Thursday 29 September 2016

Daughter of Titanic's Chief Interior Draftsman celebrates 100th birthday

Published 28/04/2016 | 16:04

A woman who travelled on board the Titanic has visited the Belfast exhibition ahead of her 100th birthday celebrations.

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Eleanor Thompson's father was Chief Interior Draftsman Ambrose Willis for RMS Titanic and she was on board as part of the Guarantee Group from Belfast to Southampton.

Ambrose Willis, the man behind Titanic’s beautiful carved wooden fireplaces and paneling, features in one of the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience’s artefacts.

The artefact with her father’s signature will take pride of place at Eleanor’s birthday party, which will see visitors - including her eldest son Peter - travel from as far as Australia to take part in the milestone celebration. 

“There is no doubt that my father loved his job and was very proud of the work he did. All the furniture for RMS Titanic was built in what we called ‘The Yard’ here in Belfast and that’s what my father oversaw!," said Eleanor.

"When I watch James Cameron’s TITANIC or visit Titanic Belfast – I look out for the woodwork, including the famous staircase, fireplaces and panelling as I know that’s what my father worked on! He used to come home smelling of varnish and paint.

"He even travelled on board Titanic to South Hampton but had to return to Belfast as Olympic, her sister ship was on the stocks. He was fortunate he had to return – or otherwise I may not have been born in 1916 and wouldn’t be celebrating my 100th birthday at Titanic Belfast this weekend!” 

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