When we heard of Titanic, we often thought of a luxurious liner that sank at North Atlantic Ocean or the famous ‘Jack and Rose’. But there is definitely more than that. I became so interested to this ship when I got the chance to visit Belfast.
|Start of the Titanic Adventure|
It’s a very humble experience to see where this huge and famous ‘White Star’ creation was made. To think that it was created with genius engineering, I couldn’t believe that now it could only be seen in photos and movies.
Imagine yourself here at Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House in the year when people were busy on their own tasks. Some were riding bicycle towards their post. Some were pulling chains here and there. Engineers were walking back and forth to check if everything works properly. It was indeed a busy day at the dock.
|Full length of the port side and behind it is the Pump-House. |
At the center of the Pump-House is the clock tower where hydraulic accumulator goes if the dock is operating.
|Keel blocks where Titanic was resting when dry docked.|
The dock and the pump-house was already in Belfast 20 years before Titanic anchorages there. It was called then, Alexandra Dock (named after the mother of Prince Albert Victor). It became known as 'Thompson Dry Dock' (named after the Chairman of Belfast Harbour Commissioner) and later on called ‘Titanic’s Dock’ (for obvious reason that the famous Titanic docked there before its voyage).
‘Titanic’s Dock’ is 850ft length, 128ft width and 44ft depth. To give you a clear idea of how big this dock is, imagine a domestic bathtub filled with water; you’ll need about 1,050,000 of such to fill the whole dock. In simple thought, it is about 20 million gallons of water. Its length can contain 26 London buses. Hold your thought right there because I know you are wondering how it will be filled with such amount of water. Well, that’s the pump-house for. All the magic happened there.
|Capstan was the revolving cylinder used to haul the Titanic into the dock.|
|Valves where water goes into the dock.|
How it worked? Two compressor pumps will lift the cylinder (hydraulic accumulator) up to the clock tower. Then the 80-tonne cylinder will be lowered down forcing the water towards the pipes and valves. That will lead to opening of 1000-tonne dock door and the capstans operating.
The 'Pump-House' served as the control unit to pump out and pump in water. The dock was called dry-dock because of its unique way of making the dock dry quicker than flooding it. While I was looking around the elegant pump house, I couldn’t stop myself from admiring the original Victorian architecture and all the machines in it.
|Control panels for the pumps.|
|An engineer's clock will welcome you to the 2nd floor.|
On the 2nd floor, you’ll see the oldest part of the building with all the machines and workshops still there. It looked like a control room with all the gauges and switches.
This dock was working through the use of steam and was converted to electricity in the 1950’s. Believe it or not, this old and yet original structure was operating until 2001. Back then, it needed 500 workers in the dockyard, which was costing £350,000 and is equivalent to £35 million. It is truly a big amount to sustain the operation. And I think that was the reason why they shut it down.
Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House
Northern Ireland Science Park, Queens Rd,
Queen's Island, Belfast BT3 9DT,
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Entrance Fee: £6 adult, £4 children, Free Under 5, Family (2Ad/2Ch) £15