| 6°C Belfast

Titanic historians divided over the merits of leaving wreckage

The Titanic

Titanic historian Parks Stephenson has hit out at those who say the wreckage is a tomb and should be left alone out of respect for the dead.

Mr Stephenson has argued that a tomb can pay respect to the dead by revealing much about past lives and those who advocate leaving the wreck to its inevitable demise from ocean currents and iron-consuming bacteria want to deprive enthusiasts.

"I consider it the best respect to the past when we attempt to reveal a tomb's truths," Mr Stephenson said.

"In the remains of Titanic's Marconi Silent Cabin, I learned much about the system and the last actions of the operators from the artefacts themselves.

"If others had access to the artefacts, might they find something that I missed?

"We won't know unless we make those artefacts available to others. To leave it where it is dooms it to inevitable destruction."

Mr Stephenson, who has personally witnessed and documented the progression of Titanic's deterioration over the past 20 years, added: "I have had the luxury of seeing and documenting the Marconi transmitter myself.

"I have also seen the growing threat to its survival. I want to save that artefact before it is lost and share it with the world."

But eminent historian Jonathan Bardon says the wreckage should be left alone.

"It is basically a gravesite for 1,500 people and I would be inclined to let it sit.

"By all means photograph things that are found but leave them there," he said.

"When these artefacts are obtained the one place they won't end up is in Titanic Belfast because they wouldn't be able to afford them."

Stop this graverobbing; page 27

Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.

Already have an account?

Belfast Telegraph