Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire film marks anniversary of Titanic launch

RMS Titanic
Image caption The Titanic was launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast on 31 May 1911

A Staffordshire film-maker has made a documentary to mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's launch.

Ray Johnson's film, Prepare To Launch, covers the liner's construction and its county connections.

It tells the story of Captain Edward Smith, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent, and the making of the ship's anchor in the county.

Mr Johnson said he wanted to convey the sense of "hope for the future" that existed during the ship's construction.

The film contains archive footage of Capt Smith on the bridge of its sister ship, the Olympic, which he captained on its maiden voyage, in 1911, while the Titanic was being fitted out to carry passengers.

Sixteen-tonne anchor

Footage also shows Capt Smith and his passengers on the Olympic's promenades.

A sequence of the ship's anchor being dragged through the streets of Netherton also features. The Black Country town, which 100 years ago was part of south Staffordshire, forged the 16 tonne anchor and its 200 tonnes of chains.

The scene, which featured a procession of 20 shire horses, was recreated last year.

Staffordshire's Titanic Brewery commissioned the documentary which is Mr Johnson's seventh film about the Titanic.

He is planning to make another one next year to commemorate the maiden voyage that tragically resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 passengers.

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