How one young man marked the launch of the Titanic
Hugh Robinson's father was 19 when he set off from the family home in Cullybackey in County Antrim to see the Titanic being launched in Belfast. Travelling by train, he was soon part of the crowd thronging to witness this historic event at 12.15pm on a hot, sunny 31st of May in 1911.
He wrote a postcard for his sister in England and it was franked in a Belfast post office at 1.30pm. It gives us a glimpse of how important the launching of this ship was to the city. The very fact that a postcard was commercially produced shows how many people wanted to buy a memento of the event. But the words that Hugh’s father wrote on the back capture his personal excitement in the moment:
I have just come from seeing the launch of the ‘Titanic.’ It glided beautifully into the water.
Hugh's father had a great interest in engineering at a time when it was making great strides forward not just in shipping but also in new kinds of transport – motor cars, planes. He went to England to study engineering and a few years later at the outbreak of World War One joined the Royal Flying Corps.
The postcard has been a treasured heirloom in the Robinson family for many years and has only recently been made public.