The British Titanic Society was formed in 1987, and membership provides an opportunity for those interested in the history of the Titanic, the White Star Line and other ships of the classic era to further their knowledge and enjoyment of this fascinating subject.
The society is run by volunteers who are keen to encourage research and active participation, we are also completely independent of any commercial interests, and we have attracted substantial membership worldwide.
The British Titanic Society has been contacted by the Titanic International Society proposing an emergency joint venture to protect an iconic part of New York’s Titanic heritage.
On 18 November, it was announced in New York City that the remains of historic Pier 54, where Titanic’s survivors were landed, will be demolished as part of a $170 million project in partnership with the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to extend Hudson River Park along Manhattan’s western side. The foundation will design, build and maintain a new 2.4 acre (.97 hectare) waterfront park and performance venue atop a new, square pier – known as Pier 55 or “P55” – between the wood pilings that once supported the Cunard Line’s Pier 56 and those of Pier 54, which has suffered significant deterioration. The proposal calls for demolishing the pier’s crumbling concrete platform, leaving only its wood pilings, which will serve as a sanctuary for the river’s protected striped bass population.
While the actual pier structure through which Titanic’s rescued disembarked from Carpathia, and through which Lusitania’s final passengers boarded was destroyed in a fire on May 6, 1932, the pier was rebuilt using the original steel framework. Just one piece of that original structure remains: an iconic steel archway at the pier’s entrance, which still bears in faded paint the words “Cunard-White Star.” Not only is this important in the history of both Titanic and Lusitania, but also will hold importance in the family history of millions of Americans. However, in the projects lengthy environmental assessment document, there is no mention of what would become of this arch should this project move forward.
Working together, our organisations intend to contact NY Authorities and publicise this issue, but we also welcome members to independently write to the project officials to urge that the arch is retained and conserved, either in its present location or moved to the new Pier 55, and supplemented with a suitable plaque or tablet commemorating Pier 54’s role in history.