The History of the Titanic | Titanic Exhibition London

Find out more about the Titanic’s true story ahead of your experience.


The story of the Titanic begins in a mansion in London, 1907. One summer night, Lord William James Pirrie (chairman of shipbuilders Harland and Wolff) and J. Bruce Ismay (director of shipping company White Star Line) planned the construction of three of the largest and most magnificent ships in the world: the Olympic, the Titanic and the Gigantic, which after the Titanic’s tragedy would become the Britannic.
The luxury and grandeur in Ismay and Pirrie’s ocean liners were unparalleled at the time. Their interiors could compete with even the best hotels and restaurants, and the implementation of a state-of-the-art watertight door system meant that they were considered “practically unsinkable”.



After delays due to inclement weather and stops to stock up on provisions, the Titanic at last set sail on 10th April 1912. It docked first in Cherbourg, France, then in Queenstown, Ireland, picking up passengers in both cities before heading to its destination in New York.
The first three days went by without incident. It wasn’t until midnight on 14th April that the ship saw its first and final hazard: an enormous iceberg, drifting towards the ship. First officer William Murdoc immediately ordered the crew to steer off course to slow the ship, but unfortunately he could not stop the ice from striking the starboard side.
We all know how this story ends…



From the moment the Titanic disappeared into the waters of the Atlantic, “the ship of dreams” became highly sought after by oceanographers, treasure hunters and even businessmen from all over the world. It was discovered at last on 1st September 1985 in Nova Scotia, Canada, about 800 kilometres away from the coast and at a depth of almost 4 kilometres.
The first recovery expedition began the following year. Some objects were recovered in 1987, but it was only in 1993 when George Tulloch’s company, the RMS Titanic, was legally authorised to salvage items from the ship. It is estimated that in one generation, perhaps two, erosion and bacteria will take their toll on the Titanic and break down the remains until they are nothing but a legend.
Gone, but not forgotten. Titanic: The Exhibition aims to preserve the magic, beauty, history and integrity of the Titanic, keeping alive the memory and sharing its maritime, historic and cultural significance with the world.



Claes-Göran Wetterholm (Nora, 1952) is probably one of the world’s greatest authorities on the history of the Titanic. An eminent ethnologist, historian, researcher and writer, he is the author of several books on the ship, most notably Titanic (1988). He has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to investigating and studying the history of the Titanic, and since 1987 he has contributed to numerous exhibitions. He has also taken part in four expeditions to the wreckage of the ship (1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998).

Since 2003, he is the curator and historian for this exhibition, which is now coming to London for the first time. Throughout the years he has carefully selected the artefacts and personal stories that best convey the philosophy behind the display: empathy and a sense of closeness with all those who were aboard.


All historical photographs in this website and the Exhibition’s communication assets belong to ©Claes Göran-Wetterholm’s personal archive, as well as ©Harland and Wolff’s archives, and are used with the respective owners’ permission. Unauthorised use or reproduction is forbidden.

Titanic: The Exhibition would also like to thank the following people and institutions for their collaboration and contributions: Claes-Göran Wetterholm – Gunilla & Amy Genrup – Hjördis Ohlsson – Craig & Ruth Sopin – Joan Randall – Per & Anna-Greta Nilsson – Susanne Murdoch – Jill Stuifbergen – Günter Bäbler – Ann-Charlotte, Kaj & Patrick Bäck – Brigitte Saar – Bo & Doris Strandberg – Lars Erik & Elisabeth Svennerby – Bo Jerndell – Yvone & Bengt Möller-Jonsson – Familjen Ugarte – Lina Kindblom – Per Warvlin

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