The most famous ship in the world was conceived in Liverpool for a Liverpool company – and had Liverpool written on her stern.
But the closest RMS Titanic, the ill-fated White Star liner, ever got to the Mersey was when she docked at Queenstown (now Cobh) in southern Ireland before setting sail on her maiden transatlantic voyage.
The rest, as they say, is history. Titanic struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives – many of them Liverpool crew members.
But now there is a Titanic - Titanic the Musical sailing in to the city and berthing at the Liverpool Empire for a week from July 30.
Maury Yeston and Peter Stone's musical is based on real people who were on board the liner and focuses on their hopes and aspirations. Unaware of the fate that awaits them, the Third Class immigrants dream of a better life in America, the newly-enfranchised Second Class dream of achieving the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the millionaire barons of First Class dream of their mastery lasting forever.
My great-grandfather Thomas Boden at work at Harland and Wolff in Belfast c.1910
The musical premiered on Broadway in 1997 – the same year James Cameron’s film Titanic was released – and won five prestigious Tony Awards including best musical and best original score.
Maury Yeston says: “The idea that a troupe of actors will tour this show in the UK, birthplace of the ship, where the workers of Belfast, the cabin boys and maids and stewards from Liverpool, the officers and crew, the stokers and stevedores from the Midlands all created a miraculous floating city, means more to me than I can say.
“I'm touched that, musically, Titanic will finally be coming home, sung by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of its builders – touched, and forever grateful.”
Although this is the first professional production of the musical in Liverpool, it was previously staged by students at LIPA in 2011, when the cast included Michael Fletcher, currently appearing down the road at the Royal Court.
And I must admit a personal interest - several generations of my family worked in the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, and my great-grandfather Thomas was one of those who helped build the liner.
Titanic the Musical is at the Liverpool Empire from July 30 to August 4. Tickets from the website HERE