Scottish Opera Titanic Memorial – Glasgow, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Scottish Opera Titanic Memorial

Memorial to the Titanic engineers that died working to hold back the sea. 

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It seems that we never tire of stories about those on the RMS Titanic. The wealthy passengers above deck who showed bravery and cowardice in measures, the captain who went down with his ship, the lower-class passengers below who had to fight harder for their lives than those above, and even the band, who allegedly continued to play until they could play no more.

Many of the stories told of chivalry and heroism happened on the deck, in the lifeboats, and in the icy waters themselves, but lesser told are the stories of the men who were never seen, working deep in the bowels of the ship from the moment it made contact with the iceberg until the behemoth luxury liner slipped below the surface.

In the Scottish Opera’s grand headquarters there is a ornamental marble plaque that holds the names of 35 of these men. Two angels top the plaque, appearing to be laying a wreath on the sea. There are a few noteworthy names listed; William Kelly and William Mackie, both Glaswegians. Kelly, an assistant electrical engineer, was aboard the Titanic’s maiden voyage only to complete work that had gone unfinished prior to the ship sailing out.

The Opera’s grand headquarters were once the headquarters of the professional engineers of Scotland, and this their way of remembering their own. Each year, overseen by the president of the engineers’ institution, a solemn mass is held, and the Scottish members of the engineering field reflect on the importance and danger of their chosen profession.

The memorial was built by sculptor Kellock Brown and was unveiled in 1914 on the second anniversary of the disaster. It reads: “To keep alive the memory of the engineers of the Titanic who all died at their duty on the Fifteenth day of April 1912, when the ship was lost in mid Atlantic. This tablet was erected by the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.”

Know Before You Go

You will have to be buzzed in to gain access to the building. The lobby is open during normal business hours, and the receptionists are a delightful wealth of information concerning the memorial and the other unique decorations of the building. You can also pick up an free information pamphlet on the building's history and architectural features.