A 15 tonne ‘Titanic’ sign, believed to be the largest ever made in Northern Ireland, has been delivered to Titanic Belfast where it will form a focal point on the plaza around the new visitor attraction.
Lazer-cut and made from eight, 30mm thick, solid steel plates, the 4.5m tall, 15m long sign is the same length as the private promenades available on Titanic’s most expensive accommodation, the First Class Parlour Suites. The Parlour Suite on the port side, consisting of rooms B52, B54 and B56, was occupied by Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the White Star Line, which owned Titanic. The new sign is also the same weight as Titanic’s main anchor.
Made by BSK Engineering, based near Cookstown, the sign made its 50 mile, four-county journey to Belfast from County Tyrone via the M1. A number of roads had to be closed in Dungannon to accommodate the over-sized structure which was transported as a completed piece.
Tim Husbands, Titanic Belfast’s CEO, said:
“In less than eight weeks Titanic Belfast will open its doors to the world. The effort which has gone into making Titanic Belfast not only an impressive physical spectacle, but also an amazing experience inside, has been simply immense.
“Everything about this project, from the Titanic sign to the 3,000 shards which make up the building’s exterior, to its use of breath-taking technology to bring Titanic’s story alive, has been designed to give Northern Ireland an attention grabbing, international attraction. Even the plaza on which the sign sits includes one of the world’s largest outdoor maps of the northern hemisphere tracing Titanic’s route across the Atlantic.
“Interest in the project has been phenomenal. Pre-booked ticked sales are now over 50,000, including 1,000 group tours, and spaces are quickly running out for the opening day and other key dates during the upcoming Titanic 100 Festival in April.”
BSK Director, Barry Kerr, who oversaw the construction of the sign, said:
“BSK Engineering has supplied several items of steel work to Titanic Belfast ranging from railings to pavillions. Given the unique nature of the building and its contents, there’s been nothing run-of-the-mill about any of the jobs we’ve completed – not least the sign.
“It’s taken a team of up to six workers the best part of two weeks to put the sign together, but the result has been worth it – a Titanic sign for a Titanic project. Everyone at the firm has been proud to be involved with such a prestigious project. We’re looking forward to joining the tourists to get our pictures taken outside Titanic Belfast beside our handiwork!”
During its trip to Belfast, the Titanic sign made a scheduled stop at Sacred Heart PS, near BSK’s premises. Principal, Mr. Eunan McGinn, said:
“The school has strong community relations and we are always eager to enhance the curriculum and incorporate learning outside the classroom, so when we heard that our neighbours at BSK were working on the Titanic sign we asked them to stop by.
“Titanic is currently a thematic unit taught to enhance pupils’ understanding of the world around us. The children were amazed at the sheer scale of the sign – they’re definitely enthused about all things Titanic now.”
Three years after work began, Titanic Belfast is now beginning to near completion in the run-up to its opening on March 31st, the 101st anniversary of Titanic’s launch from its slipway at Harland & Wolff. To date, tickets and tours to the attraction have been pre-booked from around 20 different countries including some far flung destinations such as New Zealand, Australia and Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean.