What We Do
Titanic Belfast was the first phase of the Maritime Belfast Trust’s ambition to develop Belfast’s waterfront as a vibrant, accessible heritage destination
Maritime Belfast is responsible for managing the operator contract for the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction. We ensure that the operator of the visitor attraction, Titanic Belfast Limited, maintain the iconic status of the building and provide an innovative world class visitor experience to local, national, and international visitors. Titanic Belfast has met all its objectives to date, and since opening has welcomed over 6 million visitors from 145 countries, generating more than £319million in additional tourism spend of the Northern Ireland economy.
The success of Titanic Belfast has allowed Maritime Belfast to work on numerous other projects including the restoration of the former Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices – now Titanic Hotel Belfast, the acquisition of SS Nomadic, and the restoration and installation of the Great Light, as well as expand and develop our destination work.
- The Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices: In 2012, we acquired a development lease for the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices and Headquarter Building, making it a priority to restore and transform the building into Titanic Hotel Belfast, which opened to the public on September 10th 2017. The project has seen the heritage of the building preserved, with the most historically important rooms such as the Drawing Offices and Board Room, developed as spaces for public use and telling the story of Belfast’s industrial heritage.
- The SS Nomadic: In April 2015 Maritime Belfast acquired the SS Nomadic from the Nomadic Charitable Trust as part of our remit to protect and promote the maritime and industrial heritage of Belfast. The Nomadic was incorporated into the Titanic Belfast experience, and has welcomed over a million visitors since restoration work was completed in 2013.
- The Great Light: In 2017 we began working with the Commissioners of Irish Lights to find a home for the historic Optic from Mew Island Lighthouse. One of the largest optics ever constructed, its new home is a specialist glass interpretative structure located along the new Titanic Walkway. Now known as the Great Light, the enclosure resembles a lighthouse lantern room and adds a remarkable element to the Titanic Quarter public realm. With free public access it tells the story of lighthouses, their technological development, their light keepers, and their role in the proud maritime & industrial heritage of Belfast and Ulster.
- The Steam Cranes: One of our next projects will be the Harland & Wolff Steam Cranes that we acquired along with the Drawing Offices in 2012. We are currently exploring a number of options for their future use.
- Maritime Belfast Collection: Alongside some of our larger artefacts listed above, we have built up a unique collection of artefacts donated from local people. This includes everything from an industrial sized sewing machine, to toolboxes from joiners, shipwrights and draughtsmen, to linen donated by a tracer, to furniture made by a craftsman who worked on RMS Titanic. Many of these items we put on display in a free exhibition called Out of Stores. The exhibition also includes original SS Nomadic panelling and keelblocks, family letters from the 1850s talking about Edward Harland, and tools that were said to have been used in the construction of RMS Titanic.
- The Maritime Mile: Alongside our heritage work, we are committed to developing the heritage waterfront as a place for everyone to enjoy. When we developed a Destination Plan for Titanic Quarter, one of the key themes to emerge was that the waterfront was disconnected, and needed an initiative to connect the key attractions and experiences. The Maritime Mile is a linear waterfront experience covering one navigational mile of water and including over 10km of accessible land-based waterfront that is being regenerated through a series of masterplans and strategies.
- We also play a significant role in co-ordinating stakeholders, pulling organisations and product together to create a destination which is enjoyed by the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland through our Destination Forum.
- Local Engagement: Maritime Belfast and its Board are committed to stakeholder and local engagement, which was fundamental to the successful delivery of Titanic Belfast. Many of the facts and details about the Drawing Offices are gathered from its former employees. Events such as the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival and European Heritage Open Days allows us to engage with the community, and undertaking work to the Drawing Offices allowed them to be reopened to the public for guided tours and events. Through our destination work, we’ve engaged with over 470,000 people from 364 community groups and schools and supported and worked with 132 partner organisations and businesses.