by Terri Bey
I want to start this blog by wishing Sir Paul McCartney a happy 79th birthday. Sir Paul McCartney was born on this day on June 18, 1942. McCartney is famously known as the founder of the band WINGS and another band you might have heard of, The Beatles. Now, what does the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer have to do with the RMS Titanic? How can a famous Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his band have anything in common with the world's most famous ship, since Noah's Ark?
As a youth studying the Titanic disaster, I always looked at photos in the encyclopedias, as that was the only reference books I had at the time, and I noticed something very strange about the ship. As students and historians of the ship know, the RMS Titanic sank "by the head," or bow first, so her stern is rising out of the water. On the back of the stern, I saw her name and I also saw the name of the city of LIVERPOOL. I admit that I was confused for years. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why the RMS Titanic, which was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland and sailed from Southampton, England, would have the name, "LIVERPOOL" on her stern.
I found through research that Liverpool, UK was where the White Star Line's home offices were located. The White Star Line was founded in Liverpool in 1845 and Thomas Ismay acquired the flag and the name of the White Star Line. His son J. Bruce Ismay was born in Liverpool and eventually took over the company. Rival liner Cunard also had offices in Liverpool, thus Cunard Liners had "Liverpool" on the back of their sterns as well. I believe Liverpool was the port of registration for these ships as that is the city where the ship is registered. A couple of other Titanic-related people, RMS Carpathia Captain Arthur Rostron and SS Californian Captain Stanley Lord were both born in nearby Bolton, Lancashire, which is about 36 miles outside of Liverpool.
Besides being a Titanic Enthusiast, I am a huge fan of music. I was an aspiring concert violinist at one point in my life. My favorite genres of music are classical, opera, and classic/hard rock. The first band I liked was The Beatles. I loved them as a kid. Of course, before I started doing all the serious Titanic research, when I saw "Liverpool" on the stern of the sinking liner, I thought of The Beatles. All four members, John Lennon (guitar, lead vocals), Paul McCartney (bass, lead vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals, occasional lead vocal) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals, occasional lead vocal) were from Liverpool, which had changed quite a bit from the days of the RMS Titanic.
It has been said that the sinking of the RMS Titanic was the "end of an era." The sinking ended the era of man's belief that technology could outwit Mother Nature. The era of Man's arrogance was ended. Some 50 years later, one can argue that The Beatles ushered in another era, especially when they came over to America in 1964, some 52 years after the great liner sank. The Beatles brought in an era of jubilance and celebration, qualities that the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic was supposed to exhibit. The Beatles went on to become one of, if not the most famous and influential band of all time. The RMS Titanic also is the most famous ship ever, but not in the way White Star Line had hoped. Titanic's huge influence can be more like how safety at sea has been improved. Again, that is not what the White Star Line had hoped.
Liverpool was the city that housed the home offices for the White Star Line and the port of registration for the RMS Titanic, and for being the literal and figurative birthplace of arguably the greatest band ever, The Beatles. This commonality and connection fascinated me as a music and Titanic enthusiast. I also found it interesting that the captains of the other two ships, the SS Californian and the RMS Carpathia were also born in the Liverpool area as well.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Thank you.