White Star Line
The White Star
Line was founded in 1845 in Liverpool, England, by John Pilkington and
Henry Threlfall. Their focus was the Australian gold trade.
The first White Star liners were clipper ships. Clipper ships were sailing
ships with composite hulls made of iron and wood. They were commonly used
in the Chinese tea trade and were known for their speed and safety.
By 1865, the
White Star Line was in bad shape. Its most recent ship, Sirius, had
to be sold before it was even put into service. White Star Line needed
to expand its fleet to the North Atlantic shipping trade market. Its owners
began mortgaging assets in an attempt to do so. The mortgages were assumed
by the Royal Bank of Liverpool. In October of 1867, the bank was shut down.
White Star Line owed a debt of £527,000. The White Star Line would
be forced into bankruptcy unless it did something soon. It came up for
sale. In 1868, marine engineer, Sir Edward Harland of Harland &
Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Nothern Ireland, and Thomas Henry Ismay of Ismay
Imrie and Company, bought the White Star Line.
In 1899, Henry
Ismay died and was succeeded by his son, John Bruce Ismay. Bruce
Ismay worked as White Star Lineís managing director and chairman
and ran the company rather smoothly, staying ahead of or at least keeping
up with competitors. Then, in 1912, the Titanic sank. Ismay survived and
was ridiculed for it by the public and the press. Ismay requested that
he keep his position as chairman. His request was denied in June of 1913.
Ismay then retired to his home with his family. He died in 1937 at the
age of 74.
The Titanic disaster
was basically, the beginning of the end of White Star Line. It was
so shocking and devastating. Titanic, the largest moving object ever
built by the hand of man (for its time), struck an iceberg and sank on
its maiden voyage, killing over 1500 people, in what (still) is one of
the worst shipwrecks in the history of mankind. It was just too horrible
to imagine. That is the big story.
There are also
the small stories, the rumors, and things that add up to the sinking. Basically,
everything went wrong. There was no wind, making it hard to see any water
breaking at the surface of an obstacle, or that the binoculars for the
crows nest were lost. There werenít enough lifeboats. Things like
One very strange
thing: There was a book written by Morgan Robertson, in 1898(14 years before
the sinking), called Futility. This book was about a mighty ship called
the Titan. It was the largest passenger liner ever built, with triple screws
and enough room for up to 3000 passengers. Its measurements of length and
width were within 50 or 100 feet of those of the Titanic. The story of
the Titan was in every way, just like that of the Titanic. Robertson
was demonstrating how people were paying less respect to the forces of
nature and were relying too much on technology.
is a major disaster, there are groups of people who think the governments
of the world are out to get them and that the disaster is part of a conspiracy.
Titanic is no exception. The most common conspiracy theory is that it wasnít
really the Titanic that sank, instead it was the Olympic that sank but
it had all of Titanic's nameplates. Supposedly White Star was having insurance
problems. However, we know it was the Titanic because the titanic had a
closed in A deck and the Olympic did not. Another one is that the Titanic
carried the mummy of the ancient Egyptian princess, Amen-Ra. It was said
that this mummy had already sunken about seven other ships. Another one
is that the whole thing was planned. These conspiracy theories are
the almost believable ones, the rest are totally, completely, and in every
the titanic sank doesnít mean it was a bad ship. It was a very fine
liner built by a company called Harland and Wolff. In 1861, Harland &
Wolff shipbuilders was founded by Sir Edward Harland and John Wolff, in
Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1868, Sir Edward Harland, and Thomas Henry
Ismay bought the White Star Line. White Star and Harland & Wolff made
an agreement, Harland and Wolff would never build a ship for a company
that was one of White Starís competitors, and White star would never
have a ship built for it by a competitor of Harland and Wolff. This agreement
worked well and was never broken. In 1895, Sir Edward Harland died and
Lord W. J. Pirrie succeeded him as chairman of Harland and Wolff.
Thomas Andrews, nephew of W. J. Pirrie, was the managing director at Harland
and Wolff until his death on the titanic in 1912, at the age of 39.
Harland and Wolff
is still in business today and after 137 years of business, is still in
Belfast. They now specialize in offshore oil drilling and build tankers
and offshore rigging equipment.
In 1845, the White Star Line was
formed. In 1863 the White Star Line merged with Black Ball and Eagle
Lines, forming the Liverpool, Melbourne and Oriental Steam Navigation company,
Limited. However, this did not work and White Star Line soon broke
away from it.
Around 1939, came the worst stock
market crash in U.S. history. Cunard and White Star were already in bad
shape, now things were even worse, in order to save themselves, Cunard
and White Star merged to form Cunard-White Star Ltd., with Cunard owning
62% of the shares. In 1957 Cunard bought off the remaining shares.
By 1958, the White Star Line ceased to exist.
Cunard Line still
exists today, with a variety of hotels, resorts and, of course, cruises.
The Cunard fleet consists of the Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Viking Sun,
the Vistafjord, the Sea Goddess I and, Cunard's latest addition, the Sea
1998 Laura Hutchinson
| School | Papers