Tuesday marked 100 years since the launch of the Titanic in Belfast and, I expect, the start of a year's build up to celebrating (commemorating?) 100 years since the tragedy. My children know the name but not the details so our feel-good movie on Tuesday had to be Titanic.
It's been years since I watched it and I had forgotten quite how good it was. The shipwreck is covered in detail and the information the movie gets across about what precisely went wrong without it being a lesson is amazing.
My children came away knowing that the ship was surrounded by a sense of hubris about its unsinkability, that there weren't enough lifeboats for everybody, that most 3rd class people died and that afterwards, only 7 survivors were picked up out of the water alive. And I had a quiet weep about the love story.
Anyway, yesterday we wanted a day out and decided to go to the Merseyside Maritime Museum to see their Titanic exhibition. It's only a part of a floor, but it highlights the events and the links between the city and the ship very well. They had a children's quiz which is always good to keep 9 year olds interested and the boys spent their time well occupied looking for places where more lifeboats could have been stored.
They decided in the end that stacking the boats like plates would have been a better idea, and that they could have fitted on an extra 44 lifeboats, with a people saving capacity of about 3000 people. I loved that this was their main focus; that they recognised the biggest problem and sought to solve it. In so many ways this is what education is about and I so want schools to be able to teach and learn in this way, but class sizes and budgetary constraints make it impossible. We came away with renewed respect for the people who did brave things on the ship; the captain going down with it, the band playing on until the end, the men who followed the Birkenhead drill of "Women and children first"
And our reward was a very reasonable £7.50 Afternoon Tea imbibed in the Maritime Dining Rooms on the 4th floor of the warehouse.... lovely finger sandwiches, a clotted cream scone, delicate cakes and a pot of Earl Grey for one all partaken with a view like this;
Liverpool still looks good after all these years.