Titanic Facts for Children and Teachers
More than 100 years on and the Titanic holds as much fascination for us now as it did then. Check out these fascinating Titanic facts to help you separate the fact from the fiction…
When was the Titanic built?
Construction of the Titanic began on 31st March 1909. It took three years to build. Its first voyage (known as the maiden voyage) began on 10th April 1912.
Where was the Titanic built?
The Titanic was built at the Harland & Wolff Shipyards in Belfast, Ireland. She was built alongside her sister ship, the Olympic.
How big was the Titanic?
The Titanic was 269 metres long. That’s nearly the length of three football pitches! It was 28 metres wide at its widest point. It was 53 metres in height from the top of the bridge to the keel. At the time, the Titanic was the largest moving object in the world.
Where was the Titanic going to on her maiden voyage?
Titanic’s maiden voyage began in Southampton in England with the intended destination of New York in America.
Who was on the maiden voyage of the Titanic?
A total of 2224 people travelled on the Titanic on her maiden voyage. The passengers were divided into three groups:
- The first-class passengers were the wealthiest on board. People travelling first-class included prominent businessmen, entrepreneurs, members of the aristocracy and many other rich, important people.
- In second class were the middle-class passengers who were not poor but did not have the social standing of the first-class passengers. Middle-class passengers included people like businessmen, clergymen, tourists and middle-class families.
- The third-class passengers were the poorest and consisted mainly of people emigrating to America.
What was the Titanic like inside?
The Titanic was eleven stories high, eight decks of which could be used by passengers. The upper-most decks were only allowed to be used by the first-class passengers. The lower decks were where the second- and third-class passengers stayed.
The Titanic was designed to be like a high-class hotel. It was luxurious and extravagant. For those with a first-class ticket, there was access to a gymnasium, Turkish baths, a swimming pool, a barber and a squash court, as well as cafés, restaurants and lounges.
Conditions were more basic for those in second- and third-class, although they were still much better than most other ships at the time.
Teachers: If you're looking for lesson planning about the interior of the Titanic, check out this downloadable 'Inside the Titanic' lesson for KS2.
What happened to the Titanic?
When the Titanic was first built, she was advertised as being an ‘unsinkable ship’. However, on 14th April 1912, four days into her maiden voyage, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Sea. The damage to the ship caused her to take on water. Less than three hours later, the entire ‘unsinkable ship’ lay at the bottom of the ocean.
When the Titanic started sinking, crew members started putting women and children into the lifeboats. Not only were there not enough lifeboats for everyone on the ship, but they were sent down to the water half empty. Lots more people could have got on the lifeboats if they had been filled properly.
As it was, in all the confusion, most people didn’t get to a lifeboat. Only around 700 people out of more than 2000 survived. Around 1500 people drowned in the icy waters.
How did the survivors get to safety?
When the Titanic knew she was first in danger, a series of telegrams were sent to nearby ships asking for help. Two hours after the Titanic sank, the Carpathia, another passenger steamship, reached the survivors of the lifeboats and took them aboard to safety.
Why did the Titanic sink?
In the months and years following the disaster, lots of official inquiries were undertaken to try and establish what had caused the sinking and the massive loss of life. There is no one factor or person than can take the blame.
- Some blame cheap rivets that were used in the building of the ship.
- Others blame Captain Smith for not slowing down the speed of the ship after iceberg warnings.
- The telegraph operators ignored messages from a nearby ship that had stopped 20 miles away because it was surrounded by ice.
- There weren’t enough lifeboats for everyone on the ship. It was originally planned to have 46 lifeboats but this was reduced to 20 to make more room on the top deck for the first-class passengers. This was legal but still only enough for one third of the passengers.
- Even the 20 lifeboats were not filled to capacity. Many were sent to the water half empty. Around 500 more people could have been saved if each lifeboat had been full. This was partly because no one had been trained as to what to do in an emergency.
- Only two lifeboats out of the 20 went back for people in the water after the ship had sunk. They were worried they would be mobbed and the boats would capsize.
What did we learn from the Titanic?
Whoever, or whatever, was the blame the Titanic, there were a lot of changes that were brought about from this disaster. Many people wanted the government to create new laws and regulations to protect people at sea. The International Convention for the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) was formed. SOLAS ensured that:
- All ships must carry enough lifeboats for every person aboard the ship.
- Lifeboat drills became mandatory to that crew and passengers would know what to do in an emergency.
- All radio communications should be manned 24 hours a day on passenger ships.
- SOS signals were adopted as the universal distress signal in Morse code.
- The Titanic sent off several white flares as distress signals. These flares were seen by the SS Californian but they didn’t know they were distress signal. SOLAS stated that distress flares must be coloured red so people knew to respond immediately.
- The International Ice Patrol was established in 1914 to monitor and report icebergs that could pose a threat to ships.
- Ships travelling the Atlantic now had to take a more southerly route to avoid ice.
20 Fascinating Titanic Facts
- The shipwreck of the Titanic still sits on the sea bed, 3780 metres below the surface of the water.
- It took more than 70 years to find the wreck of the Titanic; the wreckage was finally discovered in 1985.
- It took 3000 workers to build the Titanic. There were 246 injuries during construction and two people lost their lives.
- Only three out of four smoke stacks (chimneys) actually worked. The other was just there to make the ship look more impressive.
- The interior of the ship was inspired by the interior of the Ritz hotel in London.
- 600 tonnes of coal were needed everyday to power the Titanic.
- Almost 100 tonnes of ash were ejected into the sea every 24 hours from all the burning coal.
- More than 100,000 people went to see the launch of the Titanic at Southampton. It was a big event that had been talked about a lot in the media.
- Out of 885 crew members on board the Titanic, only 23 of them were women.
- The musicians who were employed to play music for the first-class passengers had to learn 352 songs off by heart so they didn’t need to have sheet music with them.
- It is believed that 13 couples who were aboard the Titanic were on their honeymoon.
- The last Titanic survivor died in 2009. She was only two months old when the Titanic sank. She died at the age of 97.
- A silent movie about the Titanic was released soon after the disaster. The starring actress, Dorothy Gibson, was a Titanic survivor.
- There have been numerous films and TV shows about the Titanic, including a 1997 film that became the highest-grossing film of all time in 1998.
- There were only 37 seconds between the iceberg being spotted and the collision.
- It only took the Titanic 160 minutes to sink.
- The temperature of the water was -2oC.
- Around 6000 artefacts from the Titanic have been recovered. Many have been sold at auction.
- When the Titanic launched, there were 20,000 bottles of beer on board, 1,500 bottles of wine and 8,000 cigars, all of which were for the use of the first-class passengers.
- There were nine dogs onboard the Titanic. Only two of them survived.
Teachers: If you're looking for more in-depth planning about the Titanic, check out our ready-to-teach Titanic Topic for KS2.