Titanic: Southampton's Deep Sorrow

Nigel Richardson describes the impact of the Titanic disaster on Southampton, the city from which she sailed and home to more than a third of those who lost their lives when the ship went down on April 15th, 1912.

The White Star Line posted lists of survivors outside its Southampton office, where 'Women sobbed aloud, while tears glistened in the eyes of rough and hardy sea-faring men' The sinking of RMS Titanic traumatised the city of Southampton, the port she sailed from, rendering it nearly mute on the subject for many years afterwards. George Bowyer, the harbour pilot in charge of the liner as she embarked on her maiden voyage, omitted the most significant event of his life, when in 1931 he published his memoirs (Lively Ahoy: Reminiscences of 58 Years in the Trinity House Pilotage Service). Titanic became a taboo subject in the offices of its owner, the White Star Line, and was spoken of discreetly, if at all, on Southampton’s streets, few of which escaped association with the most infamous disaster in maritime history.

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