Good Reading : June 2011
26 goodreading ı JUNE 2011 equipped gymnasium, a swimming pool and the most up-to-date safety features, such as automatic watertight doors. Despite this, her basic construction involved as much br ute force as it did finely calculated engineering. Welding was an art that had yet to catch on, so the Titanic's hull plates were held together with rivets that were hammered into place when red-hot, the plates overlapping like tiles on a house roof. She was buil to a grand scale -- the largest vessel afloat -- but she was built using basic techniques that had changed very little since the construction of the first iron- hulled ships more than half a century earlier, even though the Titanic wa s ten times the size of those early ships. And her up-to-date safety features were to prove woefully inadequate. The building of the Titanic taught the world fewer lessons than did her sinking. Despite the shortcomings of her design and construction, none of which would have become apparent had she not struck the iceberg, the building of the Titanic was something of which the people of Belfast were, and still are, justifiably proud.The creation of the Titanic and her sister ship, the Olympic, was an immense achievement, showing that British ships were the most advanced in the world and that Belfast- built ships were best.That the ship sank after hitting the iceberg (no other ship of the time would have survived such a trauma, either) could not detract from the quality of the craftsmanship that had gone into creating her sumptuous interiors. The luxury of the first-class fittings was of the standard of the most expensive hotels in London or New York. A journalist from the Southampton Times and Hampshire Express paid a visit to the Titanic in Southampton and, comparing the Titanic with her sister ship, noted: 'One person said that the Olympic was all that could be desired, and the Titanic was something even beyond that!' Why such luxury? Why such a size? Why was such a ship built at this time? The story of the Titanic's sinking is an enthralling tale, but the story of the building of the Titanic has a fascination all of its own. Building the Titanic by Rod Green is published by Carlton, rrp $39.99. BOOKBITE 1 A first-class suite, spacious enough to easily accommodate a table, couch and several chairs in the bedroom as well as the double bunk. The Titanic’s gymnasium on the Boat Deck included apparatus that is still recognisable today, including rowing and cycling machines.