Work begins on Chinese Titanic replica

One of six unpublished photographs of the launch of the Titanic which went under the hammer at Henry Aldridge & Son in Wiltshire. Press Association Photo.

One of six unpublished photographs of the launch of the Titanic which went under the hammer at Henry Aldridge & Son in Wiltshire. Press Association Photo.

Work began today on a full-scale replica of the Titanic, with a former Belfast lord mayor sceptical about plans to recreate the ill-fated ship.

The new version, which was originally constructed in Belfast by Harland and Wolff, is expected to become a top attraction at a Chinese theme park.

Visitors will be able to board the ship, which will spend her days in a reservoir in Sichuan province, and take in the remodelled ballroom, theatre, swimming pool and first-class cabins.

Should they wish, they can experience a simulation of the iceberg collision which sank the vessel and killed more than 1,500 people on board.

Alderman Jim Rodgers does not believe the project will be completed.

“A replica had been talked about for Belfast and another group of people visited 12 years ago who were very confident that it would happen, but it came to nothing,” he said.

“Over the last 15 years I have met some of those people who had plans to build the Titanic and none of them have come to fruition.

“I doubt this one will ever happen although it would be fantastic even though it would be in China.”

The current Titanic Belfast visitor attraction is the most popular tourist attraction in Europe. The private initiative cost £80m in total compared with £115m for the proposed China replica.