Remembering Titanic tragedy 105 years later

Titanoraks in period costume at The White Swan Hotel, in Alnwick.
Titanoraks in period costume at The White Swan Hotel, in Alnwick.

Dressed in tailcoats, top hats and elegant gowns, Titanic enthusiasts came together in Alnwick earlier this month to mark the 105th anniversary of the sinking.

Fittingly, the commemoration was held in The White Swan Hotel’s Olympic Suite, which features the panelling, mirrors, ceiling and stained-glass windows from the vessel’s sister ship, the RMS Olympic.

The guests were members of a Titanic Memorial Cruise Reunion group, which first came together on the Titanic Memorial Cruise in 2012.

The ship on that occasion was the Fred Olsen liner, Balmoral, which sailed from Southampton in April 2012, stopping at Cobh in Ireland, and continued, unlike the Titanic, all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and New York, with a pause for a memorial service over the wreck site.

Many of the passengers had direct links to Titanic passengers and crew. Some had family members who had helped to build the Titanic and her older ship, the Olympic.

Other were simply fascinated by the story of the Titanic and her tragic end.

The group has continued to meet annually and on this occasion representatives were drawn to The White Swan because of its Titanic connections.

Representatives came from Australia, Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and the UK.

Since the Titanic and Olympic were virtually twins, the venue’s dining room is the closest thing to the interior of the doomed liner, which sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage, with the loss of more than 1,500 people.

The White Swan organised a series of dinners based on White Star Line menus and the food was served by staff in period-appropriate dress. There was also musical entertainment.

During their stay, the Titanoraks – as they affectionately call themselves – enjoyed a programme of events, including a boat cruise along the River Tyne.