Following successful sea trials the RMS Titanic left Belfast Harbour on the evening of Tuesday, 2 April 1912. She headed for her home port of Southampton, on the south coast of England. Her route would take her down the Irish Sea before turning to enter the English Channel, where she would head round the Isle of Wight, and then continue up the Solent to reach Southampton Docks. She arrived just after midnight on 3 April and moored alongside Berth 44 in the White Star Dock.
By 6 April the majority of her crew had been engaged. As her sailing neared, thousands of tons of coal, supplies and cargo were loaded aboard. On 7 April she was dressed in colourful signal flags to mark Good Friday. By the morning of Wednesday 10 April she was ready for her maiden departure. The 'First Sailing of the Latest Addition to the White Star Fleet' was the culmination of years of planning and tens of thousands of man hours. The White Star Line was justifiably proud of their new liner. Their 'Queen of the Oceans' was the 'Latest, Largest and Finest Steamer Afloat'.
Throughout the morning her passengers embarked, along with her crew with many passing through Dock Gate 4 at the landward end of the docks on the way down to the ship, where today the memorial stone remembers the passengers and crew of the Titanic.
This simple memorial, dedicated to the passengers and crew of the Titanic was unveiled on 81st anniversary of the Titanic's maiden voyage. The memorial is in the form of an inscribed brass plaque affixed to a squat, rectangular, undressed stone block. The memorial is surrounded by a gravel bed. The plaque carries an inscription in sans-serif block capitals:
In memory of the passengers and crew of R.M.S Titanic which sailed from the nearby Berth 43 on her maiden voyage on 10 April 1912 and sank on 15 April 1912 with the loss of over 1500 lives
Memorial erected by Cobwebs, P. Croucher Associated British Ports & British Titanic Society 10 April 1993
Alongside the memorial is an information board which states:
Here lies the Titanic Memorial Stone
The Titanic set sail at 12 noon on 10th April 1912 from Berth 43/4 of the White Star Dock, now known as the Ocean Dock, illustrated below.
The board carries a contemporary illustration of the view of the docks from the memorial's location, with the approximate position of Berth 43/44 identified on the horizon, along with a plan of the docks showing a birds-eye view of the docks, with the location of the memorial and the Titanic's berth both clearly marked, and other contextual information about the docks.
The memorial was originally unveiled outside the Associated British Ports building, further along Central Road. However, with increased security measures at the docks the memorial was relocated closer to Dock Gate 4, within site of the security staff at the dock entrance, so that visitors are still able to view the memorial.
- New York Times, The (2012) The Titanic sails to-day New York: The New York Times, Wednesday 10 April 1912
- Henderson, John R (1998) Demographics of the Titanic Passengers: Deaths, Survivals, and Lifeboat Occupancy Ithaca, NY: http://www.icyousee.org/titanic.html
- White Star Line advertising poster, 1912