We made our way to Southampton, UK to take our first cruise ever……
Since we had arrived a day early, I had made a list of the things we wanted to see. The SeaCity Museum was our first stop and the threat of rain and the grey skies added to my apprehension about going to this museum at this time. We had made up our minds we would tour the Southampton Titanic Story section of the museum, hoping it wouldn’t put a damper on our feelings about the trip…….. I was so glad we went in the end.
Southampton’s story was focused on the ships’s workers and their families in the aftermath of the tragedy. Their story was so personal and a real eyeopener into the lives of sailors, cooks, boiler men, maids and nursemaids and other general crew on that voyage and the families they left behind. The devastation to the city was immense when the Titanic sunk in the morning of April 15, 1912, four days after leaving Southampton.
We were not allowed to take photos inside the museum and I didn’t want to, it felt like a memorial. As we entered there was an entire long and tall wall of photos with the names of men and women, with their job description, who were working on the Titanic when it sank. Four in five of the crew on board the vessel were Sotonians, (from Southampton) working from the Thornycroft shipbuilding yard, which was a major employer in Southampton from 1904 until 2004. Most of workers resided in Southampton at the time, because people came there for work on the docks or on the ships. There was a little passport book that each worker carried when they signed up, most of them were day-laborers, taken on as the men and women needed work. The workers did not get paid until the voyage was over and only if their work and conduct were satisfactory. They were docked a day’s work if their service was deemed insufficient. Videos of family members, mostly children at the time who had survived, revealed how the sinking of the Titanic and losing their family members affected them forever. Many story-tellers were well into their late years when their stories were documented. Workmen, who lived, because they had manned the lifeboats, had a rough time living with the fact that they had survived when sixteen hundred of the passengers and fellow workmates didn’t. Many stories were told. It was so sad and moving…..
In the next room the real tragedy to the city was revealed. The floor depicted a map of the city of Southampton in 1912 with all the neighborhoods and houses. Each house that had lost a family member was painted a special color on the floor. Oh my gosh, practically the entire city of Southhampton was painted. In many of the working family neighborhoods every house was painted out! This was a time when there was no aid or welfare to help these families, that had just lost their only wage provider!
Another room was set up as a court room and we were seated as jurors. The real-life investigation of the Titanic tragedy was played on a large screen. It was amazing to learn that young men with good eyesight was the only requirement needed to serve as a lookout for icebergs. They were not equipped with binoculars, as it was not deemed necessary. There were many things revealed as unsafe after the fact, but the ship was so new, and so advanced for its time, it was just inconceivable to the owners and investors of the White Star Line, that it could sink.
Another room focused on all the changes in safety at sea, determined after the sinking of the Titanic, and the requirements that have continued to develop with new technology over the years. The SeaCity Museum is a beautiful tribute to the workers of Southampton and a museum well worth seeing. From the museum we walked down Above Bar Street, past the huge West Quay Shopping Center and on into Old Town. There is an official walking tour that is called the Titanic Walk and features memorials dedicated to those who perished that day. These are some of the photos taken along our walk of the city.
You can’t take photos inside the museum, but there is a nice Victorian looking pub, named The Titanic…………..
another pub……..The Juniper Berry……..
Dividing Southampton is a section of the old town wall……and then you are immersed in the newish shops and a big a shopping mall……..We kept walking past all that……..
We were making our way to the Tudor Museum………a rather hodge-podge of buildings surrounded by a various mixture of gardens too. The herb gardens………
and the Tudor knot garden,,,,,,
with an air shaft to the vaults, later explained when we inside the museum….
It was air shaft to bunkers as this one, representing those used during WWII.
and there were kitchens from several eras……I don’t know why, but I’m always drawn to kitchens! This one had a lot of food ……….
and this one revealed a tutor kitchen, but much cleaner I suppose……..no soot on the walls here!
There was also a Victorian kitchen…….
and there were other big empty rooms featuring Tutor Halls………..again quite quirky! So we turned back to make out trek back to the hotel and passed this woman feeding the pigeons…..onward and upwards, I guess!
I hope you have enjoyed our walk in Southampton today! We can tick that off our list of things to do in Southampton!
If you would like to see where other folks are walking today look for Jo’s Monday Walk!