MILFORD, PA — The Pike County Historical Society will host an evening in honor of the Titanic on Sunday, April 27. The Hotel Fauchere will host a dinner in the Delmonico Room. In addition to being the largest liner ever built, when the Titanic set sail it also hosted the most advanced culinary facilities of any ship of its time. The chefs for this Titanic-inspired dinner will recreate dishes enjoyed by the passengers in the first-, second- and third-class dining saloons of the big ship. Each course will be introduced with a discussion of the culinary history of the Titanic.
The speaker, Ken Rossignol, will present his program at 5:30 at The Emerson House, located next door to the hotel. Writing true crime, maritime history and cruise thrillers occupies most of Rossignol’s time. As a maritime history speaker, Rossignol enjoys meeting audiences around the world and discussing the original news stories of the sinking of the Titanic and other maritime history topics.
Luxury liner attire ca. 1912 is encouraged. The cost is $75 per person and tax and gratuity are included; beverages at additional charge. Ten dollars of each fee will be donated back to the Pike County Historical Society. Call for reservations, space is limited, 570/409-1212, ext. 150 or, email email@example.com.
By Ken Rossignol
Titanic Speakers Bureau
Being at sea with a series of talks about the history, the people, the heroes of the Titanic was not only an exceptional honor and challenge but a thrill to be asked to bring the story alive in a way consistent with history and at the same time, to be meaningful to a modern audience. The huge Independence of The Seas is in many ways, a modern Titanic, with the chief difference being that this ship made it past its maiden voyage, without being on fire or sinking.
The similarities for the passengers is truly in the imagination. Imagining the grand staircase down which Mrs. J.J. Brown, the newly minted millionaire, flowed with her Missourian dignity intact, brings to mind the equally grand appointments of the Independence of the Seas. The three-story dining room with a grand piano to entertain during the evening meal harkens back to the plush dining room that seated hundreds on the Titanic.
The Independence of the Seas voyage had a majority of Brits traveling on their Easter season trip to warmth and sunshine in Spain and the Canaries. The voyage of the Titanic to New York two hundred years earlier certainly lacked any warm weather but it held the promise of reaching a land of opportunity and hope for so many who had sold their last belongings to get a fresh start in America and Canada.
As we traveled to ports in Portugal, Spain and the Canaries as well as Madeira, our sea days were the times in which my enrichment sessions on the Titanic were held. It is quite a challenge to go up against bingo and belly flop contests, which are often the chief entertainment on other ships, but this British crowd were a bit more intense as was the weather. Thus with as many as three hundred and fifty earnest listeners in attendance, I did the best I could to explain how the Titanic had been on fire from the time the ship left Southampton.
There had been a coal strike during the winter of 1911 and 1912 and coal was hoarded for this important maiden voyage. The final preparations of the ship had been delayed in order to provide repairs to the Olympic which had been damaged in a collision with the British cruiser Hawk. Therefore, an important protocol had not been followed, that of keeping the stored coal dampened. When the ship left port, deep down in the bowels of coal bunker number six, the coal self-ignited, as coal can do. Those who have BBQ grill charcoal at home should be cautious to keep their charcoal in a metal can with a lid on it or the same could happen to you. Many a shed fire has likely been blamed on electrical wiring when the truth might be that of spontaneous combustion of a bag of charcoal.
In any event, we know this startling information due to the testimony of the surviving crewmen of the Titanic who told the American and British hearings about what caused the ship had to sink about the fire.
Mr. J. Dilley of the Titanic said at the United States Senate Commerce Committee hearing in New York City, as was reported in the New York World the following day, that a crew of 12 had fought the fire in four hour shifts, around the clock. “We had made no headway,” he said. “We thought when we arrived in New York and got the passengers off, that we would have to bring a fireboat alongside to get the fire out.”
What is the significance of the fire? The fire burned the coal bunker six sidewalls in the same exact place where the ship came into collision with the iceberg and we had a vivid lesson in what heat does to metal when the hijacked airliners flew into the World Trade Center in 2001. More of the fire is covered in Bruce Caplan’s book, The Sinking of the Titanic and in my book, Titanic 1912.
By Wade Sisson
I’ve spoken about the Titanic at a lot of schools since my book, Racing Through the Night, was published in 2011, and I soon learned that kids always ask the best – and most humorous – questions.
For that reason, it’s been my visits to schools that I’ve enjoyed the most. There’s something about the Titanic story that captures the imaginations of young people. You can see it in their eyes as you start talking about it. When you ask them if they know anything about the Titanic, they all raise their hands.
The questions are usually evenly split between Titanic, the ship and Titanic, the James Cameron movie. Were Jack and Rose real? Why didn’t the ship see the iceberg in time to miss it?
They’re always disappointed to learn that Jack and Rose were fictional characters – but they’re fascinated to learn about the real people who are part of the Titanic story. They always seem especially touched by the story of Millvina Dean, the last of the survivors, who died in 2009.
Most of the schools do an amazing job of preparing the kids in advance. By the time I arrive, they’ve already studied the ship, the passengers and have even dipped their hands in 28-degree water.
That doesn’t mean I don’t the occasional oddball question. Like the time one little fourth-grader asked me, “Did you bring up any gold?” I told him I’d actually never been to the wreck site – and I didn’t have any gold. He didn’t believe me and asked me again several times during the discussion. Then as I was leaving the classroom he stopped me. “Dude, seriously, where’s the gold?”
The children also try to tie the Titanic story in with other lessons they’ve had. During one school visit our discussion got hijacked by a few well-meaning third-graders. It started with one question: “Did the Titanic sink in the Bermuda Triangle?” I assured the class that the Titanic was nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle, but once the thing had been mentioned, it took on a life of its own. Another student said “Maybe the Titanic hit the iceberg because they couldn’t see inside the Bermuda Triangle.” I had to confess I was not a Bermuda Triangle expert and that seemed to satisfy them enough to stop their line of questioning.
There’s always at least one child who reminds me of myself at that age – completely drawn into the Titanic story and eager to learn as much as possible. But it’s all of the children – and their genuine interest in the history – that makes these school visits worthwhile.
The Titanic was the second in the Olympic Class for White Star Line and left port from Southampton on Wednesday, April 10th, 1912 for New York, stopping at Cherborg, France and Queenstown, Ireland.
The technology on the ship was state of the art and designed to move large numbers of people comfortably across the North Atlantic in a year when over 200,000 passengers were carried back and forth in ships.
Welcome to the Titanic Speakers Bureau; the home of some of the foremost authorities, historians and authors of the RMS Titanic alive today. From Daniel Allen Butler, Bruce M. Caplan, Wade Sisson, Ken Rossignol, to Capt. E. J. Smith actor Lowell Lytle and the great-grand-daughter of the Unsinkable Molly Brown – Helen Benziger.
The Titanic Speakers Bureau will enable you to learn more about our wonderful speakers, read of their travels, books, and views on one of the most enduring stories of all times and of perhaps the greatest sea disaster known to modern history – the voyage of the White Star Liner RMS Titanic.
Various speakers such as Tammy Knox and Robert W. Walker, are also fantasy and fiction writers with the ability to use their creative genius to bring the story of the Titanic alive using genres of horror and mysteries to enhance and develop the actual history of the ship.
Contact Ken Rossignol at 301 535 8624, firstname.lastname@example.org for rates for speakers. Typically, speakers charge between $800 and $2,000 depending on the arrangements. Airfare from speaker’s nearest airport to the event, transportation to the hotel and to the event as well as hotel rates apply. Helen Benziger travels with a service dog, who is quiet and enjoys attending formal dinners.