Dear Steemit friends, let me take you on a journey back in time, aboard one of Titanic's tender boats, the SS Nomadic. The Nomadic is the only surviving White Star Line vessel in existence today. It was built in Belfast in 1911 alongside the infamous RMS Titanic. Today, she can be found in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. She was designed to carry passengers to and from the Titanic.
The Nomadic was one of two boats commissioned by the White Star Line in 1911 to tender for the Titanic, which was too large to dock in the French habour of Cherbourg. The Nomadic is referred to as a boat, however, she was not small, being able to carry up to 1,000 passengers.
To find me, look for my Chihuahua's face
The faces of the men who built the ships
Often referred to as a “mini Titanic”, the Nomadic was designed by the same man, Mr Thomas Andrews. Just because she was smaller, exactly one quarter of the size of Titanic to be exact, no expense was spared on it's fine detail and luxurious finishes.
In April 1912, the Nomadic completed her most famous task by transferring the excited passengers from the dock in Cherbourg out to the Titanic, which was anchored out in deeper water. In awe of the White Star Line's luxury, those passengers were blissfully unaware of the tragic fate awaiting them only days later.
The Titanic experience, Belfast
The Titanic Museum
I have always been fascinated by the Titanic. Maybe it is because of how tragic of a story it has, how revolutionary it was for it's time or the fact I have a line of British Naval men in my family. Whatever the reason, I couldn't be more excited to visit the Titanic experience in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is a wonderful experience that I will be sharing with you over two blogs.
Belfast has its own inner-city district called the Titanic Quarter. This was where the Titanic and the Nomadic were built side by side. Today, the Titanic Quarter is home to the Nomadic itself and an elaborate museum dedicated to the Titanic. You can even have high tea in a room set out like a tea room on-board. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to eat cakes and drink tea from the china that was made for the Titanic. I will be sharing my high tea experience with you in part two of this blog.
My family and I ready to board the Nomadic
It is no secret that the British and Irish have hated each other for decades. Amazingly enough, during the construction of the Titanic, the British and the Irish put aside their differences to build the magnificent ship. There were no fights or attacks by either side during the construction. The British and the Irish worked together to build the largest ship in the world. People today can learn a lot from the men who built the Titanic, number 1, we can achieve amazing things when we work together and number 2, always build watertight doors all the way to the ceiling.
Looking back on the tragedy, we can easily pick out the countless mistakes the crew made both when building the Titanic and operating it. This makes the vessels we have today, so safe. Funnily enough, I am actually writing this blog from a vessel that I am currently working on.
When you arrive at Titanic Quarter, the large peculiar shaped building is the Titanic museum. It is in this building that you get to experience high tea. All tickets have to be bought in this building. The entry onto the Nomadic is actually complimentary when you get a ticket into the museum. Being able to physically board the Nomadic was my favourite part as it really brought me back in time. The boat was restored to its former glory and is in fabulous condition considering it has been involved in both world wars and is over 100 years old.
Once you board the Nomadic, there is a tour guide present to share information about the vessel. The passenger accommodation consisted of lower and upper deck lounges with open deck areas on the bridge deck. The vessel was divided into first and second class passenger areas, with first class passengers enjoying the fore areas of the ship.
Internally, Nomadic was fitted out to a similar standard as Titanic, well, of course, nothing less was to be expected of the boat. she had more luxuries than most ships of her day, let alone other tender boats. Many could argue that her luxury was excessive for a boat intended just to transfer passengers from dock to ship.
There were a lot of interactive games and puzzles to play on-board. They are a fun way to learn about the history of both the Nomadic and the Titanic. You can mix and match outfits of what the passengers would have worn. Try to park the Nomadic up alongside the dock. Even dress up with clothing items and the original life-jackets. This makes it interesting for children as well which is handy if you are travelling with some. The boat is both stroller and wheelchair accessible which makes it a fantastic choice for the whole family.
The Nomadic was designed for the sole purpose of transferring passengers from the dock in Cherbourg to the nearby anchored Titanic. So what would Nomadic do after the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage. She eventually ended up back in Belfast where I boarded her but what about the 100 years in-between. Well, I found out. She played a vital role in both the World Wars.
During World War I, Nomadic primarily served as an auxiliary minesweeper and patrol ship. On occasion, she was used to ferry troops to and from the harbour in Brest, France.
During World War II, Nomadic again saw service as she aided in the evacuation of Cherbourg. The port was heavily damaged, so large ocean liners could no longer dock there. Nomadic served as a tender for troops, a minelayer and patrol ship for the remainder of the war. After the war, she returned to her tendering duties for other White Star Line vessels such as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. She finally retired from these duties in 1968.
After her retirement, Nomadic lay idle for 6 years, just as she was about to be towed to the scrap-yard, a private offer by a French businessman was accepted in 1974 . After months of renovations and restoration work, she was relocated to the River Seine in Paris, with the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. She was now a fully functional floating 5 star restaurant. The restaurant was so popular that bookings were taken a year in advance. Everything was going well for Nomadic, she was a bustle of activity every night under the lights of Paris. Until, the owner of the restaurant was bankrupted in 2002 and Nomadic was seized by French Authorities. Nomadic again found itself abandoned and destined for the scrap-yard.
On learning of her fate, and heritage, maritime enthusiasts from Belfast began campaigns to raise funds to buy the vessel. Though the campaigns were unable to raise sufficient funds, it gained momentous governmental support. Then on 26th January 2006, the Northern Ireland government bought the vessel for €250,001. She was then towed all the way from Paris to Belfast to the exact spot were she was constructed all those years ago.
Once she was home, a voluntary charitable trust was established called the Nomadic Charitable Trust.
They vowed "To restore the SS Nomadic and to make her accessible to the public, to ensure she can play a key role in the ongoing celebration of Titanic, ensure a lasting legacy to celebrate our maritime and industrial heritage and as a catalyst for tourism, social and economic development".
I hope you have enjoyed the first part of my blog on Titanic, Belfast, thank you for reading, until next time, Vegoutt Everybody!!