UTV’s Judith Hill looks at the changing faces of Belfast's shipbuilding industry, which has run through the heart of the city's history.
At the start of the 20th century, the idea of the Olympic-class liners was born during an after-dinner chat between Joseph Bruce Ismay and Lord Pirrie to rival Cunard in a battle for the high seas.
The size and luxury of Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were meant to dwarf the Cunard liners, ensuring the transatlantic crossing took less than a week in unrivalled comfort.
At the time, the sinking of the biggest vessel ever built cast a long shadow over Belfast. But during war times the city's shipyard became the hub of the UK's naval military effort.
The Harland and Wolff shipyard produced over 1,700 vessels and employed a workforce of 35,000 at its peak.
The company had to diversify to survive, with the repair of ships and the construction of oil rigs becoming central to business – and now the development of renewable energy.
“When I think of Titanic I think of Belfast and I think of Harland and Wolff and I think of a small part of the planet that built such an amazing series of ships,” says oceanographer Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck in 1985.
“The Titanic never dies; the Titanic is rediscovered by every generation.”