Storm of protest sinks plan to hold rave nights aboard Titanic's little sister, SS Nomadic
The team running Titanic's 'little sister' SS Nomadic has dramatically pulled out of plans to hold a weekly rave on the historic vessel following a public outcry.
The 'Bring Your Own Alcohol Beatnomadic' club night was due to launch this Friday but has been cancelled after a storm of protest from Titanic enthusiasts around the world.
The tender, built alongside RMS Titanic at Harland & Wolff shipyards in Belfast, carried first and second-class passengers from Cherbourg onto the liner as she embarked on her ill-fated maiden voyage. Now more than 100 years old, she has been brought back to Belfast and painstakingly restored at a cost of more than £7m.
It is understood that several members of the Nomadic Charitable Trust, which oversaw the restoration of the ship, threatened to resign after they learned of the controversial plans to hold a weekly club night.
Meanwhile, David Scott Beddard, chairman of volunteer group Nomadic Preservation Society whose members raised money to restore the ship and buy artefacts, said he had received more than 100 phone calls on Sunday alone from people who were worried about what would happen.
The story went viral worldwide on Facebook and Twitter over the weekend, he said.
"To have an event like this on board is not in keeping with what Nomadic is. The potential risks far outweigh the benefits," he said.
Millions of pounds of public money have been spent on restoring the vessel and recovering artefacts including the original panelling, which was found in a garage in France.
"I just don't think they had thought it through. It was the public response that came to us and we thought we have to take this forwards and voice our opinion.
"It was a misguided judgment to go ahead with this, but at least they have now acted positively and quickly," he added.
One Titanic enthusiast said more than 100 people who had taken passage on SS Nomadic went on to die in the 1912 disaster and a lot of people who had been fundraising were now threatening to withdraw their support.
"This is total disrespect to the memory of Titanic and those who sailed on her," he said.
John White of exhibition company White Star Memories said he was opposed to the club nights because of the danger to priceless artefacts on board, such as the sheet music recovered from bandleader Wallace Hartley's body.
"We were quite concerned about the safety of the artefacts," he said.
Trevor Anderson of Nomadic Trading Company, which runs the tender as an exhibition at Hamilton Graving Dock in Belfast, said that as more details emerged about the Beatnomadic event, questions were raised about the suitability of Nomadic as a venue, particularly considering the artefacts that were on board.
"The event has been cancelled. We had started to get some questions coming in from some of the enthusiasts saying this can't happen on Nomadic," he said.
"I have nothing against the organiser or the event itself – it was more a question of 'is it the right event for the Nomadic?'
"Even with a simple accident happening, the consequences would have been just too much for the risk of doing the event," he added.
SS Nomadic (above) was built at Harland & Wolff alongside RMS Titanic and was launched in 1911.
After she was retired in the 1960s she became a floating restaurant on the Seine in Paris.
In 2006 the Department for Social Development bought her at auction following a major media campaign led by the Belfast Telegraph.