The launch of the Titanic on May 31, 1911 was a moment of immense pride in Edwardian Belfast, with cheering crowds gathered anywhere they could find space in and around the shipyard to see the great ship take to the sea.
As one local journalist wrote: "If the circumstances under which the launch took place can be accepted as an augury of the future, the Titanic should be a huge success." Not many people around now remember that joyful day but the late John Parkinson, former President of the Belfast Titanic Society, did. John's father Frank worked on the ship and the young boy watched as the great liner was launched. He recalled: "I remember asking him ‘How can a ship that big stay up in the water?' My father's response was instant: 'Johnny, that ship will always stay up in the water'".