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Newspapers in education: Titanic, past and present, week three

This article has been specially written for thousands of pupils from across Northern Ireland who are doing the Belfast Telegraph cross-curricular project on the Titanic. Over a six week period we will focus on the iconic ship which was built in Belfast.

Floating palace finally sets sail for America

The Titanic left Belfast on April 2, 1912. Harland and Wolff, the company which built the ship, chose eight workers to travel along with Managing Director Thomas Andrews to check that everything was fine with the vessel. They would be known as the 'Guarantee Group'.

The facilities on board the Titanic were considered amazing. It was as if passengers were taking their journey on a floating hotel.

There was a fully equipped gymnasium, as well as a swimming pool, Turkish bath, steam room, hot room, cooling room and shampoo room.

Four electric elevators - three in first class and one in second class - were also on board while a squash court could be used by first class passengers.

The medical bay had two doctors, and musicians played in both the first and second class areas of the ship while two fully equipped barbers were also available for those travelling in first and second class. Conditions for third class passengers were not so luxurious but they were still much better than what many were leaving behind.

Just after midnight on April 4, 2012, the ship docked in Southampton, where fresh food, cutlery, dishes, glassware and provisions were delivered.

The Titanic had three restaurants, with the kitchens said to contain the biggest range of food in the world. There were separate store rooms for food such as beef, cheese and poultry and a large ice-making and refrigerating machine.

In Southampton hundreds of passengers for each of the first, second and third class parts of the Titanic went on board, with the ship departing the south coast of England on April 10 for the French port of Cherbourg, where once again more passengers were picked up.

By April 11 the Titanic had reached Queenstown, now known as Cobh, in Co Cork. After more people came on board, the ship finally set sail for New York with passengers and crew excited about the voyage. Leaving for America, over 2,000 people were on board the Titanic.

Each week we will write about  various people with a connection to the Titanic. Today we feature Edward Smith

Edward John Smith was the captain of the RMS Titanic.

He was born on January 27, 1850, in Staffordshire in England. At the age of 17 he moved to Liverpool where he started to work in the shipping industry.

In 1880 he joined the famous White Star Line company and served aboard liners going to Australia and the United States of America.

He was captain of the renowned Majestic for nine years from 1895 and when the Boer War began in 1899 his ship transported troops to South Africa. King Edward VII awarded him the Transport Medal for his service.

In 1904 Smith would captain the Baltic, then the biggest ship in the world, taking her on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York. He was also captain of the Adriatic and Olympic.

Viewed as one of the most experienced sea captains in the world, Smith was appointed as captain of the Titanic and boarded at Southampton docks in readiness to sail to America.

Sadly, on April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank with over 1,500 people dying. Captain Smith was one of them as he went down with the ship.

He was survived by his wife Eleanor and their daughter Helen.

In July 1914 a statue of Captain Smith was unveiled by his daughter in Lichfield, England.

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