Titanic 100th anniversary

On this day 100 years ago the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage to New York. 1,517 passengers and crew members lost their lives on board as the ship sank to the bottom of the ocean in a tragedy which would be remembered forever.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic a selection of memorial services are taking place, many of them will be aired across BBC channels and on BBC radio today- see full listings here. I will be watching BBC footage live from Titanic memorial voyage which is sat on the exact spot where the Titanic sank 100 years ago.

Today I hope that everyone can spare a second to think about the passengers and crew members who were on board the RMS Titanic on 15th April 1912. Think about the journeys which they were making and the futures which many of them never got to enjoy. Today my thoughts are with them.

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100 years ago today, 10th April 1912, the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton to begin its maiden voyage to New York. Only five days into its journey across the North Atlantic Ocean the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg. The tragedy claimed the lives of 1517 passengers and crew members and became a historical disaster that still remains a strong topic of public interest even today.

This year’s 100th anniversary provides a chance to look back and commemorate all of those who were aboard the ship. Remembering those who sadly lost their lives and reflecting on how the disaster affected those who managed to survive the catastrophe.

The 1997 film ‘Titanic’, based on the ship and its passengers, has been rereleased in 3D to coincide with a century since the disaster and the BBC have created a Titanic themed website which features related articles, archived stories and in-depth facts regarding the ship’s structure and design. In addition the BBC is currently airing ‘Titanic with Len Goodman’ an insightful series which looks into the history, passengers and legacy of the Titanic.

Titanic 1912

In a more literal way to remember the MS Balmoral set sail from Southampton over the weekend carrying 1309 passengers (the exact same number of passengers on board the Titanic) in a voyage which hopes to recreate the Titanic’s journey. Passengers include relatives of those who died in 1912 disaster and Titanic enthusiasts who will all take part in a memorial service of Sunday 15th April- 100 years to the day that the great ship sank to the bottom of the ocean.

For me, however, the most intriguing commemorative treat has to be Ancestary.co.uk’s Titanic collection which includes new records of passengers and crew members. The latest additions includes a full passenger list complete with names, dates of birth, nationalities and occupation enabling all budding researchers to find out if any of their relatives were part of the Titanic tragedy.

titanic-survivors-lifeboat

The Titanic collection is available to access free of charge until the end of May, which is a great excuse to sign up to Ancestary.co.uk and find out more about your heritage. Even if you don’t find anyone who was directly related to you the records are incredibly interesting to read and include historic photographs from the 1912 scene. There are several images of sparsely filled lifeboats which give a feel for just how empty the life rafts were upon departing the ship; a criticism which many blame for the huge loss of life at the Titanic.

I’d love to know if you’ve got any Titanic history in your family. If so please do get in touch, it would be great to hear more about how the Titanic affects people even years after the disaster.

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This weekend thousands of people will be celebrating St Patrick’s Day. The traditional Irish celebration is a much loved occasion across the world. Although celebrations predominately take place in Ireland, parades and festivals are also been held in British and American cities.

St Patrick’s Day celebrations are vibrant and joyous occasions that showcase all things Irish. Parades generally include wonderfully decorated floats, marching bands, live music, Irish dancing and street performers.

If you’re not fortunate enough to catch a St Paddy’s Day parade in Ireland- huge celebrations will be taking place across all Irish cities including Dublin, Belfast, Limerick and Tipperary. I’m sure that a St Patrick’s Day celebration will be taking place in a city near you.

 Birmingham-St-Patricks-Day-parade

Birmingham and Manchester have already hosted their St Patrick’s Day parades but that won’t stop further celebration over the weekend. As all major cities in the UK will be paying tribute to the Irish with dance troupes lining the streets, folk music, and of course lots of Guinness on sale in pubs and bars.

If you’re looking for a family day out and a traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade then head to Trafalgar Square, London, where the Irish will be celebrating in style. Sunday’s event will feature endless floats, music, dancing and all sorts of performers plus stalls upon stalls of delicious food and drink. The celebrations will stretch through the city starting in Green Park before reaching Trafalgar Square in the afternoon where revellers can enjoy the Irish festivities until Sunday evening.

Parade St Patricks Day

Although I won’t be venturing to Dublin or London for St. Patrick’s Day I will be celebrating the great Irish festivity with some of my closest family and friends. I’ll be “Chief Irish Coffee Maker”, fingers crossed someone else will make a Chocolate Guinness Cake- it would be rude not to on St Patrick’s Day after all.

Did you know- Americans love St Patrick’s Day, so much so, that they hold some of the largest celebrations in the world, most notably an enormous parade in New York. And since 1962 the Chicago River has been dyed emerald green on St Patrick’s Day to celebrate the Irish!

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Earlier this year Hollywood siren Elizabeth Taylor passed away aged 79. Since her death it was revealed that a collection of her jewellery would go on sale. Renowned for her exquisite personal collection there was no doubt that the Elizabeth Taylor Jewellery auction would be extraordinary.

Hosted by Christie’s in New York yesterday the auction far outstretched the high expectations which many had envisioned. The 80 item sale was estimated to fetch £20 million but in fact raised an astonishing £74 million becoming a record breaker for a private collection.

elizabeth-taylor-collection-auction

Unsurprisingly some of Elizabeth’s most treasured pieces were stars of the show. A 16th Century pearl, a gift from Richard Burton and previously owned by Mary Tudor and two Spanish Queens, raked in a monumental £7.6 million.

The pearl beautifully named ‘La Peregrina’ was set in a Cartier ruby and diamond necklace, which is absolutely beautifully and defines the famous look of Elizabeth Taylor.

Elizabeth Talor Pearl

Astonishingly the pearl wasn’t the only piece to cause a stir. Another gift from Richard Burton, a 33.919 carat diamond brought in £5.7 million and a tiara from a former husband Mike Todd collected £2.7 million.

The auction which is part of an exhibition to celebrate the life of Elizabeth Taylor also featured items which were given to the actress as gifts. A diamond and sapphire ring from her close friend Michael Jackson sold for £387,000 once again smashing the estimate.

Elizabeth-Taylor-auction

It really is quite bewildering to think that a single collection can raise such a grand amount of money. However, I have to say that I am not surprise to see the popularity of the Elizabeth Taylor collection because her jewellery really was a part of her- glamorous, majestic and expensive.

The actress was an icon and it’s a delight to see that her memory is living on so vibrantly. Even better parts of the proceeds will go to The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation which the actress founded in 1991.

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