Southampton has long had memorable maritime associations but, in 1912, it became forever linked with one of the most famous ships in history, the ‘unsinkable’ luxury liner, RMS Titanic. Just four days after the 883 feet-long, cruise ship sailed out of Southampton docks, she collided with an iceberg. The ship’s Captain, Edward Smith had boasted that he could not “imagine any condition which would cause the ship to founder”. But less than three hours after the iceberg ripped a gash in her side, the massive boat sank, resulting in 1502 deaths of the 2223 people on board. 549 of those numbered amongst the dead came from Southampton, many of them crew members and their loss hit their families and the city hard. The most devastating maritime tragedy during peacetime has since been immortalised in several films and television programmes but there are traces of Titanic’s history to be found throughout the streets and buildings of Southampton.
Inside the The Grapes Pub, you’ll find a wide range of Titanic memorabilia and pictures on the walls, including a framed blueprint of the ship. Outside, you can still admire the original ornate sign from 1912. As one of the nearest pubs to the docks, The Grapes was a popular haunt amongst dock workers and sailors. Its hospitality was the saving of crew member Alexander Hooper and three brothers, Bertram, Tom and Alfred Slade, who should have set sail with the Titanic on the 10th April. Drinking with friends, they lost track of time and missed her departure, thereby narrowly avoiding the disaster at sea.