Titanic is a name that draws recognition worldwide.

In Southampton we remember the death of some 550 crew who lived in the town, following the ill-fated ship’s maiden voyage from the White Star Dock on April 10, 1912.

In the years following the tragedy, many conspiracy theories have evolved together with ‘what if… ?’ scenarios.

It is also interesting to note a number of Titanic coincidences – some mere quirks of fate, others a little more difficult to explain.

Titanic was registered in Liverpool, home to the White Star Line until 1907, when the company moved its operation to Southampton.

Our first coincidence concerns the running of the Grand National in Liverpool on April 14, 2012 – one hundred years to the day that Titanic hit the iceberg.

The horse that won the Grand National that day by a nose was Neptune Collonges – Neptune’s warning – priced at 33-1.

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For those looking to dig deeper, there are further Neptune – the Roman God of the Sea – coincidences to be found.

Titanic’s maiden voyage took place in the aftermath of a coal strike that had seen around 17,000 seafarers in Southampton unemployed.

A number of ships were laid up in Southampton Docks, awaiting coal supplies, and Titanic was only able to sail by using coal transferred from some of these vessels, including Oceanic and the New York.

New York was scheduled to be Titanic’s final destination. Tethered to Oceanic at Berth 38 on April 10, 1912, the New York infamously snapped her mooring lines when Titanic passed by shortly after 12pm.

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One observer commented that her lines gave way “as a grocer snaps a piece of twine with his fingers”, with her stern swinging out towards Titanic.

Quick thinking by Captain Smith and Captain Gale of the tug Vulcan ensured there was no collision, but there was a delay.

Famous pictures are taken by Father Francis M Browne – who left Titanic in Queenstown – capture what is known as the New York Incident including an image of a tug between Titanic and the New York… the aptly named Neptune.

On the morning of Sunday April 14, a service, presided by the Captain, was conducted onboard Titanic. This service concluded with the hymn O God Our Help In Ages Past – the Southampton ‘town hymn’ written by Isaac Watts.

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Today Watts Park contains a statue of the ‘Father of English Hymn Writing’, just a stone’s throw from the SeaCity Museum and Titanic Gallery, and the Clock Tower where ‘O God Our Help In Ages Past’ plays at 12pm, 4pm and 8pm.

In the shadow of the Clock Tower is a small green space, dedicated to the memory of Millvina Dean, the youngest and last living survivor of Titanic, who passed away on May 31, 2009. This date, coincidentally, is significant in Titanic history, as May 31, 1911 saw the launch of Titanic in Belfast.

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One well-known coincidence is the 1898 novella written by Morgan Robertson, The Wreck of the Titan, which foretells of an incident whereby ‘the largest craft afloat’ hits an iceberg in mid-Atlantic in April with great loss of life.

On board Titanic was the publisher W T Stead, who in The Pall Mall Gazette in 1866 wrote ‘How the Steamer Went Down in mid-Atlantic’, warning of ‘what would happen’ if ships continued to sail with insufficient lifeboats. Stead did not survive the sinking.

There are recordings of some 55 would-be Titanic passengers cancelling their journeys, many through feelings of unease or premonitions.

But back to horse racing. Was it merely a coincidence that the 1913 Derby favourite Craganour – first past the post but subsequently disqualified – was owned by Bower Ismay, brother of White Star Chairman and Titanic survivor Bruce Ismay?

  • Nigel Philpott is a tour guide with SeeSouthampton.co.uk .
  • More on Titanic in tomorrow's newspaper and online at dailyecho.co.uk .