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Centenary tribute to Titanic builders

The centenary of work beginning on RMS Titanic has been marked by a symbolic keel laying ceremony at Titanic Quarter.

John M Andrews, great-nephew of Titanic designer Thomas Andrews and president of Belfast Titanic Society, unveiled a memorial plaque on a replica keel plate which has been erected on the exact spot on the Titanic slipway where construction began in 1909.

One hundred years to the day since work began on the world’s most famous ship, the historic event was attended by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Tom Hartley, and a range of Titanic enthusiasts, including two members of the South African Titanic Society who travelled from Cape Town especially for the event.

The Lord Mayor said: “Belfast is justifiably proud of the Titanic and the skills and expertise of the men who built and designed her. No other city in the world can lay claim to her name in the way that we can.”

Keel laying was the first step taken in the building process of the Titanic. The first keel plate was laid on March 31, 1909, close to where the centre of the ship was to be, with the rest of the structure growing from this point.

The single plate was 26ft 6ins long, 52in wide and 1.5in thick. It also weighed over three tons.

Belfast Telegraph

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