Painting a pretty picture of the SS Nomadic
Published 29/09/2006 | 15:49
The campaigners who fought to bring SS Nomadic back to Belfast are itching to get her doors open to the public.
And they hope a new mural at Laganside featuring the story of how Titanic's little sister was saved will help keep her in the public eye.
The colourful mural, showing the vessel in her heyday as she carried first-class passengers boarding the Titanic at Cherbourg in 1912, has been painted on the hoarding surrounding the Obel Tower at Laganside.
Terry Madill, of Belfast Titanic Convention, said: "Karl Holdings were kind enough to pay for the image to brighten the boarding point used by the Lagan Boat Company for their Titanic tours.
"The artwork was prepared by W McLelland Design for Belfast Titanic Convention to promote the campaign to restore the Nomadic.
"It is reassuring to know that, whilst the DSD's Nomadic Preservation Trust has still not been formed two months after the ship returned to Belfast, local enthusiasts remain active."
Nomadic returned from France to Belfast in July after she was bought at auction in Paris by the Department of Social Development at the start of the year for €250,000.
At the time, Social Development Minister David Hanson warned that "significant progress" must be made in restoring her within 18 months, otherwise she will be re-sold.
But two months after Nomadic arrived at the Odyssey Arena, there has still been no announcement of the make-up of the charitable trust which will be responsible for overseeing her restoration.
Fundraising campaigners, the Nomadic Preservation Society, hope they will be able to start the clean-up process within weeks, in preparation for allowing paying visitors on board.
"It is crucial to retain the curiosity value and momentum that has already been built up by allowing the public on board as soon as possible," a spokesman said.
"To keep this worldly important ship out of sight would put the brakes on an attraction that has already generated much interest, not only in Belfast but around the world."
The society says a lot of Nomadic's original decor remains and much of her panelling and fittings have now been recovered, including her only remaining lifeboat.
Once on board, visitors will be able to explore parts of her first and second-class accommodation and relax in the cafe and souvenir shop that will be set up, the spokesman said.
A Nomadic Gala Evening has been arranged for the November 25 showing of ‘Titanic — the musical' at the Grand Opera House.
Kate Winslet's ‘sinking' dress will be one of the items on display from the White Star Memories collection.
John White, NPS director, said: "The return of Nomadic is a remarkable achievement for all those involved with the appeal team. I would also like to pass on my own personal thanks to DSD for having the vision to purchase and return Nomadic to her birthplace."