Design & Build

Harland and Wolff drawing officeBy the early 1900s, Belfast was a thriving industrial city with a population of around 390,000.  Many of its citizens were employed in the linen, engineering and shipbuilding industries.   

Harland & Wolff, the largest of these shipyards, built over 70 vessels for the White Star Line.  The most famous of these were the Olympic-class vessels, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, designed and built between 1908 and 1914.  

Today, Harland & Wolff’s two magnificent yellow twin cranes, Goliath (1969) and Samson (1974) still stand guard over the city.


1861 - Design & Build

Titanic Timeline


Edward J. Harland and Gustav W. Wolff establish Harland & Wolff shipbuilders


Decision made to build three new ships by Bruce Ismay (White Star Line) and Lord Pirrie (Harland & Wolff), design begins in June.

June, 1907

Preliminary designs begin in the Harland and Wolff Drawing office

July, 1907

Work begins to create two new slips at the Harland & Wolff ship yard using the overhead Arrol gantry

29th July, 1908

Design of Ship No. 400 (Olympic) and No. 401 (Titanic) approved by Bruce Ismay and other White Star directors.

16th December, 1908

Keel of Olympic laid

31st March, 1909

Keel of Titanic laid

19th October, 1910

Plating finished on Titanic

20th October, 1910

Olympic hull launched

31st May, 1911

Titanic hull launched

14th June, 1911

Maiden voyage of Olympic

30th November, 1911

Keel of Britannic laid

31st March, 1912

Titanic fitting out completed

2nd April, 1912

Titanic undergoes one day’s sea trials before returning to Belfast. Departs Belfast at 8pm for Southampton.


Britannic launch

1912 - On Board

Titanic Timeline

3rd April, 1912

Titanic arrives at Southampton at noon

10th April, 1912

Titanic departs Southampton bound for New York on maiden voyage at 11.45 am

10th April, 1912

Titanic arrives at Cherbourg, France at about 6pm for passengers to embark

11th April, 1912

Titanic calls to Queenstown at about 11.30am for passengers to embark

12th April, 1912

Travelling on north Atlanic at about 21 knots

13th April, 1912

Continued progress towards New York

14th April, 1912

Titanic receives warnings of ice ahead

11:40pm, 14 April 1912

At 11.40pm iceberg seen, Titanic turns to port but strikes iceberg causing 300 foot gash on starboard side

1912 - Loss

Titanic Timeline

12:15am, 15th April 1912

Distress call CQD sent out from wireless room, Cunard liner Carpathia responds

12:30am, 15th April 1912

Captain Smith orders lifeboats filled, women and children first

1:40am, 15th April 1912

Last lifeboat lowered on starboard side of Titanic

1:50am, 15th April 1912

Last marconigram communication between Olympic and Titanic

2:05am, 15th April 1912

Last lifeboat lowered on port side of Titanic

2:20am, 15th April 1912

Titanic sinks with loss of over 1,500 lives

4:10am, 15th April 1912

Carpathia begins to take on board survivors from lifeboats

8:50am, 15th April 1912

Carpathia leaves site of sinking with 705 survivors on board

18th April, 1912

Carpathia arrives in New York with survivors

Myth & Memory

Titanic Timeline


Shock on both sides of Atlantic at loss of Titanic


Unveiling of memorial to engineers in Southampton


Unveiling of Titanic monument in Belfast


Publication of Walter Lord’s book A Night to Remember


Film A Night to Remember is released


Titanic wreck discovered


Removal of artefacts from wreck


Film Titanic by James Cameron is released