'em up and flog 'em cheap".

"The evidence from the other side of the Atlantic, from Florida and Newfoundland, is that Titanic is a major tourism draw," he says.


The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage to New York
"Their connections with the Titanic are spurious and tangential - this is where it was built.

"We can show that off very effectively here and there's every reason to believe that tourists will come here in their tens of thousands to see it.

"The fact I find very hard to factor in here is that it has taken us so long to get round to exploiting it fully."

Whatever happens, there is already a concerted effort to make more of the Titanic attractions which already do exist in the city like the Thompson Dock where the ship was built.

'Titanoraks'

The Belfast Visitor and Convention Centre will soon launch electronic Titanic guides, of the kind often used in art galleries and museums, which will help "Titanoraks" find their way around more easily.

The city council has also received money from the Tourist Board to erect some proper signs while the work continues on producing a locally-based Titanic website.

But everything really depends on the signature project.

It would surely be a supreme irony if one of the greatest maritime failures in history helped lead almost 100 years later to a new era of success for the place of its birth.


Rushie
 

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What should be celebrated is the history of shipbuilding by H&W and its success at delivery over a long period of time.

Train enthusiasts don't by and large celebrate famous train wrecks (or do they?). Titanic provided a good tale - human interest etc. but it is odd to celebrate what was after all a failure. The French don't celebrate Waterloo or the Spanish the loss of its armada!

Brian
 

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benjidog said:
...it is odd to celebrate what was after all a failure. The French don't celebrate Waterloo or the Spanish the loss of its armada!

Brian
Brian,
I'm convinced that the Titanic wasn't a failure, at least from the technical point of view (her sister Olympic, after all, had a long and normal career), and the disaster occurred only for a series of events and human errors that connjured against her.
H & W is fully entitled to be proud of his creature, which, for the time, was a major achievement.
Sure the whole thing seems to obey simply to market rules, but a memorial could be fit, provided that it doesn't become a sort of Disneyland.
In my idea the memorial should be, beyond the loss of lifes, for what the Titanic disaster means:the top of a whole era of excessive optimism and self-confidence in the human potentiality (in ancient greek "ybris"), that only few years later would have lead the world in a such kind of disasters in comparaison of wich the Titanic sinking isn't nothing more than a road or train accident.
This should be the real warning for the future generations.
Piero
 

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What about the theory that the Titanic was actually the Olympic, and deliberately sunk because it had major structural damage following a collision with a naval ship?
 

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Les Gibson said:
What about the theory that the Titanic was actually the Olympic, and deliberately sunk because it had major structural damage following a collision with a naval ship?
Les, I heard before about this theory.
It seems to me quite unbelievable:why should White Star have put on a so intricate plot? Just to receive the insurance indemnity? It was easier to set ablaze the Olympic at berth, without risk for passengers, and declare her a total loss.
Besides, to exchange the names of two ships means far more than paint it on the bow.
Just as an example, there are registers, both in yard and at the suppliers works, in which code numbers of the various equipments are strictly related to the ship on which they are installed, and so, in case of doubt, a ship could be identified thru this codes.
Piero
 

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Piero,
It just makes for good forum discussion. Of course you are right about the registers, and there are certainly many inconsistencies in the various theories put forward. I did my first trip to sea in early 1962, and heard the story then so it has been around for some time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Visit Cobh...

I would wish everyone visits Cobh (Southern Ireland) because the railway station has a fantastic museum dedicated to her long lost friend. She was the "Lusitania". Although Cobh was the last stopping point of the Titanic, the whole town remembers the loss of the Lusitania with great affection and sadness..sunk off Ireland with the loss of many lives.

It's a superb and memorable place to visit...and its obvious that although the Titanic gained fame...the Lusitania was one of the ships that was loved by the local community, and they shall never forget, and the loss of life and her story reaches far past the imaginations of the film makers of Hollywood. Perhaps not so romantic or "politically correct"..?

Rushie
 

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TITANIC was'nt a failure, she was a success, in that her demise led to much improved life saving regulations. Unfortunately she was also the victim of greed and incompetent seamanship.

It is well we remember her, even if its only to remember that bad seamanship costs lives, and that overconfidence in man made conveyances can only lead to disaster.

Chris.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I can' really believe the thought that the Titanic was sunk "on purpose"...!!!!

That's preposterous...even for the US tourist trade...

Rushie.
 

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rushie said:
I can' really believe the thought that the Titanic was sunk "on purpose"...!!!!

That's preposterous...even for the US tourist trade...

Rushie.

Sharp practice was around in 1912, Rushie and it was just as sharp as it is today. Everything is possible !!!

Chris.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Naaaaa......even Walt Disney didn't have the power to shove an iceberg in the way at that time.....McDonalds may have now though....
 

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Rushie,
Maybe the iceberg wasn't 'pushed', but the Titanic 'jumped'. Wonder what the Californian was doing out there, large passenger ship with no passengers, sitting quietly in the ice packs, sailed from France in an awful hurry without passengers. There was another ship very close to the Titanic, never identified seen by many survivors. Some even tried to row their lifeboats to it, that's how close it was. The bunkers were also on fire, quite common in those days of coal burners There are certainly more questions than answers.
 

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Les Gibson said:
Rushie,
"Wonder what the Californian was doing out there, large passenger ship with no passengers, sitting quietly in the ice packs, sailed from France in an awful hurry without passengers."
Les Gibson said:
Now that's an interesting point. Any more info?
 

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Les Gibson said:
...Wonder what the Californian was doing out there, large passenger ship with no passengers, sitting quietly in the ice packs, sailed from France in an awful hurry without passengers...
Californian wasn't so large. She was able to carry 47 passengers. Nice mess if she was supposed to rescue more than two thousand persons! What was she doing there? She was simply got stuck in ice. Assuming that she was part of the plot, why she wasn't in a position more southward, so to avoid the risk of being blocked? Why at the topic moment, the less experienced of her Sparks was on watch? Why he turned off the radio was, so he couldn't receive the Titanic distress call?
And again:
I'm the owner of the most beautyful and luxurious ship of the time, claimed to be "unsinkable", that anyway I decided to sink for some reason.
Do I choose to do that in her maiden voyage, under the command of the Commodore of my fleet, when she's full booked with the top of the society of two countries, in a so amateurial way to loose most part of them?
Naaaaaa!!!!!
Piero
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Actually she didn't sink, nobody died....the whole thing was abducted by aliens to shut the band up.....
 

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Why were the binoculars removed from the forward 'crows nest' at the beginning of the trip? Why did she not reduce speed or alter course when the lookouts in that same crows nest called the bridge and reported having seen with the naked eye, an iceberg dead ahead? Incidentally, Californian was not stuck in ice, she was drifting with the 'growlers'. Makes for good postings I think!
 

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rushie said:
Actually she didn't sink, nobody died....the whole thing was abducted by aliens to shut the band up.....

Thought you said no one died. what about these two up forard then?...LOL
 

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Gentlemen,

We have gone through the Titanic conspiracy theory thing on this site Ad Nauseam. If anyone is interested in this feel free to check this out by using the Search Forums tool but most of us have heard more than enough about it.

There are many sites about conspiracy theories - several of which have very long and "riveting" discussions on this subject. If you are that way inclined you may find joining those sites more satisfying than SN as you can spend your time with fellow paranoiacs. :p

Brian
 
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