To see the Convention 2012 photographs Click Here
The following were details of our 2012 convention.
Our 2012 convention promises to be one of the best the British Titanic Society has ever held. Not only will we commemorate the centenary of Titanic’s loss in April 2012, but we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the formation of the British Titanic Society. Convention 2012 is themed as “A Time To Remember,” which was a phrase coined by BTS member Bob Angel, and this convention will be one to be talked about for many years to come. To see our convention poster click here
Preparations are coming along extremely well and a full program will be announced in the March 2012 issue of the Atlantic Daily Bulletin. However, these are the highlights of the weekend so far:
Thursday April 12th, 2012
On Thursday morning the officers will lay wreaths at the Engineers’ Memorial in East Park, the Musicians’ Memorial, Holyrood Church and finally the memorial just inside the entrance to Dock Gate 4. We are inviting delegates and BTS members to accompany us as we do this and a detailed schedule will appear in the March 2012 issue of the Bulletin.
In the afternoon, we will meet at St. Joseph’s Church in Bugle Street, a short walk from the hotel, to view the memorial plaque to the staff of Titanic’s à la carte restaurant. A BTS member will offer a short talk about the restaurant staff commemorated by the memorial.
Thursday evening, we will be treated to a wide-screen showing of the 1958 classic A Night To Remember, which we have arranged in partnership with Southampton City Council and the Harbour Lights cinema at Ocean Village. We have obtained a discount of £2.00 off the normal ticket price and vouchers for the discount will be posted to convention delegates prior to the convention. They must be handed in at the cinema when purchasing your tickets.
In addition to the aforementioned wreaths, in the week prior to the convention we are proposing to place wreaths at other Titanic-related memorials and graves around the country. Our options will depend on available funding but we are considering placing wreaths on the graves of Third Officer Herbert Pitman at Pitcombe; Fifth Officer Harold Lowe at Llandrillo Yn Rhos, North Wales; Bruce Ismay in Putney Vale Cemetery, London; Lookout Fred Fleet in Hollybrook Cemetery; Bandmaster Wallace Hartley at Colne Cemetery; and Captain Smith’s statue in Beacon Park, Lichfield. We may well expand this list if finances permit. In past years, members have been kind enough to send in donations towards the wreaths’ costs, so if you wish to contribute something this time, please feel free to do so. Unless contributors wish to remain anonymous, we plan to list donors’ names in a future issue of the Atlantic Daily Bulletin.
Friday April 13th, 2012
On Friday morning we will depart by coach from the De Vere Grand Harbour hotel for our tour of Hollybrook Cemetery and the Old Cemetery. Officials of Southampton City Council have very kindly arranged for tour guides from the Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery (FoSOC) to show us around the cemeteries and we are very grateful for this generous gesture. Our visits will last approximately two hours and on the journey back to the hotel the coach will pass the new SeaCity maritime museum and the bottom of Oxford Street (outside the Grand Café). These two locations will allow delegates to alight and either visit the museum or take lunch in Oxford Street.
On Friday afternoon, back at the hotel, we will hold a Bring and Buy sale. This has been a very popular event in previous years and so this year we decided to hold another. It is something we encourage all delegates and members to participate in, because this is your chance to grab a bargain! After dinner on Friday evening we will be entertained by a performance of the play The Man Who Left the Titanic, which will be followed by a short discussion on the subject matter and issues it raises. We will then retire to the elegant lounge of the hotel to celebrate our 25th anniversary, which will include the cutting of a specially commissioned birthday cake.
Saturday April 14th, 2012
On Saturday April 14th, which of course is one of the most important dates we will ever have, we will hold our Exhibition and Sales Fair in the hotel’s magnificent Mayflower Suite. As in previous years, the entire room will be at our disposal and we are hoping to utilise the space to its full potential, with a bigger exhibition than ever before. The planning of the lecture program is also at a very advanced stage. While some details remain to be sorted out, at the time of writing we hope to welcome the following lecturers:
Dr. Simon Boxall from the University of Southampton’s National Oceanography Centre will present a lecture titled “Icebergs and Shipping – was the Titanic the Start of a Trend?”
Gary Cooper, well-known author, will present his lecture “From the Potteries to the Titanic: The Early Life and Career of Captain Smith.”
Sally Nilsson, a well know author, will present her lecture, “Robert Hichens – Titanic’s Helmsma”n.
The Exhibition and Sales Fair will close at 4 p.m. We will next meet at 7 p.m. in the Atrium of the hotel for a Buck Fizz reception prior to the Gala Dinner, which this year will be black tie and Edwardian/Titanic-themed, with special table decorations that reflect the occasion.
If you have any seating preferences for the Gala Dinner, or any specific dietary requirements, please make these known to Tim Silcocks as soon as possible, and certainly before the start of the convention weekend. Tim regrets that he will be unable to respond to seating requests or dietary requirements “on the night”.
After the speeches, which will include one from our special guest, the Mayor of Southampton, we will hold a Grand Raffle. Already we have made a start collecting some fabulous prizes! The Gala Dinner will conclude at about 11.15 p.m., and we will then gather for a short memorial service, which will start promptly at 11.40 p.m. We know the timings will not be lost on anyone, and we sincerely hope this will be a very poignant and special moment, as we have our service and finish with the hymn Nearer My God, To Thee.
Sunday April 15th, 2012
On Sunday morning coaches will take us on the short journey to Ocean Village, where we have chartered for our exclusive use the magnificent Blue Funnel catamaran MV Ocean Scene. During our 90-minute cruise, we plan to replicate the start of Titanic’s one and only voyage, shipping movements permitting. We intend to visit Ocean Dock to drop a wreath on the water and afterwards will sail past berth 38/39 where the near-collision with the New York occurred. From there we visit berths 106/108, Southampton’s maritime “Death Row,” where both Olympic and Mauretania were laid-up prior to their demise in 1935, and will then spend some time cruising down the River Itchen.
In addition to dropping the society wreath for this centennial year, we thought it would be rather lovely if each delegate had his or her own individual symbol of remembrance to scatter on the water. Each person taking part in the river cruise will receive a simple red or white carnation, for casting over the ship’s side. We do hope delegates approve of this extra little personal touch. There will then be a playing of Erin’s Lament on the Uilleann pipes by Steve Turner, an Uilleann piper and reed-maker based in Portsmouth. Steve was guest tutor at the Na Piobairi Uilleann (Irish Pipers’ Society) gathering in 2011.
The river cruise over, we will return to the hotel for Sunday lunch. Although not a part of the convention this year, after lunch your officers and no doubt many members, too, will attend the Southampton City Council civic memorial service at St. Mary’s Church in the city centre, where we will lay a wreath on behalf of the society.
The hotel informs us that booking so far has been very brisk and places are filling up quickly. So, if you have not already reserved your place(s) and are intending on coming along, make sure you book early and are not disappointed!
Note – there are limited number of additional places available for the river cruise Click Here to see how to book.
Karen, Nigel and Tim look forward to seeing you in April – It is going to be another fabulous convention.
A booking form has been included in the September 2011 Atlantic Daily Bulletin.