Last survivor of Titanic dies

The end of another part of twentieth century history occurred today. Millvina Dean the last survivor of the sinking of the Titanic has died in Hampshire at the age of 97: she was 9 weeks old when the ship went down and her own father died in the disaster. Despite the passing of the last survivor of the liner, I suspect the iconic story of “our” ship (built in Belfast etc.) will continue. Incidentally the image may well not actually be the Titanic but one of her sister ships (most supposed pictures of the Titanic are actually the Olympic or Britannic).

  • Bemused

    Sorry to hear about this ladies death and have no desire to insult her memory.

    My gripe is with the TRULY ABSURD Belfast civic obsession with the Titanic. It is quite mortifying to see the sums ladled into ‘celebrating’ one of the greatest peacetime maritime disasters in history. A very large ship was built here (only built here remember – it’s maiden voyage was from Southampton) by an overwhelmingly sectarian bunch of bigots. It then sank. With enormous loss of life. What an astounding indictment of the state our city’s in that we have had to scrape about in the dustbin of our history to come up with ANYTHING worth celebrating and this nonsense is the best we can come up with. Anyone fancy a trip to Bhopal? Chernobyl? Nagasaki? Even more pointless – anyone fancy a trip to where the atom bomb was built? Where the reactor in Chernobyl was built? Utter fucking madness. I’m sick of having friends come to visit and look in utter bemusement on our civic fathers’ obsession with this crap – stop the embarassment now!

  • 0b101010

    Anyone fancy a trip to Bhopal? Chernobyl? Nagasaki? Even more pointless – anyone fancy a trip to where the atom bomb was built? Where the reactor in Chernobyl was built?

    Yes. You surely already know that each of those sites draw tourists, and their money, based solely on the associated disasters.

  • KieranJ

    Margaret “Molly” Tobin Brown

    NAME: Margaret “Maggie” Tobin Brown, known as “Molly Brown”

    DATE OF BIRTH: July 18,1867

    PLACE OF BIRTH: Hannibal, Missouri

    DATE OF DEATH: October 26, 1932

    PLACE OF DEATH:New York, New York

    FAMILY BACKGROUND: Margaret Brown was not born into wealth. She was the daughter of Irish Catholic immigrants and had a brother, Daniel.

    As a teenager, Margaret moved to Leadville, Colorado where her brother worked in the mines and she worked in a mercantile store.

    She married James Joseph Brown in 1886 and the couple moved to neighboring Stumpftown where they began a soup kitchen for mining families. It was here that Margaret first became involved with the women’s suffrage movement.

    EDUCATION: Margaret attended elementary school in Hannibal; her aunt was the administrator of the school. In 1901 Margaret attended the Carnegie Institute to study language and literature. After the sinking of the Titanic, Margaret studied acting in Paris and New York in the Sarah Bernhard style.

    ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Margaret Brown is widely known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” a woman famous for surviving the sinking of the Titanic. She was also an actress, an activist and was a devoted philanthropist.

    Her husband started as a miner; moved up to superintendent; and then gained his fortune by inventing a method to reach the gold at the very bottom of mines.

    In 1894 the Browns moved to Denver and became active in its philanthropic and political circles: Margaret was one of the founders of the Denver Woman’s Club which assisted women and children and also worked to begin one of the first juvenile courts in the country. Shortly after she attempted to gain a seat in Congress, even before women received the right to vote.

    While the Browns were in Egypt in 1912, they learned that their grandson was ill; Margaret booked her seat on the Titantic to go to him. Margaret’s heart and fluency in languages allowed her to aid her fellow passengers during the sinking of the Titanic.

    The French Legion of Honour recognized Margaret in 1932 by awarding her for her efforts during the sinking and her work with miners and women and children.

  • Doctor Who

    Bemused

    “My gripe is with the TRULY ABSURD Belfast civic obsession with the Titanic.”

    The Titanic obsession is world wide, it has spawned several movies (one which was the largesat grossing movie ever), countless books etc. It is only natural that the city which built it should “cash in” on it´s notoriety.

    ” A very large ship was built here (only built here remember – it’s maiden voyage was from Southampton)”

    “A very large ship”, ach sure the Great Wall of China is just a big wall, the Grand Canyon is just a big ditch, and as for the Giant´s Causeway there are just no giants to be seen.

    “by an overwhelmingly sectarian bunch of bigots. It then sank. With enormous loss of life.”

    Dreadful. Yes lets just generalise one of the greatest workforces in our heritage as a “sectarian bunch of bigots”. Here lies your greivance Bemused, you equate the Titanic as something that belongs to themuns, it´s a pradesan ship. Pathetic.

  • Gav

    May the lady rest in peace.

    Bemused

    I agree totally. The stubborn obsession with celebrating a failure of massive proportions has always fascinated me.

    It ranks up there with the obsession with George Best, a drunk fool who wasted his considerable talent. Much of the negative stereotyping of Irish people (of all types; an irony in itself) in Britain comes from this pathetic loser’s exploits. He did nothing other than play a few years good football and then spent the rest of his life embarrassing himself and us all.

    And as for Giant’s Causeway, well that has to be the greatest con-job of all time.

    Gav

  • blinding

    Being a little filpant here but

    Is Gordon Brown now Captaining his very own Titanic.

    I can see the advantages (financially) of promoting the present day Titanic industry but it is a little sad that a place can be so associated with such a Titanic failure

  • Bemused

    Gav – don’t even start me on George Best – everytime I fly out of the City Airport I bristle at the naff signature installation on the roof…

    Doctor Who – I’m not a Catholic (which kind of demolishes your grim little sectarian knee-jerk post).

  • Doctor Who

    Gav

    Far from George Best being an embarassment to Irish folk, he is one of the few irish men of the modern era to be fondly remembered around the world for something other than killing his fellow irish men.

    Bemused

    “I’m not a Catholic (which kind of demolishes your grim little sectarian knee-jerk post).”

    Oh, when you fill out that little fair employmnet form when you apply for a job, im sure you state your religous prefernce as Jedi Knight. Also can you point to the sectarian nature of my post, for i am as bemused as you are.

    Recently the city of Valencia held a Titanic exhibition at it´s state of the art Maritime museum, it attracted 4 million visitors. The Titanic´s legacy is not about celebrating failure, it´s about remembering the amazing feat of engineering and the tragic cost of human error. It wasn´t “an overwhelmingly sectarian bunch of bigots” that sank the Titanic it was an error of catastrophic proportions.

    The world is still obsessed with the Titanic, why shouldn´t the city that built it cash in on some of that obsession.

  • Bemused

    Don’t mind them doing something to mark the Titanic but really-on that scale? Millvina herself was critical of the Titanic being associated with entertainment (especially a certain Dr Who episode) so I can guess what her reaction to Belfast’s Flying Theatre opening on the centenary of the sinking might have been! Tasteless and without imagination.

  • The whole Titanic industry will continue to roll, no matter what qualms we have about it, and whatever we say here. The myths have been growing ever since 1912: they didn’t start with Robin Gardiner and Dan van der Vat’s book. Hudie Ledbetter sang about

    Jack Johnson wanna get on board,
    Cap’n said we ain’t haulin’ no coal.

    That came from Blind Willy Johnson’s God Move Upon the Water from 1929 or earlier. It’s too late to stop a good story now.

    Except …

    When I did the tourist route past the “Titanic Quarter” earlier this year, I was amazed at what was still there. What would the cynics do — use the graving dock for land-fill?

    If the redevelopment comes to fruition, the city will have a complete new orientation and look. And that can’t be bad, If the Titanic connection helps to market it, surely that’s to the good.

  • RepublicanStones

    As Springsteen said…

    “They built the Titanic to be one of a kind but many ships have ruled the sea”

    There have been worse maritime disasters and this fascination with failure does get tedious at times.

  • Doctor Who

    republican stones

    I don´t think it is a fascination with failure, more of an obsession in tragedy.

    There was no failure in the construction of the Titanic, the tragedy was in the human suffering. A world wide obsession it is and wether it´s tedious or not it seems counter productive not to cash in on it´s notoriety. Of course no one will asking you, gav or bemused to join in.

  • Dec

    It wasn´t “an overwhelmingly sectarian bunch of bigots” that sank the Titanic it was an error of catastrophic proportions.

    By most accounts it was the poor quality of rivets.

    Yes lets just generalise one of the greatest workforces in our heritage as a “sectarian bunch of bigots”.

    Let’s just gloss over the several occasions thousands of Catholics and Socialists were driven from the shipyards.

  • The Reincarnation of Paul Revere’s Horse

    First of all, RIP Millvina Dean and also all those who perished on that ill-fated voyage.

    In regards civic obsessions, the current fad in UK cities is for developing Iconic Buildings©. Combine this with the Titanic and you get the Titanic Qtr with its star shaped-ship prow building. If you go to Glasgow, Manchester or Birmingham or wherever you’re likely to find some sort of architectural ego-trip sitting on the skyline. A diamond in the rough or an [url=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2159/2343164213_dc91072081.jpg?v=0]ill conceived, out of context monstrosity[/url] pending on your point of view. Not sure what people here think of such developments but I guess Belfast is lucky enough that it can start with a somewhat blank canvas while working with the industrial characteristics of the area.

  • Bemused

    Doctor Who – the entire premise of your grubby post was sectarian. I abhor the civic obsession with the titanic therefore I MUST be a Catholic airing cheap sectarian grievances against ‘themmuns’. The fact that I might in fact be one of ‘themmuns’ never entered your sterile, parochial little mind. Clear enough?

  • Rory Carr

    “Last survivor of Titanic dies.”

    Are you sure about this, Turgon.

    I was obliged to watch it on DVD with Herself and The Wayward Daughter a few years ago but, although it made me feel pretty nauseous at the time, I did eventually recover after a few good snorts of the cratur.

  • Jane Q. Parzley

    This thread is just “oh so Slugger”

    How a piece about the death of the last survivor of the Titanic can descend into sectarian name-calling is beyond my comprehension.

    It’s a fucking rabble, a fucking rabbelious disgrace.

  • he Reincarnation of Paul Revere’s Horse @ 10:47 AM

    — Now there‘s a myth which has grown in the re-telling!

    As for Iconic Buildings©, we are fortunate in having a disposable society. Buildings I saw erected in and around the City of London are now going into second and even third existences. Very few achieve “classic” status whereby the public demand their retention, though (I guess) the London Eye, the Gherkin and the Testicle of City Hall might, just might make it. Many Slugger readers will live long enough to see whether that applies in Belfast.

    Now to the main event here.

    The Titanic story long ago tripped over the moveable line between event and legend. It became a morality, even a parable, open to regular reinterpretation.

    Once upon a time (a telling phrase), its moral was the futility of human pride. There was (and is) a corollary appended to this: class-privilege, and prejudices still alive and kicking: thank you, Dec @ 10:44 AM.

    Then, by the time of Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, and Roy Ward Baker’s 1958 film (screenplay by Eric Ambler, no less) from the book, it became an uplifting story of Lancastrian grit, based around Charles Lightoller.

    Gardiner and van der Vat, in the ’90s, generated their contribution to the Great Galactic Conspiracy.

    Then the other, lesser, James Cameron in ’97 rendered it all down to amor vincit omnia, with one of the most irritating of all theme songs.

    There are many aspects of all this mythology which are “truly absurd” (pace Bemused @ 01:25 AM). I do not necessarily find the marketing of Belfast and generating a “narrative” to enhance a great city’s overdue redevelopment among them.

  • Doctor Who

    bemused

    “A very large ship was built here (only built here remember – it’s maiden voyage was from Southampton) by an overwhelmingly sectarian bunch of bigots.”

    Dec

    “the several occasions thousands of Catholics and Socialists were driven from the shipyards.”

    Bemused whatever you are, it is clear you and Dec are both opposite cheeks of the same arse. A thread on the death of the last survivor of the titanic and you have to degrade it to another sectarian diatribe, not to mention that both bemused and gav felt the need to stick the boot into George Best as well.

    If it wasn´t so pathetic it would be funny.

  • RepublicanStones

    Doctor Who, a ship claimed unsinkable sank. Thats a failure in anyones book i think.

    But I’d be more than happy to see us cash in on the DeLorean fiasco, its a much more fun failure and not so many people died, plus the movies it spawned are immensly more watchable 😉

  • Dec

    Doctor

    A thread on the death of the last survivor of the titanic and you have to degrade it to another sectarian diatribe

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    You’re the individual who, on a thread on the death of the last survivor of the titanic, referred to the Harland’s workforce as “one of the greatest workforces in our heritage”. Referring to historical fact to challenge that asinine assertion is not ‘a sectarian diatribe’ (though you’re establishing a real track record as denouncing anyone – protestant/catholic/dissenter- who disagrees with you as ‘a sectarian bigot’).

  • Doctor Who

    Dec

    Where have I referred to you on this thread as a “sectarian bigot”. For all your shouting, it doesn´t change the fact that you and bemused´ comments on this thread are completely unwarranted.

    The workforce of Harland and Wolf had it´s sectarian problems like any other workplace, generalising them as all the same and falsely bullshiting that “thousands of Catholics and socialists” where forced from the yards by these “sectarian bigots” is a distortion of your overactive and inventive imagination.

    You may like to know that many of these “socialist hating, anti catholic bigots” openly encouraged recruitment to the international brigades in the Spanish Civil War.

  • oul geezer

    When I were a lad, there was a story/rumour/urban myth that if you held up the registration number of the Titanic to a mirror you could read a sectarian slogan (playing records backwards, anyone?).
    Anyone know anything about that?

  • Dec

    Where have I referred to you on this thread as a “sectarian bigot”.

    Another thread last week, again it was your response to facts which don’t suit your worldview.

    The workforce of Harland and Wolf had it´s sectarian problems like any other workplace, generalising them as all the same and falsely bullshiting that “thousands of Catholics and socialists” where forced from the yards by these “sectarian bigots” is a distortion of your overactive and inventive imagination.

    Maybe this source is ‘falsely bullshitting’ too? Have you ever checked out basic facts before hitting the ‘Submit’ button?

  • oul geezer

    Answer from meself and wikipedia:

    One of the most widely spread legends linked directly into the sectarianism of the city of Belfast, where the ship was built. It was suggested that the ship was given the number 390904 which, when read backwards as reflected by the water’s surface, was claimed to spell ‘no pope’, a sectarian slogan attacking Roman Catholics that was (and is) widely used provocatively by extreme Protestants in Northern Ireland, where the ship was built.
    The ‘no pope’ story is in fact an urban legend. RMS Olympic and Titanic were assigned the yard numbers 400 and 401[93] respectively. The source of the story may have been from reports by dockworkers in Queenstown of anti-Catholic graffiti that they found on Titanic’s coalbunkers when they were loading coal.

  • Doctor Who

    Dec

    While “indymedia” is at times entertaining it shouldn´t always be defined as a 100% reliable. Certainly along with other sources you can get balance. What you seem to be forgetting is the first two decades of the 20th century where a time of great change and political unrest in Ireland. The piece you refer to is 8 years after the Titanic sank and the “home rule for Ireland act”, 2 years after the 1st world war and 4 years after the easter up rising. To take the rather simplistic approach that you do shows a lack of comprehension. Sectarian lines where not drawn up by dockers exclusively.

    Again though I don´t understand why you wish to conduct an argument about sectarianism on such a thread. It shows me that when you think of the Titanic, your first thoughts are those “bunch of sectarian bigots” that built it. You just might need some help.

  • Grow up, all of you!

    Let’s start with a matter of general observation. Ask Joe Bloggs for a “meaning” of Titanic and he will suggest it as a matter of enormous size. I once tried that on a later-evening pub group, and was washed away by the gratuitous information it involved a preposterously-siliconed female. End of that “intellectual” discussion. So, allow me to hasten on.

    Refer to the Oxford English Dictionary, and the primary “meaning” still involves the Greek myths: the Giants, the Titans and the Olympians. This was where the White Star Line took the names (along with the patriotic Britannic).

    Next: the size of the beast, which gave the language its current signification.

    Titanic was built to the same dimensions as her predecessor, the Olympic. Only because of fittings, she was all of 250 tons heavier than her sister, but the Titanic had no other claim to be “the biggest ship in the world”. Then, again, she was a natural derivation from the Oceanic of 1899, which was the first ship bigger than Brunel’s Great Eastern of 40 years earlier.

    All of these late Victorian/Edwardian monsters came out of Harland and Wolff. That was a time when Belfast could boast not only the world’s biggest shipyard, but also the biggest ropeworks, tobacco factory, and linen-spinners. The mark of that remains in the City Hall of 1906, which, then and now, as Jonathan Bardon suggests:

    seemed a little too self-conscious.

    Of course Belfast was a place of social (including denominational) tensions. It had grown in half-a-century from 87,000 to over 350,000 population. At that moment in time, Belfast was the cutting-edge of capitalism. It was also the point in time when the Ulster Unionist Council was militarising the protestant heartland, and, thereafter, as a concomitant, the whole island of Ireland. It was also a time when, for good economic reasons, folk of both religious traditions were being sucked into this burgeoning metropolis (my feeling, partly based on a two-volume history of socialism on my shelves, and from from other accounts is that the protestant influx was predominantly from Scotland rather than rural Ulster — and a lot of good Clydeside socialists among them).

    For all of these reasons, and for much more, I feel the iconography of the Titanic has a deserved place in our local history.

  • Dec

    The piece you refer to is 8 years after the Titanic sank and the “home rule for Ireland act”, 2 years after the 1st world war and 4 years after the easter up rising.

    If you’d bothered to read it it referred to a shipyard pogrom in 1886, which sort of blows your rationale out of the water (no pun intended). Anyway, I’ve no real issue with Titanic commerations and I would recommend everyone view Father Browne’s Titanic album for a fascinating insight into life onboard the ship, but your line that the ‘shipyard workers were the greatest ever salt of the earth types’ deserves challenge.

  • Doctor Who

    Dec

    ‘shipyard workers were the greatest ever salt of the earth types’

    Again you mis-quote me, you must stop doing that.