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Harland and Wolff

Makers of the Titanic!

I once had an cousin from Canada staying with me. We showed her all around Northern Ireland, Bangor, Giantís Causeway, carrick a rede, the museums, Belfast city hall. Well on our way to Bangor I showed her Harland and Wolff.

ď Thatís were they built the Titanic!Ē I said.

ď I didnít know thatĒ she replied.

Why should she? I mean if youíre part of the marketing division of Harland and Wolff and youíre trying to carve yourself out a slice of luxury cruiser market, youíre not going to make a big thing out of the fact that youíre the people who built the Titanic, are you? Letís face it, when it comes to memories of idyllic cruising holidays the Titanic is not a ship that jumps immediately to mind. Eighty five years ago at ten minutes to midnight she ploughed into an iceberg while travelling at 38 feet per second. Within three hours she was lying on the sea bed tow and half miles down, and over 1500 of her passengers and crew were drowned.

It was tragic. But itís grossly unfair that any stigma attached to that voyage should be associated with Harland and Wolff.

If you take a superb ship like the Titanic and drive it into an iceberg at 22 knots you can hardly blame the yard for the consequences. She wasnít built for that sort of thing.

Just as we were never intended to live the lives most of us are living.

If we take something which was meant to bring joy and pleasure to God, and drive it recklessly, and as hard as it can go through a hostile environment littered with all sorts of dangers, itís hardly surprising that sooner or later we rip the bottom out of it and create a disaster. A disaster, incidentally, that can affect scores of people besides ourselves.

And just like the Titanic, itís not the fault of the builder, itís the fault of the person in charge.

I suppose thatís the big question in life, ď Whoís in charge?Ē

As you plough your way through the inky blackness of an iceberg littered sea, whoís on the bridge?

Because if you go your own way, at your own speed in your own direction and ignore all the warnings in the handbook, it seems pretty silly to blame the Builder when the inevitable happens.

The Titanic was designed and built to the highest standards.

Used for the purpose for which she was designed, she would have given a lifetimeís service, bringing joy to millions and delight to the builder. Instead she has become synonymous with disaster.

For many people, life has become synonymous with pain and drudgery, pressure and stress, unhappiness and fear.

It was never intended to be like that. It was intended to be something that others would look at in awe and wonder and praise the builder and Designer.

If itís not, maybe we need to slow down, find out where we are and check whoís on the bridge.


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