Pensioners tell of pride over Titanic display

Andy Stewart, who worked in Harland & Wolff as a riveter, was one of the participants in the National Museums Northern Ireland Live and Learn Project around TITANICa.
Andy Stewart, who worked in Harland & Wolff as a riveter, was one of the participants in the National Museums Northern Ireland Live and Learn Project around TITANICa.

A LARGE outdoor ceramic artwork on the Titanic created by a group of pensioners has gone on display in north Belfast.

The display put together by 15 people was inspired by personal memories and a trip to ‘TITANICa’ at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum’s — an exhibition which opened earlier this year to mark the centenary of the launch of the ship.

As part of the creative process, the pensioners explored the history of Edwardian Belfast, the shipbuilding industry in Belfast and the on-board lifestyle of passengers who travelled on the Titanic.

Ruth Osborne from National Museums Live and Learn Project said the project had been particularly relevant to this group of participants.

“Many of them had direct links to the shipyard, having worked as riveters, fitters, platters at Harland & Wolff or had family members who had worked there during the early to mid-decades of the 20th century,” she said.

“One lady was even able to point out her father in a Harland & Wolff staff photo from 1912.

“For a group of 15 individuals, all aged over 70, working with ceramics for the first time, this project has been a major creative achievement and the first of what we hope will be a series of Titanic-themed Live and Learn community projects to mark the centenary celebrations of the Titanic.”

Joan Turkington from Glencairn Day Centre, where the artwork is on display, described the project as “hugely rewarding” for all involved.

“The finished piece looks superb and for all the participants it was a time for sharing stories, reminiscing about a very different Belfast and discovering skills some didn’t know they had.

“It was great fun and we are very grateful to the museum’s Live and Learn staff for instigating such an inspirational and meaningful project.”

MEP Diane Dodds unveiled the artwork this week at an event attended by participants, their family members and members of the local community.