Built in Belfast at the  Harland & Wolff shipyards, Titanic’s keel was laid on the 31st March 1909, with her launch on 31st May 1911.

Titanic during fitting out at Harland and Wolff. Digitally coloured original photograph
Fitting out at Harland & Wolff.

Her fitting out was interrupted twice by visits from her sister the Olympic following a collision with HMS Hawke in the Solent, and the loss of a propeller blade in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. The unexpected work on the Olympic led to a postponement of Titanic’s maiden voyage date from 20th March 1912 to the 10th April 1912. Olympic underwent her propeller repairs from 1st- 6th March, the last time the sisters were together.

Coloured photograph of the Olympic and Titanic in Belfast
Olympic & Titanic together for the last time in Belfast.

No expense was spared to create a luxurious passenger environment, particularly in first class.


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Many of Titanic’s interiors were almost identical to those of her sister.


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Later in March members of the crew began to arrive to acquaint themselves with the new ship before sea trials on 2nd April. Francis Carruthers from the Board of Trade was present during the trials which tested all aspects of machinery and performance in Belfast Lough and the Irish Sea. Carruthers then duly signed the relevant Board of Trade paperwork to pass the ship as safe for fare-paying passengers. At 8pm Titanic left Belfast for Southampton, conducting further trials along the way. The Olympic had made a brief visit to Liverpool (their port of registration) on her first outing from Belfast, but any possibility of Titanic doing the same had disappeared following a series of delays including Olympic’s unexpected repairs.

  Titanic in Southampton