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Titanic, The SeaCity Museum and Southampton

Did you know that Southampton was The Titanic’s home port and many of it’s crew came from the streets that surrounded the port.

In April 1912 The Titanic left Southampton with a great fanfare as it began its fateful maiden voyage to New York so it is not surprising that the events which unfolded had a really big impact on the life of the city.

seacity titanic deaths

Map showing Southampton Docks with the houses of crew members who died marked in red

Papa Joe and I discovered The SeaCity Museum housed in an old Magistrates Court in Southampton. I had to tell Papa Joe to behave himself otherwise I would send him to the cells in the basement.

In fact we both visited the cells as they are now the toilets!

 

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A new extension has been added to the Magistrates Court and it has a fascinating exhibition about life on board The Titanic as well as an exhibition about Southampton’s maritime history.

Suitable for 7+

Where: SeaCity Museum, Havelock Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 7FY
Admission: under 5 free – concessions and family tickets available
Facilities: family trails, cafe
Website: www.seacitymuseum.co.uk

The exhibition also has a very atmospheric section which shows what life was like in Southampton in 1912. As we walked through we followed the stories of six of the 500+ crew members from the town. I followed Mabel Bennett’s story. She was one of the lucky crew members who was rescued in lifeboat 5. She lived for another 62 years after the sinking and died when she was 96.

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You can try out some of the crew’s jobs and take a turn to stoke the ship, send a morse code message or steer the ship.

seacity titanic steering

You may have to wait your turn to steer the ship but fewer people want to stoke the boilers – it really takes a lot of effort!seacity titanic stoker

You can also dress up as a member of the crew or as a passenger.

A large outline of the ship shows the wide range of items the ship carried including 1750 quarts of ice cream, celery glasses, and 2 cases of tennis balls!

Papa and I ended up having a discussion with other visitors as to what a celery glass was used for. We also wondered  why the ship carried a large number of duck feathers and 15 cases rabbit hair.

seacity titanic provisions

There is also a mock up of a second class cabin. I loved the hat but am less sure about the washing facilities.

seacity titanic cabin

The exhibition leads into a small space where you can hear survivors accounts of the night the ship sank.

The next gallery was one of the original magistrates court rooms and has been imaginatively refitted to reconstruct the court of inquiry into the sinking. The inquiry took place in London.

seacity titanic court room

Papa Joe made a good judge!

 

The second half of the museum focuses on Southampton as a gateway to the world. It uses a lot of interactive exhibits to describe the experiences of people in the city from Roman times to the present generation.

The Mayhems had fun trying to decide which 3 things they would take if they had to leave home and come to a new country. What is more important – a favourite book or clothes?

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We had a great visit and enjoyed all the exhibitions, and of course before we went we all had to visit the toilets in the prison cells.

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Getting There SeaCity Museum, Havelock Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 7FY
Google see map or get directions

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