I may be a few days late but have been so struck by all the Titanic memories that have been in the newspapers and on television recently. This is the front page of the Southampton Echo on Saturday and as I have looked at the photo I am so aware of the contrast between the magnificent and the everyday. The normal everyday dock yard life continuing against the backdrop of this magnificent ship: The old man sitting on the wall, the group of men in the background presumably working on the dock, another captain walking past importantly while the women of the time are not captured in this image. I have been thinking of those women; wives, mothers and daughters of the seamen, stewards and ship workers and wondering what they felt as their loved ones set sail that day. Probably they were grateful for work and a wage coming in to the family.
I watched this clip and found it incredibly moving, the actor who played the captain in the 1997 film 'Titanic' walks down a Southampton street and names the men who lived there and died in the disaster. In total 538 crewmen who were registered with a Southampton address lost their lives in the tragedy, so many families left without a husband, father or son. No other city felt the impact as strongly.
Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be waiting for news of your loved ones?
In a time before welfare benefits the inevitable poverty the family would have fallen into without a breadwinner, must have been a huge worry for the women.
To mark this centenary the BBC visited the Southampton school where my husband teaches history, the whole school took part in a special day dressing up to represent different sections of society on the ship. They filmed some of the pupils sharing their family memories and passing on stories of relatives who perished. Everyday families who eventually survived the aftermath of the disaster
It must have been very moving when the same number of pupils as people who were lost were grouped together; a visual reminder to the whole school assembled on the field of the impact the disaster had on the city.
It is good and right to remember the Titanic, and all who were lost, but we must also remember and celebrate the survival of all the grieving families left behind.
Their survival story was just beginning.