With a workforce of almost 15,000, the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast not only created Titanic; it shaped the fortunes of the city and its people. But life was not easy for those who built the ship, writes ALF MCREARY
THE EARLY 20th century was a golden age for shipbuilding and for Belfast, but for the men who made Titanic, it was a hard life – eight died in industrial accidents before it ever sailed. The ship was launched 100 years ago tomorrow, but would not make her maiden voyage for another 10 months. When it left Belfast on April 2nd, 1912 it carried with it the good wishes and pride of the shipyardmen who had worked under hazardous conditions and with poor pay to construct the greatest vessel the world had ever known.
This was not without its human cost, and during the construction of Titanic alone, there were 254 reported accidents, including the eight fatalities.
The Labour leader James Connolly remarked that a list of the maimed and hurt in accidents on any one of those big ships “would read like a roster of the wounded after a battle upon the Indian frontier”.
Belfast: the city that built Titanic - The Irish Times - Mon, May 30, 2011
Socialism is not in the least what it pretends to be. It is not the pioneer of a better and finer world, but the spoiler of what thousands of years of civilization have created. Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) Economist and social philosopher