KCLEA Annual Lecture 2017: Titanic, from engineering triumph to human tragedy

This year’s KCLEA lecture was given by alumnus Graham Anthony (Civil Engineering, 1953). After leaving King’s, Graham served with the Royal Engineers in Berlin - where he developed skills as a competitive helmsman sailing on the magnificent Havel lakes - he then travelled the world working for international manufacturing companies. In London, he was a founding director of the Engineering Council and was a member of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee. A qualified Yacht Master, with a lifelong passion for sailing and the sea, Graham has sailed around the British Isles, on the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. He is a regular contributor to maritime journals, and regularly lectures to universities, yacht clubs, and cruise audiences.

Graham’s lecture discussed the Titanic’s status as a triumph of American finance and British engineering. He explained the background to many of the Titanic’s technical issues and showed how the design features of the Titanic and her two sister ships prove what splendid technical achievements they were. He reasoned that the Titanic’s infamous collision with an Iceberg was because of the failings of her Captain and Officers, and that the tragic loss of life was because regulations permitted 16 lifeboats to be taken off the Titanic the day before she left Southampton. These human failings are the reasons why the Titanic has become the world’s most famous maritime tragedy.